Category Archives: Main Courses

MySisterSaid It Doesn’t Get Simpler than Roast Chicken

Roast Chicken is easy

Roast Chicken looks like a lot more work than it really is!

Nothing used to intimidate me more in the kitchen than a whole chicken. Unless it was a whole turkey. I just didn’t know what to do with a raw bird. And I certainly didn’t know how to roast chicken or carve it. But I live in the Netherlands and decent pre-cooked roast chicken is hard to come by. Luckily, I also have an exemplary English mother-in-law to learn from. She produces fantastic ‘Traditional Roast Lunches’. So, I bit the bullet and took the plunge into cooking Roast Chicken. What a revelation it was! Slap that bird in the oven and it takes care of itself.

Here’s Roast Chicken the easy way

  • Pre-heat your oven to 450˚F/230˚C.
  • Spray a roasting rack with Pam or lightly grease it to make clean-up easier.
  • As far as clean-up goes, I line the roasting pan with foil to catch the drippings.
  • Put your chicken on the rack.
  • Pop it in the oven.
  • Turn the oven down immediately to 350˚F/180˚C.
  • For birds up to 6 pounds/3 kilos cook for 20-25 minutes per pound.

Optional Roast Chicken extras

  • Squeeze and stuff some lemon halves or garlic cloves in the cavity. Or add some sprigs of rosemary, thyme or other fresh herbs.
  • Some people like to salt the skin before they roast the bird. I don’t because I’m trying to limit added sodium.
  • Some people swear by basting every 10 minutes or so after the first half hour. I’m lazy, I hate to clean my baster and I’ve never noticed it making much difference to the taste anyway.
  • If you like to use a thermometer, insert it into the meaty part of the thigh, but make sure it’s not up against the bone.

When is Roast Chicken roasted?

  • When you prick the skin of the thigh and the juices run clear.
  • When the temperature reaches 180˚-185˚F/82˚-85˚ on your thermometer.

Here’s what to do when your Roast Chicken is in the oven

  • Relax, read a book, go for a walk, call your Mom or Sister.
  • About 30 minutes before the chicken is ready, go make some of EatingWell’s yummy Crushed Red Potatoes with Buttermilk. A serving of these spuds only has about 88 calories!
  • We like our Roast Chicken with roast veggies like butternut squash, carrots, Brussels sprouts and onions. But generally speaking, they need to cook at a much higher temperature than the chicken. So if you’re going down this route, you may want to roast the veg to almost-but-not-quite done while your oven is very hot (before you put the chicken it). Then pop the veg into the microwave to heat them up just before serving.
  • Can’t be bothered to fiddle around with roast veggie timing? Fine. Just steam some veggies. Green beans and carrots go great with Roast Chicken.

How to carve Roast Chicken

  • Cut the drumsticks, thighs and wings off.
  • Slice from the breastbone down and remove the white meat.
  • It’s very easy when you use a sharp knife.

What else do you need to do?

  • Well around these parts, the chickens are tiny – usually only about 2.5 pounds/1.2 kilos – so I always roast 2 or 3. That way we have plenty of leftovers.
  • After your meal, remove any extra chicken from the carcasses and save the pretty pieces for a proper meal.
  • After removing the bones and skin, pre-package the rest into freezer bags in the amounts you need for your favorite produce-a-meal-fast recipes. We like:
    • Curried chicken salad pitas made with light mayo and fat-free plain yogurt, pears, celery, dried cranberries, some slivered almonds and alfalfa sprouts.
    • Chicken tacos and fajitas.
    • When we’re really in a hurry, nothing beats a kid pleaser BBQ Chicken Sandwich: mix 2 cups of shredded chicken with 1 cup of grated carrots and ½ cup of your favorite bottled barbecue sauce. Warming this chicken mix is optional, but we pop it into the microwave to heat it a bit and soften the carrots. Serve on a crusty bun with a fresh green salad. Fast as lightening and tasty, too!

      What’s your favorite chicken recipe?

MySisterSaid Chickpea Falafel Burgers Are Healthy and Exotic

chickpeas,

Served with a salad Chickpea Falafel Burgers make a tasty meat-free meal

Full of exotic aroma’s and flavor, these fiber-filled Chickpea Falafel Burgers are a favorite vegetarian alternative at our house. They’re packed with all the wonderful health benefits of chickpeas and rich, aromatic spices. They go together quickly and easily – and while you’re at it, you can make extras to freeze. Adapted from something we saw years ago on the BBC.
4 servings and take around 30 minutes.  You’ll need:

For the sandwich

  • 15-ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ½ cup parsley (flat leaf, handful)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon harissa paste or chili sauce, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea flour, or regular all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 whole wheat pita breads

For the sauce

  • ½ cup nonfat plain yogurt or nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)

To prepare sauce:

Combine yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, parsley and salt in medium bowl.

To prepare burgers:

Pat chickpeas dry with paper towel. Tip into a food processor along with the onion, garlic, parsley, spices, flour and a little salt. Blend until fairly smooth, and then shape into four patties with your hands. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the burgers, then quickly fry for 3 minutes on each side until lightly golden. In the meantime, toast your pitas. Serve the Chickpea Falafel Burgers with toasted pitas, garnish and perhaps a green salad.

 

According to our calculations, each serving has about 400 calories and almost 8 grams of fiber.

MySister Said Enjoy Peanut Noodles with Snow Peas & Shrimp

peanut noodles with shrimp & snow peas

Sophisticated enough to please the adult palate…but kids love Peanut Noodles, too!

This Peanut Noodle recipe is easy and tickles the taste buds of peanut butter, pasta and crunchy-munchy snow pea fans. Substitute a 12-ounce bag of vegetable medley for the veggies and this recipe goes together even quicker. You can use soba or udon noodles, but supermarkets in Amsterdam don’t sell them and I’m usually too lazy to make the trek to the Japanese deli. Serve it warm or cold…makes great leftovers. Serves 6, 1 1/2 cups each. Takes about 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (frozen) shrimp – raw, peeled, deveined
  • 1/2 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sambal oelek or chile-garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sesame oil
  • 1 cup hot water (from the pasta)
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 3 large carrots, sliced into thick matchsticks
  • 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, sliced into thick matchsticks
  • 2 cups or 2 handsful snow peas

Preparation

  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil for cooking pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, chile-garlic sauce, sesame oil and ginger in a large bowl.
  3. Cook pasta in the boiling water until not quite tender, about 1 minute less than specified in the package directions. Add shrimp and vegetables, and cook until the pasta and vegetables are just tender, 1 minute more. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Stir the reserved cooking liquid into the peanut sauce; add the pasta, shrimp and vegetables; toss well to coat. Serve warm or chilled.

Adapted from an EatingWell recipe

MySisterSaid Dive into this Mediterranean Salmon Pasta

salmon pasta

Forget heavy and fattening cream and butter based salmon pasta. This flavor-packed take on a classic recipe is a whole lot healthier and will carry you straight to the seaside in Italy! Serve it with steamed asparagus or a leafy green salad and enjoy.

Time 30 minutes | Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces/200 grams thinly sliced smoked salmon
  • 8 ounces/250 grams whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oi
  • 2¼ cups/415 grams seeded tomatoes chopped into small blocks
  • ½ cup/175 ml dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons/30 grams large capers, drained
  • 1½ teaspoon dried dill
  • 1½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup/50 grams parmesan, freshly grated
  • Flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

Preparation

  1. Slice salmon into ½ inch wide strips and put aside
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions
  3. While pasta cooks, heat oil and sauté garlic over medium heat until garlic is golden.
  4. Add tomatoes, wine, capers, dill weed and basil. Cook until mixture is hot.
  5. Drain pasta and toss in large serving bowl with sauce mixture.
  6. Add salmon and parmesan. Toss gently and garnish with parsley.

One serving has about 325 calories.