Planning Life- One Week at a Time

Archive for April, 2011

A Bird in Oven

Perfect Chicken
Cooking a whole chicken to perfection is not that difficult but it can be overwhelming the first few times you are wrestling something roughly the size of a newborn out of the package and into to the pan. It’s slippery, kinda gross, and don’t forget that fun package of extras inside. The part that is easy in this recipe is I use a Dutch oven. A really big one that will hold the whole chicken and my handy digital probe thermometer. I love that thing. Set it up and walk away, it will tell me when the chicken is done instead of me having to guess. Yeah the chicken comes with a pop up timer but the last time I waited for that thing to go off I had a dry bird. Oh and you will want to take a bath in the gravy that comes out of this pot!!!

1 whole chicken, bonus pack removed, rinsed, and patted dry
1/2 Cup- White Wine (I used pinot grigio since it’s a bit dry)
1- medium onion rough chopped
4-6 – garlic cloves, peeled, smashed
2- large carrots chopped or a handful of baby carrots
4- Golden or white potatoes (something creamy rather then starchy) washed, cut into quarters, leave the skins on they are thin
1 tablespoon- Poultry Herb mix
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Large Enamelware Dutch Oven
Cutting board
Wooden Spoon (no metal on Enamelware)
Probe Thermometer
Slotted spoon
Mesh Strainer


Oven 350
1- Prep all the veggies and put them aside
2- When the chicken is dry sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
3- Heat dutch oven on the stove over medium heat, you don’t need high heat for this cooking pot. Cover the bottom with a thin layer of olive oil. Place the chicken in breast side down for 5 minutes.
4- Hold onto the pot with a potholder and insert the wooden spoon inside the chicken and flip it over. Sear another 5 minutes.
5- Remove the chicken and place it on a plate. Pour in wine and let it bubble, scrape the bottom of the pot with the wooden spoon. Add the herbs.
6- Place all the vegetables in an even layer in the bottom. Give them a stir. Place the chicken back on top.

7- Insert the probe thermometer into the breast at an angle. Be sure it is in the meat and not the cavity.

8- Lid on and into the oven until the probe reads 180. Don’t open the pot magical things are going on in there. (Mine took and hour, yup an hour for a whole chicken, I have made this dish on a weeknight)

9-Carefully lift the pot to stove, it’s heavy! Move the chicken to a cutting board, let it rest, keep the probe in place.

10- With a slotted spoon remove the potatoes, onions, and carrots into a serving bowl and cover them.

11- Place a mesh strainer over a container in the sink. Strain the liquid away from the bits of garlic and other stuff.

12- Wipe the inside of the pot with a paper towel and pour the liquid back in. Bring it to a boil.

13- In a cup mix about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with ½ cup warm water, stir it up good to make a slurry. Gently pour about half the slurry into the bubbling liquid. Stir with the wooden spoon as you do it. See how thick it gets. Add more or thin with warm water.

14- Taste the gravy, what does it need? Salt, pepper, more herbs, a little lemon? Oh it’s heaven!

15- Now the bird has rested. I peel off the skin and crave the meat away in chucks. Serve with the carrots, onions, and potatoes. A mixed salad made this a nice meal for us.

Leftovers? Chicken salad. Or even better an awesome potpie using the leftover gravy in the sauce. Coming Soon!


Stuffed Peppers

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Classic stuffed pepper recipe using ground turkey. Some tips on ground turkey. It is leaner then beef, especially if you use the all white meat kind. It is subject to drying out and needs some help, things like onions, apples, carrots can give it the need moisture. I also add an egg to most dishes I make with ground turkey. And the best tip is not to over cook it. I use a probe thermometer and cook it to 175. That is 5 degrees shy of done. The carry over cooking time will do the rest.


1 package ground turkey breast

1- egg

1/2 Cup- instant rice

1- small onion chopped

1/4 – cup parm cheese

Herbs and spices to your liking

I use poultry mix, grill rub, salt, and pepper

1- can condensed tomato soup

4- large Red Peppers with tops cut off and cleaned out (choose one that can stand)


Mixing bowl

Baking dish

Cutting board


Clean Hands

Probe Thermometer


Oven 375

1- Open the soup can and pour ¾ of it into the bottom of the baking dish

2- Cut and prep the peppers, stand them up in the baking dish, I use a round corning ware one where they touching and in very tight.

3- In a large mixing bowl mix turkey, egg, rice, onions, parm, herbs and spices, and the rest of the tomato soup together with you hands. Mix gently and don’t over mix.

4- Place filling into each pepper. Insert a probe into the filling the largest pepper.

5- Bake uncovered until the thermometer reads 150, sprinkle the tops with more parm cheese, and continue to bake until 175.

6- Let stand a few minutes before serving. Great Leftover!