I love roast chicken. I think that it might be my favorite dinner: stuffing and corn and mashies and gravy. It’s basically a small-scale version of Thanksgiving–which is my favorite holiday meal.
Anyway, when I think of roast chicken I think of the delectable sides. YUM. I was ready to prepare all those wonderful carbohydrate-laden dishes when I chose #10 Roast Chicken, so I was surprised and disappointed to find not a single comfort food item on the suggested menu. Not even a cranberry sauce-like relish or chutney!
Mashed potatoes and gravy replaced by zucchini and French crudites. So this is the summer-light version? It must be, the platter’s on a checkered tablecloth.
The recipe called for a 5lb chicken roasting at 325 degrees. Mine was a little under 4 and a half, but due to the havoc that my oven wreaked the day before, I decided to make a preemptive strike and start with the oven at 350. Can you guess what happened this time around?
It was at 2pm that I set the oven at 350. At 2:22, having already brushed the chicken with (light) butter and sprinkled it with rosemary salt, It went into the fun-house that is my shitty apartment-sized oven.
Here is what happened between the point at which I put in the chicken (2:22) and when I realized that something weird was going on (4:28):
- prepared the melon (only had cantaloupe, but it was on super-sale at $2.50 each). Winning.
- made the vinaigrette, tossed the pre-cut veggies (carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, and assorted cocktail-sized tomatoes) and put in the fridge to chill.
- mixed the items for the basting sauce. I used only 1tbsp of oil instead of 1/4 cup. The bird was already covered in light butter, so I didn’t think it needed more fat.
- At 3:20 I basted for the first time.
So it’s 4:28 and I pulled out the chicken to do the second baste (which sounds like ‘second base.’ Tee-hee! Insert chicken breast joke here). But what’s this–the meat thermometer already hit ‘chicken’? WTF? So I wrapped some aluminum foil on the chicken and turned down the oven.
At 4:30 I quickly threw together the zucchini slices with some olive oil, seasonings, and Parmesan cheese. They went into the oven along with the dinner rolls (from the same freebie pack I got yesterday at work).
At 4:54 I basted for the 3rd time. Had the internal temperature of the chicken gone down? I convinced myself that I’m just imagining it.
5:00 I took the rolls out of the oven, slapped on some butter and grated Parmesan cheese.
Five minutes later. Did the thermometer drop to ‘Beef?’
5:20 Chicken OUT! The juices were running clear and I thought it best to take it out now than run the risk of dry chicken. I put the rolls into the toaster oven on ‘broil.’ Upped the oven temp to 500 to brown the zucchini.
5:24 Have charred the Parmesan rolls to the point where they look like lumps of coal. Sad face.
In the following six minutes I flew about the kitchen like a crazy person as I plated and photographed.
5:30 Dinner is Served!
Regardless of how wonky the timing worked out, I am very pleased with how this one photographed. It looks like the card, right? (I want to note that I didn’t buy the lettuce specifically for this plating, it was a 1/3 of a head of iceberg that was wilting in the crisper. I am happy to say that it didn’t go to waste).
Cost-wise this was pretty frugal–especially considering that I got another Dinner is Served! from this meal’s leftovers (but that’s the next post). The chicken was already in my freezer and was purchased during a .99/lb. sale. The zucchini, which might have been the world’s saddest zucchini, was only about $1. Zucchini was priced at something ridiculous like $3.99 a pound, so that proves just how sad and tiny it was. And it was the best that the Safeway had to offer. Damn Safeway.
For the French-style Crudites, the vegetables were pre-cut at $2.50 a bag and the dip I used was a blue-cheese dressing packet from pizza delivery. The dinner rolls were free and the cantaloupes were on super-sale. Speaking of cantaloupes, here is what I did for dessert since the Safeway only offered cantaloupes:
I already had massive bucket of rainbow sherbet in my freezer. There is always sherbet in the freezer. It might be Cleveland’s favorite food. The only splurge was the pack of cocktail tomatoes for $4.99. I could have purchased regular ol’ cherry tomatoes, but they weren’t much cheaper.
All in all, this was a solid meal. The chicken turned out quite well. The meat was juicy and flavorful. The sides, although not what I would have with a roast chicken, were a nice, unexpected change. This was very diet and budget friendly–and that includes the dessert. The next day I ate the leftover crudites with my lunch-portion of the pork tenderloin. And for the next few days I had cantaloupe with breakfast. I would say that the only giant fail was my toasted-marshmallow looking Parmesan rolls.
Before I close out #10 I want to make a huge announcement. I bought an oven thermometer!!!!!!! So from here on out I should know what my oven is thinking at all times and therefore might be better at serving dinner when dinner is supposed to be served.