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Q & A WITH Does Mommy Love It

The popular blog,  “Does Mommy Love It?” reviews stylish and healthy toys, books, clothes and much more for cool kids of all ages and moms. Here’s an excerpt from a fun interview I recently did with them:

DMLI: Does roast chicken work well as a dish for busy people and parents?

MF: Absolutely. Roast chicken is a fantastically delicious and also very basic dish. It requires just a few minutes of prep then goes right into the oven; there’s very little you need to do. I often knock out a few loads of laundry and catch up on a couple of phone calls while the bird cooks. Or, you can tidy up the kitchen and set the table. You’re not stirring, chopping, adding, etc., as the dish cooks, like you do with most other recipes.
Roast chicken is also great for busy people and parents because most kids love it. You can roast 2 birds at once and use leftovers to add healthy protein to simple sandwiches and pastas, soups, stews, chilies and more. Roast chicken freezes beautifully, so you can roast two bird and shred and freeze one of them for later; shred the meat from the bones (don’t toss the bones, which also freeze well and are great for making stock) and freeze it in a resealable plastic bag. The frozen chicken can be defrosted in the fridge overnight or heated, covered, in a low oven, for about 20 minutes. The leftovers come in handy when you need to throw together a quick dinner or make salads or sandwiches for lunch.

DMLI: How versatile is roast chicken?

MF: Endlessly versatile! This is the real fun of “A Bird in the Oven”. In the book there are
20 different ways to roast a chicken plus 20 healthy and delicious side dishes and then about 65 recipes for making quick dishes using roast chicken: things like Mexican Chicken Soup with Rice; Warm Chicken and Barley Salad with Skillet Mushrooms, Garlic and herbs; Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Roast Chicken, Smoked Mozzarella, and Rosemary; and Tomato-Chickpea Masala with Roast Chicken, Yogurt and Cilantro. I even found roast chicken to be great in breakfast dishes, like a Roasted Cherry Tomato, Chicken, Chèvre and Ciabatta Breakfast Sandwich! You can always pick-up a cooked rotisserie bird at the grocery store to make the roast chicken dishes, when that’s more convenient than using leftovers. Side dishes in the book include a lot of healthy grains and vegetables, but also some fun indulgences, like shoestring fries with 3 types of mayos for dipping.

DMLI: Can you make a great roast chicken using basic pantry ingredients?

MF: Yes! I make a Peruvian roast chicken using paprika, cumin, black pepper and dried oregano. There’s also a recipe for roast jerk chicken, that uses allspice, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, onion, ginger, garlic and chilies; a lot of pantry and fridge basics can be put together to make a great bird.

DMLI: What are your top 3 secrets for the perfect roast chicken?

MF: Start with a good bird. This could be a properly raised (organic or not) from supermarket. Look for respected regional brands that raise birds without the use of hormones or antibiotics, or buy a local bird from your farmers market. Avoid ‘enhanced’ chickens; enhanced refers to a solution of water, salt and sodium phosphate that is injected into the bird to flavor and tenderize it, neither of which should be necessary, and it adds loads more sodium to the chicken than anyone should be eating. Get a good bird and use a good salt to flavor it, instead.

Number two, before seasoning the bird, give it a rinse and then use paper towel to pat it dry very well. Wad up some paper towel to dry the cavity, as well. You really want a nice dry bird to begin with. This is how you get good crispy skin.

Lastly, two things I’m never without when I go to the stove to make a roast chicken are: a cast iron skillet, or other heavy skillet or small roasting pan (I like the enameled cast iron type), and a good-quality coarse flaky sea salt, like Malden. I go into more detail in the “A Bird in the Oven” about tools and basic ingredients. You don’t need many and nothing fancy is required, but it is helpful to know which to use. That’s the beauty of roast chicken—it is exceptionally simple and delicious! read the complete story

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