1st home cooking date with chicken
I am trying to make a home cook meal for the guy that I am dating. He is not very adventureous (sp) with food. His reply if asked what his favorite food is would be "chicken" with no other word to describe the chicken.
I am wondering if anyone can give me a realitvely easy meal to prepare.
A simple roast chicken is always good and simple to do. I take a chicken, remove the bag of gizards/liver, rinse the chicken and rub it all over with olive oil. Then I season it, salt and pepper are a must, I also use paprika, red pepper and Bells Seasoning. I tuck a couple bay leaves into the cavity and place the bird on sliced onions in a roasting pan/pie plate. Roast according to directions. Serve with whatever sides you are comfortable with. Salad, a rice mix and glazed carrots are pretty simple. You can even buy good corn bread in the grocery store to round out the meal.
I made my husband roast chicken for our first home-cooked meal and it was easy, beautiful, and yummy.
I put lemon and rosemary in the cavity. I also put a mixture of butter and dijon mustard under the skin before baking when i have time. It's really good. Potatoes and carrots in the pan and a green salad can be made with little extra effort.B
A favorite at our house is bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. I roast them on a bed of parboiled potatoes at 425 degrees. They take about 30 minutes. My wife prefers red skinned potatoes, so I use those, but you could use any sort you like. I cut them into pieces that would be about 2 bites each, boil them for 8-10 minutes to give them a head start, put them in a ceramic baking dish, put the chicken on top (seasoned with salt and pepper) and pop the dish into the preheated oven. You could serve it with a salad or any vegetable you like; we usually go with steamed asparagus or green beans or snap peas...whatever looked best the last time we shopped and is therefore in the house.
You could also dress the whole thing up and make a sauce, though its really not necessary. If you wanted to, though, sautee some onion and garlic, add some mushrooms and let it all cook for a few minutes, add a bit of oil if the pan is dry, then add a bit of flour, stir it through and deglaze with white wine, a squeeze of lemon, salt, pepper and thyme, perhaps...let it simmer until it's thickened up. You can add some chicken stock/broth if it's too strong, but we tend to like our sauces with a bit of punch so I usually don't.
One good tip is, if you can find it, get kosher chicken as it will have been salted and we find them much juicier and tastier in this preparation.
Great tip on the kosher chicken - or brine it yourself if you can't find one... You just need a container big enough to submerse either the whole chicken or chicken parts. Breasts should be easy enough. Brining solution recipes abound in cookbooks but America's Test Kitchen is my favorite cookbook resources when it comes to finding standard techniques and recipes. You can also get thighes and debone them. The thigh meat is usually more moist and fatty, so your results will be more succulent with all other things being equal.
Check out this post under "General Topics."
A couple of us listed general ingredients for lemon grass chicken, and if you don't have access to lemon grass, either fresh, frozen, or dried, don't sweat it. You can use lemon zest in a pinch and it will still come out great if you decide to go down this road. The fish sauce is strong stuff so add it sparingly as you tweek the marinade. Don't let the smell throw you if you've never used it before - it's potent smell becomes muted and translates into an extremely savory dish that hits that umami area of the palate.
I second the roast chicken idea -- it's a lot easier than some people think, and it looks impressive. Just look online for some carving instructions! I'd also chop up some potatoes and roast them in the chicken juices, and maybe make a nice tomato/corn salad (or even panzanella, great with chicken) to go along with it.
Someone who's not very adventuresome will have some predictable problems, IMHO, with lemongrass and fish sauce. So be careful about choosing your ingredients. I believe simpler will be better. The only other thing I'd caution is to make sure you leave enough time for the chicken to roast. Nothing worse (esp with picky eaters) than cutting into a very bloody chicken, which can happen with a whole roasted bird. To avoid that, you may want to consider butterflying it or halving it to roast. Roasted potatoes would be terrifically easy, but so would mashed potatoes. The bonus with the mashed spuds is that the non-adventurous will recognize and accept them much more readily. I pick up from your post that this is someone you'd like to keep cooking for ... so don't chase him off first thing!
Oven fried chicken is simple and you can adjust the seasoning for him. I don't usually use a recipe but something like this (though I soak my chicken in buttermilk first, using only thighs makes it really easy):
When chicken is baking, cut the top off a clove of garlic, drizzle olive oil on top and bake 30 mintes and make garlic mashed potatoes.
Make mashed red potatoes (boil cut potatoes about 15 minutes until you can pierce easily w/ fork). When done, drain, mashed w/ butter and warmed milk. When garlic is done, squeeze into potatoes and mash.
With chicken drippings, make a gravy. Add a salad. Really easy, basic every day food.