It’s a nasty day outside – cold, wet, grey, miserable – and I’m sitting inside in the almost-dark thinking about Thanksgiving and all the intense cooking and eating in the next few days. Most years, my sister and I go all out and make a feast, regardless of how many people we’re expecting. This year my sister can’t come home and I have a newborn, so Thanksgiving will be in the capable hands of my in-laws and I’m only a contributor. I am contributing my famous Caramelized Brussels Sprouts (easy), and a pumpkin cheesecake (easy). Which is making me think about all the incredibly easy recipes there are out there and how, even with a new baby, I should be cooking more.
Potatoes are one of the most versatile and comforting foods there is. They can be prepared in so many ways, some healthy, some not so healthy; they can be simple or supplemented with delicious additives (like ranch dressing – thanks to Hidden Valley ads during Agents of Shield on HuluPlus, I’ve been craving mashed potatoes with ranch dressing for weeks). Every time someone fixes them for me, I remember how much I love them and how I should make them more often. Potatoes last a really long time, so they aren’t one of the “emergency – eat these now” vegetables, which also makes them a good stand-by.
This “recipe” could not be easier. It’s so easy that I wouldn’t even call it a recipe – I’d call it a cooking style. (I do actually apply this general style to almost all the veggies I cook – it’s excellent for broccoli and brussels sprouts also.) Since there’s no real measuring, you can make as many or as few potatoes as you want. These potatoes make a great side dish for dinner, or a simple substitute for fancier hash browns at breakfast. And if you’re like me and you like to use your hands rather than utensils, the olive oil is great for your skin!
Easy Roasted Potatoes
- Cut up some small potatoes, however many you have or want (I had about five yukon gold here).
- Toss them in some olive oil, salt, and chopped rosemary (or whatever herb/spice you have around).
- Spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes, until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. (You should be able to stick a fork straight in with no trouble.)
- Serve hot.
I’m slowly easing my way back into this here blogging thing… And by “slowly” I mean “sometimes I get around to it”. Anyway, back in February there was this thing called the Super Bowl, or at least that’s what they told me. I have no interest in football at any point, and not a whole lot more when there’s a trophy at stake (although the Idaho Potato Bowl, which has a bowl of potatoes as a trophy, is pretty awesome), but I do like excuses to make tasty food. And what better excuse to invite people over to eat said tasty food than this once-a-year commercial party that apparently people like to watch?
This year we ended up with more people than usual, because that’s the way these things seem to be going in my life (check back for the Easter post in about two months, there’ll be more of that). I’m going to assume that’s because people like it when I cook things for them, and that it makes me a good party host, because that’s nicer than assuming that people just don’t say no. But regardless, we had lots of mouths to feed this time around, and we decided to go a bit overboard. The menu included Stuffed Baby Potatoes, Slow Cooker BBQ Cranberry Meatballs, Artichoke Spinach Dip, and Pumpkin Mocha Cupcakes (which I’ve been promising for a while). I’m actually going to give the cupcakes their own post, since they were featured on Cupcake Friday with the original recipe, and they deserve the honors of their own Cupcake Friday now that I actually made them. But the others I’ll write about here.
This is another case of a recipe I found by accident that I had to make immediately. I love sweet potatoes, and Calin generally doesn’t, so anything I can do with them that I think he might actually eat is always welcome. Also, fritters are some of my favorite things – probably just because of the word – so they’re high on my list of things to learn how to make. If I’d known before I became an addict just how fried these little buggers are, I might have tried to stay away…
It was a dinner designed around the bird.
And what a bird it was. Fresh from the farm – Free Union Grass Farm, for those in the area, and in the know – and begging to be eaten; plump and chickeny. Just begging me to break my rule and mess with a whole chicken again. (I fooled it – we cooked this one first, and then we cut it up.) This chicken grew up happily in the field next to my parents-in-law’s house, pecking for bugs and clucking in the tall grass. I watched it out there, having the time of its little poultry life. I knew it had a good run (har har har) and was ready to be The Dinner.
Calin wanted to roast a chicken. So when this one showed up on our doorstep one night (carefully in hand and definitely already dead, brought by my aforementioned parents-in-law – I don’t think I could cook a bird who flew to my house and rang the doorbell), he was raring to go. Epicurious provided the basic recipe; YouTube provided the detailed trussing instructions, and we took it from there.