So here’s the deal: yes, making super fancy food can be a super-hella-blast. I like it more than most. But sometimes, I’ve had a long day. I want to come home, put on my jammies and eat something that warms me from the inside out. I want it to be real, wholesome, homemade – and good for me. And cheap-ish is always stellar. (I’m kinda needy, even on jammie night.) So here it is, the warm-you-up, fill-your-heart-without-busting-your-pants-or-budget ultimate meal: roasted chicken. Mashed potatoes. Broccoli.
Roast chicken, you say? Well that’s some boring dinner, Amanda. I submit to you, it is not. It may not photograph perfectly (see lack of finished dish photo) but you perfectly roast a chicken with nothing but salt and pepper – I am telling you , your life will change. And mashed potatoes? Do not have to be laden with fat and cheese. (I mean, they’re super good when they ARE, don’t misunderstand, but they don’t HAVE to be.) And broccoli gets a bad rap, but I’m here to tell you, if you make it like I instruct below, you will turn the staunchest of green-things hater into a believer. (And I should know – I’ve done it). So bust out your yoga pants and hoodie, pour a glass of wine and put on the jazz. Or blues. Or teeny-bopper pop, I’m not here to judge.
- 1 roaster chicken (4-5 lbs)
- 1/4 cup + 3 – 4T olive oil, divided
- 2-3 citrus fruits, quartered (Lemons, limes, oranges – whatevs)
- 12 cloves of garlic, minced (Yes, you read that 12 right. Garlic’s good for you.)
- 3 T basil
- 2 T thyme
- 1 T rosemary
- 1 T oregano
- 1 lb of your favorite potatoes, cubed (I like the Klondike rose, which is a redskin … skin… and a yukon gold center.)
- 2 T butter
- 1/2 cup milk (I use skim because that’s what I drink – sometimes I use buttermilk. Use what you have.)
- 4 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese (I said they weren’t laden with fat and cheese, I didn’t say they had no flavor.)
- 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets and stems discarded (Unless you’re into that sort of thing, but me and the stems are a no-go item.)
- Salt and pepper
- Check inside – if there is a bag of innards, remove and pitch. (And be grateful it’s already in a bag for you.) Pat chicken dry. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place chicken in a roaster pan (I like to keep it up off the bottom of the pan by putting it on a roasting rack or even a cooling rack, so if you have one, cool. If not, no worries.)
- Combine green spices, salt and pepper and half of garlic with 1/4 cup oil and rub chicken down. No for real, give it a good massage.
- Stuff the inside with your citrus fruits, just until it’s full. Some people like to truss the bird (which means tying its legs together so the fruit stays inside). But it’s PJ night and I’m lazy. So I don’t.
- Now go and wash your hands, or my sister will have a fit.
- Tent chicken with aluminum foil and bake 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until the chicken comes to 165 or 170. (It ‘should’ be 180, but it will keep cooking after you pull it out of the oven.)
- Remove tent in last 15 minutes or so of cooking, so the skin gets all nice and brown.
- Once you hit the magic number, pull out of oven and cover with aluminum foil tent, resting for 10 – 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, back at the counter – your chicken’s in the oven. Broccoli and mashed potatoes won’t take you more than 30 minutes or so. Take a break! Put your feet up, make some tea, read a book. Ok now come back, we still have work to do.
- Lay broccoli on 9 x 13 cooking sheet (love my stoneware sheets for this, but anything works.)
- Drizzle with remaining oil, half of remaining garlic and salt/pepper.
- When you pull the chicken out of the oven, pop in the broccoli and roast for 10 minutes, or until it’s really, really green.
- Boil a pot of water on high.
- Add potatoes, turn down to medium, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, until a fork just pierces the potatoes (but they still have some give).
- Drain potatoes and return to hot pot.
- Add rest of garlic, cheese milk, butter and salt/pepper, and mash with a potato masher until potatoes are your desired consistency. (I like mine chunky. For super smooth, add more milk or cheese and use a hand mixer.)
Serve potatoes and broccoli with your chicken.