Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made: Our times are in His hand Who saith "A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!" - From "Rabbi Ben Ezra" by Robert Browning

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chicken & Macaroni; Roast Chicken with Veggies


I found some beautiful, meaty, bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts in the freezer last night and pulled them out to defrost for today's dinner.

I decided to make Chicken and Macaroni for my dad. It's very boring to look at, but it's really delicious to eat! It's a dish that's easy on Dad's digestion, and easy on his gums. It's also one of his favorite dishes, a modification of the chicken and noodles that my family ate often while I was growing up.

When I was little, my mother often shooed me away from the kitchen while she was cooking, but once in a while I'd get to sit at the dining room table doing homework, and watch her cook, especially chicken and noodles. Just home from work, and still in heels and pearls (really), Mother would don her apron and set-to cutting up a chicken to dump in the pot. (Back then, they didn't sell chickens already cut up. You had to do it yourself! Can you imagine that?)

Mother cooked, I watched, we didn't chat. It was too distracting for Mother, who never took well to cooking. She cooked because she had to, not because she loved it. (Some day I'll tell you that story.) But I loved watching her, heels and pearls, and perfectly curled hair, and the scent of the chicken and noodles mingling with the scent of her perfume, White Shoulders.To this day, the two scents still linger together in my memory.

Now, back to those big, meaty chicken breasts!

I decided to make Roast Chicken with Veggies for John and myself. I seasoned them with a rosemary-garlic seasoning blend, and popped them into my counter-top convection oven at the grill setting for about 30 minutes. I served the breasts with mixed veggies and stir-fried broccoli.

We harvested the broccoli from our garden on Sunday, and we haven't been able to stop eating it! It is so delicious! Stir-fried in a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and butter, then seasoned with a bit of sea salt, the broccoli was the real star of the meal!

My counter-top convection oven is probably my most important kitchen tool. My first one was a gift from my mother 12 years ago. When it died in 2006, my mother surprised me with another one before I had a chance to get one myself!

When I first got the oven, I wasn't ungrateful, but I really wasn't sure what to do with this thing, so it sat on the kitchen shelf for a few months before I pulled it out, studied the booklet, and started experimenting. I realized, pretty quickly, that this wonderful machine was going to change the way I cook everything!

For many years, I have used my counter-top convection oven to cook everything! I've grilled chicken, steaks, and other meats in it; cooked cornbread, biscuits, muffins, and cakes in it; and baked potatoes and roasted vegetables in it. I've even baked pizzas in it! Meats are always juicy, moist and tender, and everything cooks fast and easy. I really can't imagine being without it at this point!

Have you got a kitchen tool that you are particularly fond of? Can't live without it? Tell me about it!

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