Winner winner, chicken dinner!

24 10 2010

Yes, I used a Guy Fieri quote for a subject!  I honestly like the guy (*snicker*); I like his cooking show, but Diners, Drive-ins & Dives is my absolute favorite.  I’ve found some holes in the wall around SF thanks to his show…

I’ve only cooked dinner once this week (unless you count last night’s heated up tomato soup as “cooking”), but it turned out super tasty. I had an unfortunate accident Monday morning in the local Starbucks.  I dropped a receipt so I bent over to pick it up, right next to the drink and pastry cabinet…on my way back up I smacked the top of my head into the pastry cabinet super hard.  I really wanted to scream out, but I held it in and just let my eyes water while the barista asked me what I wanted.  “Venti Pike’s please…” as a tear streams down my face.  She looked a little concerned, but I played it off and rubbed my head and walked off to get my milk.  I’m completely okay, I’ve had more than my fair share of head traumas in my life time (I’m not so sure if that’s a good thing, ha!).  As I was putting milk in my coffee, my head kept hurting and I thought it’d be best if I went home because I knew my head was going to hurt all day, no sense in sitting at my desk.  I can do emails from home, so it’s not too big of a deal.  I called my boss, left a message and emailed him from my Blackberry.  He’s quite aware of my clumsiness, as I’ve flown out of his office during the first few months we worked together.  He’s heard my stories of fainting and landing on my face, falling up the stairs at work with a tray full of cookies for a meeting, slipped down my garage stairs and landed on my lower back…oh I can go on and on.  I’m graceful like that!

I stopped at Mollie Stone’s on my way home to pick up some food for the house, including dinner.  I worked on emails and watched 80’s movies most of the day.  It’s not a good idea to take a nap after hitting your head, so I needed to stay awake.  Around 4:30pm I started dinner so it was ready when Gus got home.

I picked up a pre-marinated chicken from the store.  Mollie Stone’s has a variety of marinades, I thought lemon pepper chicken would go best with the side I picked out.

Half chickens are perfect for 2 people, and it’s super affordable (less than $4).  I preheated the oven to 400F and prepped the baking dish with foil and added the chicken.

Before...

That’s not good enough though!  That chicken needs more flavor.  Meet the trio of awesomeness:

Black pepper, garlic powder and lemon pepper salt.

I do enjoy crispy skin on chicken, I know not all people do, but I really love it!  That’s where these 3 come in.  I start with the garlic powder, lemon pepper salt then black pepper, using very generously.

After!

The oven has preheated long enough, so pop that sucker into the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.  The chicken is going to need around 45 to 55 minutes in the oven total, but there’s another dish going into the oven after that 20 minutes is up.

I picked out cauliflower while at the grocery store, it was on sale and I love cauliflower.  I didn’t know what I was going to do at the time, but when I got home I noticed we have a Costco-sized bag of crumbled blue cheese, so I hopped online and looked for a roasted cauliflower and blue cheese recipe.  Low and behold, I found this amazing recipe!  Super easy and I had all the ingredients, perfecto!  Say hello to Mr. Cauliflower:

Mr. Cauliflower

I find it easier to wash after I’ve cut it up since you can’t really count on the water getting underneath all those dense florets.  Start cutting up semi-large chunks, try to keep everything similarly sized so it all roasts up evenly.

After it’s all cut up and in a large colander, give it a good rinse with water.

After it’s been drained and dried, spread it out on a sheet pan in an even layer and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Side note: I love that little oil can in the photo.  I picked it up at an Asian supermarket in SF.  After you’ve drizzled the olive oil on the cauliflower, it’s time to add some flavor!  Garlic powder, salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Then toss it all together to evenly coat the cauliflower.  After the timer goes off, time to pop the cauliflower into the oven.  Add another 18 minutes onto the timer, then it’s time to add a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and sprinkle on the blue cheese.  Bake for another 10 minutes to melt the cheese.  Take it all out of the oven and admire your hard work!

yum!

I let the chicken cool for at least 10 minutes so the juices have a chance to redistribute in the meat and makes for easier carving.  Plate it all up and sprinkle some more blue cheese on top of the cauliflower.

Winner winner!

Then enjoy!!!

This is a super easy dinner to throw together and it’s ready within 90 minutes of starting.  The cauliflower is a little fancier than I’d do on a normal evening.  Generally I pick up something that is quick, like mashed sweet potatoes, fresh corn (when it’s in season), or I’ll toss red potatoes and garlic in with the chicken and roast them all together.

This meal cost about $6 total, which isn’t bad for two people.  I say it’s downright awesome!  It’s really not hard to have an affordable homemade meal every night.

 

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My love of cooking and food; A History

19 10 2010

I can’t fight it, I love food!  I am by no means a glutton, but I do enjoy good food, especially when I get to make it.

I wanted to start fresh with a food blog since I do love cooking, and I think this will force me to start cooking from scratch more.  I’m no professional by any means, just a good everyday meal maker!  I grew up helping my grandma and mom (even my dad!) in the kitchen, and had already baked my first batch of cookies by age 7 (ginger snaps, yum!).  The women in my life taught me the joys of making everyday meals, and large feasts (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter…).

My dad introduced me to different varieties of foods at an early age.  He loved Japanese food, so naturally we went at least once a week (my dad being a perpetual bachelor only cooked a few times a week).  I loved going out to eat with my dad, he’d let me order whatever I wanted, and he HATED fast food.  When I was older and able to cook for myself, he’d let me cook dinner for the two of us.  This generally consisted of a grilled meat (chicken breast, ham steak or pork chops) and either broccoli (my dad hated ALL other veggies…growing up in the midwest eating crap ass frozen veggies will do that to you!) or a rice-a-roni or a box of stuffing (always my favorite!).

My senior year in high school, I lived with my grandma and niece to help out with the house, which included cooking dinner.  I started to branch out more, but when I went away to college, I didn’t need to cook as much.  I’d come home for the holidays and help cook the huge dinners.  Grandma put me in charge of fruit salad every year through high school.  One year I got to help make more than half of the meal, it was a lot of work, but I had so much fun.

After graduating and moving out in 2001, I discovered Food Network, and I was hooked!  I was truly inspired by the shows and started cooking more and more.  I’d be more adventurous and was often successful.  Living on a budget forced me to  be really creative and conscious.  When I started dating my husband, I’d trek over to Santa Cruz every night after work and make him a nice homemade dinner.  It was a nice change of pace from his typical dinner of Kraft Mac n’ Cheese!  Throughout our relationship, my cooking skills have been honed, and he’s not so bad himself!  I like to think I had a hand in his new found love of baking.

Now that I’m married and have a newly stocked kitchen of cooking and baking goodness, I really love cooking even more!  It’s amazing how different a kick ass bamboo cutting board makes chopping up veggies compared to the old plastic Ikea cutting board I used to use (thanks Heather!).  We still need to get a set of cookware and a set of knives, but we have the basics.  I can’t wait to finish up the kitchen, but I still love it as is for now 🙂

My husband and I at Tutti Melon in West Portal, SF.