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How to Make the Best Roasted Chicken

How to Make the Best Roasted Chicken

This is a very basic recipe for roasted chicken, but sometimes the best meals stem from simplicity. I like to make a roasted chicken about once a week. My kids love eating it cut up into bite size chunks when it’s fresh out of the oven, and my husband always gets first dibs on the legs! After I pick all of the meat off, I’ll boil the bones to make chicken stock and the extra chicken will either go into a pot of soup, or I’ll use it for some other meal.

Ingredients

  • One Whole Chicken (Organic and pastured is best, look for a local farmer, or check it our here)
  • 1 Stick of Butter (Pastured butter like Kerrygold is the best.)
  • 1 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here. You can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • 1 t. Pepper (Buy it here.)
  • 1 t. Ground Oregano (I buy mine here or you can buy it here.)
  • 1 t. Ground Basil (I buy mine here or you can buy it here.)
  • 1 t. Garlic Powder (I buy mine here or you can buy it here or here.)
  • 1 t. Onion Powder (I buy mine here or you can buy it here.)

Directions

  1. Thaw the chicken. If the chicken is frozen, try to remember to put it in the fridge for a day or two until it thaws out. If you’re in a pinch, fill the sink up with warm water and let it soak for an hour. (Don’t try to cook the chicken frozen.)
  2. Get the oven ready. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  3. Prepare the chicken. Once the chicken is thawed, pull out the giblets and give them to your cat/dog, rinse with cold water, pat dry with a paper towel, and place in a roasting pan. (I like using a glass pan).
  4. Season. Sprinkle the seasonings generously all over the chicken, especially inside the cavity. I actually never measure my seasonings, I just try to coat the chicken evenly.
  5. Butter. Put the stick of butter inside the cavity of the chicken. (You could also rub some of the butter into the skin of the chicken. Just do it before you add the seasonings.) *Butter is not to be feared as we have so previously and erroneously thought. Read more here.)

    raw chicken with seasonings stuffed with butter in glass pan ready to be cooked

    Seasoned Whole Chicken Ready to be Cooked

  6. Bake. Bake at 350˚F for 1½ hours.

    roast chicken

    Roasted Chicken

  7. Let cool. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting. (This gives the juices a chance to settle in.) If you notice that the juice is really pink or that the chicken is still pink, cook for another 20 minutes and check again. If you’re the type who likes to check the internal temperature, it should read 165˚F.
  8. Cut into pieces. Peal the skin back and cut horizontal lines in the breast followed by vertical lines. Then cut down at an angle until you get big chunks of breast meat falling off the bone.

    pre-cut chicken breast on a cooked roasted chicken in a glass pan

    Pre-Cut Chicken Breast from a Roasted Chicken

  9. Soak the meat in the juice. Let these chunks of meat soak in the juice of the chicken. Cut the rest of the meat off the bones as much as possible. (To remove the chicken legs, find where the two bones connect and gently saw through the cartilage.) Leave the legs and wings intact if it suits your fancy. Let all of the meat soak in the juice, sprinkle with a fresh bit of salt, and serve! *My chicken legs never make it past my husband; they’re his favorite! 🙂

    roasted chicken breast meat cut up and soaking in juices legs cut off

    Roasted Chicken Meat Cut and Ready to Serve

  10. Save the scraps. Save the bones, skin, and all other remnants to make a healing chicken broth and/or use the chicken (and all of the juice of course) to make some delicious chicken soup!

Variations:

You can use any combination of the following variations. Try a few things out. See what you like and don’t like. Get creative and try something new!

  • Cut a lemon in half, gently squeeze both halves into the cavity of the chicken, and place both halves in there as well.
  • Peel some garlic cloves (about 4-6 nice sized ones) and place them in the cavity of the chicken.
  • Use rosemary, salt, and pepper only.
  • Chop up some big chunks of onion and place them around the chicken.
  • Cut up some potatoes (or leave them whole) and place them around the chicken.
  • Cut up some carrots and celery into big chunks and place them around the chicken.
steamed broccoli with melted butter and salt

Why Broccoli is So Good for You and How to Make the Best Steamed Broccoli

Steamed broccoli smothered with butter and sprinkled with salt is a favorite side dish in our household. I like to buy organic broccoli (when I can) and cook it a couple times a week. It makes a great accompaniment to a roast chicken or salmon dinner, and the kids love it too!

Why Broccoli is So Good For You

Broccoli is high in carotenoids, vitamin C, chromium (which helps prevent diabetes) and contains B complex, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium as well. It also contains some protein and fiber. It is rich in indoles (as are all members of the cruciferous family), which is a potent anticancer substance as well as.

Broccoli is loaded with glutathione! Glutathione is found at very high concentrations in the lens of the eye and when eaten in the form of broccoli, cabbage, and parsley, it helps to protect the eye from cataracts. Glutathione is also an antioxidant that helps prevent cancer. Studies show that people who prefer to eat broccoli have lower rates of all kinds of cancer. When you cook broccoli, 30-60% the glutathione is lost. (100% is lost in canning.) (From Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, p. 192 and p. 374)

But Watch Out!

Broccoli also contains glucosinolates which prevent the uptake of iodine and affect the function of the thyroid so they are considered goitrogens. When iodine uptake is interfered with, it can result in an enlargement of the thyroid, known as a goiter. This is really only something to watch out for if broccoli and other cuciferous vegeatables (brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower) are eaten in excess. So don’t go too overboard on eating them!

Steaming is the Best

By steaming broccoli, you are lessening the effects of the goitrogens while maintaining the valuable nutrients packed within. I also think it tastes the best!

Ingredients/Materials

  • Broccoli (One head of organic is best.)
  • Steamer Pan (Get one here.)
  • Butter
  • Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here. You can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)

Directions

  1. Prepare the Steamer: Fill the steamer with water and turn the heat to high.

    Steaming pan

    Steaming Pan

  2. Chop up the Broccoli: Sometimes I like cutting it into more bite size pieces before steaming, and sometimes I just chop off the stalk. (You can eat the stalk too if you’d like.)
  3. Add the Broccoli: Place the broccoli in the steamer. When I can, I like to position the head of the broccoli facing up so that the top doesn’t get overcooked.

    raw broccoli ready to be steamed

    Raw Broccoli Ready to Steam

  4. Cover and Steam for 5 Minutes: Once the water comes to a boil, I like to turn down the heat just a bit so it’s still boiling, but not spurting water out. The broccoli should be bright green and tender when it’s done.

    bright green and tender steamed broccoli cooked to perfection

    Steamed Broccoli

  5. Cold Water Bath: Run the broccoli under cold water to stop it from cooking any further. This will help the broccoli to hold its color. I usually skip this step, however, because I want the butter to melt easily.
  6. Butter and Salt: Cut into florets, smother with butter, sprinkle with salt, and serve.

    steamed broccoli topped with chunks of butter and sprinkled with salt

    Steamed Broccoli with Butter and Salt

perfect scrambled eggs cooked in a cast iron skillet

How to Make the Best Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs are an absolute staple in our family. I usually cook some kind of eggs every morning. Sometimes I’ll be in the mood for scrambled eggs, but it may be a day for some sunny side up eggs or a baked egg dish. You never know! Anyways, knowing how to make REALLY GOOD scrambled eggs is one of the first lessons a mom chef needs to learn.

Ingredients

  • 4 Eggs (Pastured is best.)
  • ¼ c. Milk (Raw is best.)
  • 1 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here. You can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • ½ t. Pepper
  • 2 T. Butter
  • 1 c. Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Directions

  1. Cure the Cast Iron Skillet: If you are cooking with a cast iron skillet (which I recommend for pretty much everything), then you’ll want to make sure it’s properly cured before you begin. Even if it’s been cured recently, I recommend running some hot water over it to clean out any bits of food, pouring in a fresh glug of olive oil, and letting it sit at the lowest setting on your stove for about thirty minutes to an hour.
  2. Coconut Oil (or Butter): Add a dollop of coconut oil and turn the heat up to a 3 or 4 for a few minutes.

    Coconut Oil Melting on a Cast Iron Skillet

    Coconut Oil Melting on a Cast Iron Skillet

  3. Mix the Eggs: While the pan is preheating, combine the eggs, milk (you can always substitute water if you’re out of milk), salt, and pepper.
    eggs, milk, salt, pepper ready to mix for scrambled eggs

    Eggs, Milk, Salt, and Pepper

    If it suits your fancy, you can add a few other spices like maybe some cayenne pepper, onion powder, of some chives. Get crazy! Mix really well.

    scrambled egg mixture mixed until it's nice and bubbly

    Scrambled Egg Mixture

  4. Add the Eggs: Make sure the coconut oil is melted and the pan has had plenty of time to heat up (a few minutes at least), then pour in the eggs. If the pan sizzles as you add the eggs, you know the temperature is just right. (But don’t worry if it doesn’t, it’s better too cook too low than too high.)
  5. Cover and Cook: The key to making really good scrambled eggs is to cook them at a low temperature and to cook them cook slowly. If you lift up the lid and nothing is going on, turn up the dial a titch. But keep your eye on it, because they can burn quickly!  It’s better to start too low than too high.

    scrambled eggs cooking nice and slow so that they don't burn

    Scrambled Eggs Cooked Halfway Through

  6. Stir: After you can see that the eggs have cooked a considerable amount, start to stir. Start by flipping the eggs over, then chop them up (I prefer semi-big chunks) as you move them around. Just don’t over stir, you’ll make the pieces too small and they’ll lose their softness.

    IMG_8723

    Cooked Scrambled Eggs

  7. Add Butter: Add a big chunk of butter, let it melt, then stir it around to mix it in.

    cooked scrambled eggs with melting butter in a cast iron skillet

    Scrambled Eggs with Butter

  8. Add More Salt: This is when I like to add a fresh sprinkling of salt.

    cooked scrambled eggs with butter and salt in a cast iron skillet

    Scrambled Eggs with Butter and Salt

  9. Add Cheese: Sprinkle on some shredded cheese, cover with a lid, and turn the stove off until it melts.
    cooked scrambled eggs with shredded cheese about to melt

    Cooked Scrambled Eggs with Shredded Cheese Ready to Melt

    cooked scrambled eggs with melted cheese in a cast iron skillet

    Cooked Scrambled Eggs with Melted Cheese

  10. Serve: This is another kid favorite in our house!

    cooked scrambled eggs with melted cheese on a plate with a kids fork

    Kid’s Plate with Scrambled Eggs

Sourdough Waffles and Pancakes

These waffles are a BIG hit with my kids! I like to keep one fresh batch in the fridge and one spare batch in the freezer. In either case, I just pull one out, pop it in the toaster, and we’re in business! Then I like to slather it with a generous amount of butter, cut it into bite size pieces, top with some fresh maple syrup (or organic syrup when the budget is tight), and WALLA –breakfast is served! (*Note: Sometimes my kids suddenly turn on me and stop liking what they used to like. When that happens with this, I switch to my Sort of Sourdough Pancake recipe or my Whole Wheat Pancake recipe.)

Ingredients

  • 1 c. Sourdough Starter
  • 2. c. Milk (Raw is best.)
  • 4 c. Flour (Freshly ground for optimal nutrition so that the phytase that will break down phytic acidI get my wheat berries here, but you can find some similar here too.)
  • 2 Eggs (Preferably pastured)
  • 6 T. (¾ stick) Melted Butter (You can add room temperature butter and it should mix alright though.)
  • 2 T. Raw Honey  (You could add ¼ c. brown sugar, or just skip this ingredient – it just helps to counteract the flavor if you’re not used to sour. It’s best to buy local raw honey, but you can buy it here too.)
  • 1 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • 1 t. Baking Soda  (or Aluminum Free Baking Powder)
  • 2 T. Cinnamon (Buy some here.)
  • 2 T. Vanilla Extract (This vanilla would be best, but on our budget, I buy this.)
  • 2 T. Coconut Oil (This coconut oil would be best, but on our budget, I buy this.)

IMG_2795Directions

Part 1: The Sponge (Mix and Let Sit Overnight…or for 8 Hours)

  1. Dissolve the sourdough starter into the milk.
  2. Mix in the flour.
  3. Cover and let sit overnight or for 8 hours. (I like to do all of my food prep in the morning, so I make my overnight batter in the morning, then put it in the fridge during the day, and finally put it out on the counter before I go to bed so it’s ready the next morning.)
  4. Note: Now, if you’re like me and you unintentionally leave it out for way more than 8 hours, YOU might still like it, but your picky eaters may not. So watch the time.

Part 2: The Final Batter (The Next Morning…or 8 Hours Later)

IMG_2945

  1. Start preheating your waffle iron.
  2. Add the eggs, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and baking soda to the overnight mixture. (You can mix all of these ingredients in a separate bowl first if you want.)
  3. I like to use beaters to mix everything together, but you could also use a spoon.
  4. Coat the waffle iron with coconut oil. I just bought this waffle iron, and I love it. (I like my waffles square so that I can pop them in the toaster.)IMG_2946
  5. Cook for about 6 minutes (or until the light turns green). You want them as lightly cooked as possible so that you can reheat them later in the toaster, and they won’t be too overdone. IMG_7895
  6. *This also makes great pancake batter, so if you don’t have a waffle iron, just make pancakes instead.
  7. Smother with butter and maple syrup then serve! (Find out why I like to smother everything with butter here.)IMG_7894

*I adapted this recipe from The Fresh Loaf, which is a great source for all bread making.

Why Eat Sourdough? To learn more about why sourdough is the best way to get rid of phytic acid, check out my blog: Phytic Acid: The Anti-Nutrient That’s Slowly Killing You.

Grandma’s Gingersnap Cookies

As much as I try to avoid sugar (especially when I’m pregnant), sometimes I just can’t help it, and I need something sweet! These are my favorite “healthy” cookies because they are high in iron (thanks to the blackstrap molasses) and made with good ingredients like farm fresh eggs, real butter, and fresh ground flour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. Butter – 2 Sticks (Pastured butter like Kerrygold is the best, organic butter is the next best, and butter without rBST growth hormones works too.)
  • ¾  c. Sugar
  • ¾  c. Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs (Pastured are best.)
  • ½ c. Molasses (Blackstrap has the most iron.)
  • 3½ c. Fresh Ground Flour
  • 2 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Real Salt
  • 3 t. Cinnamon
  • 1 t. Cloves
  • 3 t. Ginger (I like to use fresh ginger juice made in our juicer.)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Mix butter, sugar, molasses, and eggs with a beater until creamy.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together.
  4. Roll into balls and roll in sugar.
  5. Lay out on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes at 350˚F. (It should make 3 full sheets with a little left over.)IMG_3235
  6. For a nice flat bottom, lay out on parchment paper to cool. (It absorbs the moisture and helps the cookie to be firm, yet still soft.) *The trick with these cookies is to not overcook them. When you take them out of the oven, you’ll think, “These are too soft, they can’t be done yet,” and yet that’s how you know that they are actually just perfect.IMG_3248

 

This recipe was passed on to me from my Mom who got it from my Grandma, and my Grandma has always made THE BEST gingersnap cookies. On Christmas, she sends these cookies to her children who live across the country and they wait for them with baited breath. My Grandma came over once and I had her walk me through the process step by step because no matter how closely I followed the recipe, I could never get them to turn out just right. Turns out, the trick was to cook them for 8 minutes instead of the 10 that I had been doing.

Butter is a Superfood!

I love that as our kids were coming to HUGE growth spurts, they would both consume copious amounts of butter. Because we didn’t know how good butter was, we would cringe a little as Ruby demanded more and more butter on crackers or bread, and we were just mortified when Elliot wanted to eat whole sticks of butter. But even though I hadn’t read Nourishing Traditions or learned about Weston Price yet, I thankfully believed in the fact that our kids craved what their bodies needed. (Thanks for raising me that way mom!) Now that I KNOW how amazing butter is it makes TOTAL SENSE why growing children crave butter and should be able to have as much as they want! Here are all of the reasons why butter is a superfood and should be eaten LIBERALLY…especially by growing children and mommas who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding.2012-06-05_08-25-08_894

  • One stick of butter has 58 grams of saturated fat. This is a good thing! Saturated fats have been demonized by mainstream media, but they are essential for our bodies and especially for growing children. (Read more about why in my blog: The Truth About Fats.)
  • There are certain vitamins that are only soluble in fat, and these include vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin K. These fat soluble vitamins occur in LARGE amounts ONLY when the butter comes from cows eating green grass. Vitamins A and D are essential for growth, for healthy bones, for proper development of the brain and nervous system, and for sexual development. The absence of butterfat in growing children results in “nutritional castration” because the male and female sexual characteristics fail to be brought out.
  • The Wulzen Factor also called the “antistiffness factor” is only found in raw animal fat, protects humans from calcification of the joints (degenerative arthritis), hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal gland.
  • The Price Factor or Activator X was discovered by Dr. Price and is a powerful catalyst for things like vitamins A and D that help the body absorb and use minerals and can ONLY come from cows eating rapidly growing grass. Dr. Price found that when he gave patients fermented cod liver oil infused with grass-fed butter oil, it practically brought people back from the dead.
  • 12-15% of butter contains short- and medium-chain fatty acids that don’t need to be emulsified by bile salts but can be absorbed directly from the small intestine to the liver where it is converted to quick energy. It also has highly protective lauric acid which is only found in large amounts of coconut oil or small amounts of butterfat.
  • Four carbon butyric acid is unique to butter and has antifungal and antitumor properties.
  • Omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids occur in small but equal amounts in butter.
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) found in butter has anticancer properties, encourages the buildup of muscle, and prevents weight gain, but only when cows are pasture-fed.
  • The lecithin in butter helps metabolize and assimilate cholesterol and other fats.
  • The cholesterol in butter is needed to produce a variety of steroids that protect against cancer, heart disease, and mental illness.
  • Glycosphingolipids are a type of fat in butter that protects against gastrointestinal infections, especially in the young and elderly. For this reason, children who drink skimmed milk have diarrhea at rates three to five times greater than children who drink whole milk.
  • Trace minerals are incorporated into the fat globule membrane of butterfat including manganese, zinc, chromium, and iodine

Getting butter from grass-fed cows is by far the best. If you have access to raw milk from grass fed cows, the best thing would be to make your own butter or find a local source that sells it. You might be able to find Organic Valley Pasture Butter in season (May-April) at your local grocery store. Kerrygold is imported from Ireland where the cows spend 10 months out of the year on pasture and you can find it online and/or sometimes at your local grocery store. You can also buy organic butter from the store, but it’s expensive and there is no guarantee that the cows were out to pasture. Sometimes buying healthy food happens in layers and if you’re not to the point of buying expensive butter (I’m not…yet), then know that eating store bought butter isn’t so bad (but you are missing out on some of the amazing health properties). Any hormones or antibiotics that are given to the cows do not get stored in the butterfat, so that’s good at least. Fat soluble poisons such as DDT do accumulate in fats, however. For what it’s worth, we purchase our butter in bulk from Country Life Dairy for $2.75/pound. It is free from rBST bovine growth hormone which makes cows produce an unnatural amount of milk which leads to mastitis, over-use of antibiotics, and a host of other problems. It is actually banned in Canada and European countries.

So now that you know how good butter is, the next question should be: How can I find ways to eat as much butter as possible? My sister recently heard Sally Fallon speak at a conference and she said that vegetables were mostly important because they make excellent vehicles for consuming butter! Personally, I like to lightly steam a head of broccoli, douse it with about a half stick of butter, and then sprinkle it generously with Real Salt. I also like to make organic air popped corn, melt an entire stick of butter to pour over the top, and sprinkle generously with Real Salt for family movie night. Sally Fallon also mentioned that if you are going to have a piece of bread and butter, you should be able to see teeth marks in the butter! I have started to become creative with how I incorporate butter into our daily lives. I really enjoy my latest idea of melting huge dollops of butter on top of freshly cooked pastured eggs. And even though it is made with sugar, which we all know is the damned devil, I still really enjoy eating cookie dough made with freshly ground grain, two whole sticks of butter, and raw pastured eggs. Mmmmmmm…all this talk about butter is making me hungry! Time for a snack!

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