We started with the easiest effort for result Chicken Dinner I know. Rosemary Roasted Chicken with red potatoes, winter veggies and cheesy garlic crescent rolls. We talked about how you shouldn’t eat 2 starches at every meal, but we are in the South and it was Sunday dinner. So fair warning this is a crowd pleaser, not an every night we eat like this. (before people get all angry & judgmental on my allegedly “healthy” menu) But if you are feeding 9 people, and 4 of them are under 18 + picky adults tossed in, this is a great cold February Sunday dinner.
We started with a bag of chicken leg quarters. We talked about what are leg quarters, why they are great for roasting/baking (won’ t get as dry) and how do we prepare them. I instructed GirlChild and RedBird how to wash the quarters, using a separate cutting board, and how to inspect them for feather bits and other unsavory chicken pieces. This was by the way hysterical. Wow, neither of them wanted to touch raw chicken and were thoroughly “girls” about it. I was mixing the rub (listed below) and explaining things like what rosemary does for poultry in general, how paprika gives it a more palatable reddish-orange roasted look, and how while a fresh onion would be better, we could get onion flavor without any “yucky pieces” to have to hear about (mostly from the adults but whatevs- ❤ you guys) with onion powder in our rub. While I am mixing spices in a bowl with a fork & sharing my (admittedly) little bits of spice knowledge, I get interrupted repeatedly with squeals followed by things like “OMG WHAT is that!? WAIT, EEEWW, What is this?! Oh, gross, it’s slimy! What is this rubbery skin like thing?” To which I respond,” That is the end of a feather like I was talking about. That’s the backbone, sweetie. Yes raw meat can feel a little slimy, but if it felt spongy-slimy than we would trash it, it has gone bad. That’s the chicken’s skin.” Lol ahh the joys of cooking, I already felt more bonded with my daughter and SIL & the oven was only preheating (375ᵒ F BTW)! So we move on to rubbing our spice into the chicken. Insert more ewws & squeals here. We all wash up & begin to wash and cut red potatoes into large chunks. These go into the bottom of the casserole dish. I show them how to cut little bits off of a 1/2 stick of butter and drop them onto the potatoes. Then we placed the chicken on top. I drizzle on some of my (as in I made) Rosemary EVOO and into the oven she goes! A thorough washing ensues. I’m trying to sterilize, as is RedBird, GirlChild is just trying to rid herself of the “chicken grossness”.
I get out a cookie sheet and demonstrate how to open a can of crescent rolls. The girls get all the little rectangles stacked nicely (after I tell RedBird that that perforated edge is supposed to be there, less touching the better!). I melt a stick of margarine, add garlic powder, salt, basil and then stir with a pastry brush. The ladies start rolling the rolls according to the directions on the package, after first placing about a teaspoon’s amount of shredded cheddar at the center of the wide part of each dough triangle. Then I demonstrate brushing the garlic mix.” RedBird, don’t squish the bread!” Into the oven these also went. SIDE NOTE: they burnt on the bottom because they were too close to the burner, so watch out! Or it could have been the giggling instead of watching the oven…
Next up? The easiest dish, into another casserole I dumped a bag of frozen winter mix veggies. (the one that’s sometimes labeled California mix, with broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) That goes into the microwave with the lid on for 10 minutes.
When Chicken was done (we talked/demonstrated cooking temp & checking the thickest parts for doneness) I ladled some of the drippings from the pan over the steamed veggies and tossed them in it. Mmm suddenly cauliflower is Fabulous! (yes that’s a capital F)
We set the table and call in the troops. Although around here it’s more like gathering the orphans for gruel, or offering poison to hostile factions. Everyone is suspicious, is it poisoned? Will it be edible? Will they make me eat it anyway? This is by the way not the result of the three of us cooking but the every night reaction to supper. For the record none of these people have ever had food poisoning and 6 out of 7 nights a week they enjoy the meal, so really they’re just a hostile faithless group. (little ingrates… Mommy loves you)
Quiet settles in the kitchen. “It smells good?” I can’t explain why this “compliment” is said in question form, but there you have it. “Ranch?” This from the three year old who we love despite his predilection for dipping everything on his plate in Ranch dressing. At leasthe’seating and he manages to break the spell and bites are taken. *Moaning* I tell you rapture! Coming from a lady who is method acting for her performance as a nun (me), that chicken was the best thing I tasted at least this month. We brushed off the bottoms of the rolls, and voila! Magnifique! Rave reviews all around. I made sure everyone knew that RedBird and GirlChild cooked this wonderful feast and proper thanks were issued.
You know what was better than the chicken? The pride I saw in both their eyes on Sunday night. They did something new, something a little scary and excelled at it. Sigh my little birdies and their first flight was a beautiful success.
Eyeball actual amounts
Ingredients listed in order
From most to least:
Crushed Rosemary (Crush this more before using)