I have a rule. The day I go to the grocery store, I buy dinner too. As in, you can’t expect me to have time to run to the grocery store, put the food away, and cook a dinner all in the same day. It’s not that I can’t — it’s just too stressful — and anything with the word stress in it is just not worth it. My standby is to pick up a rotisserie chicken from the deli, and serve it with a simple fresh vegetable and fruit — like baby carrots, strawberries or asparagus (which is really quick and easy under the broiler.)
Except today there was no rotisserie chicken in the deli. Just some morbid looking chicken parts covered with breading. No, I couldn’t fall back on pizza– because we had that yesterday. I was stumped, and stuck. I had 90 minutes before people would be clamoring for food.
Time-savers are not always true time savers. Sometimes, we too quickly assume that carry-out food will automatically save us some time. But by the time we choose a restaurant,decide what we want, call the place, deal with “no… I want…”, do the pick-up, we might as well have cooked it ourselves, and saved the trouble and the money. But we forget about those time-wasters. When it comes to saving time, and stress, I figure the less people I have involved, the better of I am. I’d rather just handle it myself.
Instinctively, I grabbed a whole chicken from the meat counter. No fussy chicken parts to deal with — I figured it was just easier and faster to do with one part chicken, rather than handle several parts (breasts, legs, whatever). I can do this, I thought.
Roasting seems so labor intensive and fussy — but the truth is, whether it’s chicken or beef, roasting is simple, and really requires very little hands-on effort. Sometimes, we forget that, because the outcome seems so extravagant, that we assume it’s just so much work and time. In reality, it’s the oven that’s doing most of the work. I choose chicken because it cooks faster than beef.
The first thing I tackled when I got home, was the chicken. I was down to 70 minutes at this point. Here’s the play-by-play.
- Wash hands from visit to grocery store.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Pull out roasting pan, and coat it lightly with olive oil.
- Pour 3 tablespoons sea salt, dried herbs of your choice (rosemary, oregano, paprika, pepper) into a bowl.
- Peel 3 garlic cloves.
- Optional: Peel a few carrots, cut onions and potatoes — or vegetables of your choice. Better yet, you should have bought a package of frozen stew vegetables! Next time.
- Find chicken from the grocery stuffs.
- Tear open package and wash/rinse chicken.
- Rub salt all over bird.
- Pull out giblets from chicken body.
- If you have one, prick a whole lemon and stuff inside bird.
- Put chicken into roasting pan, and surround it with garlic and veggies, if you’re using them. Great way to save yourself some time with an automatic side dish.
- Wash hands again.
- Roast the chicken for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh.
- Unload car (if it’s summer and hot, you’ll have to do that before anything else), and put groceries away. Do not have the kids do this. They’re too hungry at this point, and will have their hands inside the cereal boxes before the boxes have a chance to make it into your house. Once again: what you think is a time-saver isn’t always a time-saver.
- Find someone to set table, ask kids to move their homework out of the way, while you are asked to spell “document” and “retrieve” before finally saying, “look it up.”
- Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Much nicer than carry-out. And so much cheaper too.You can do this!!!