“There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.” —  so said Thomas Wolfe

… who has obviously never seen me cook or he would eat those words. It’s not pretty. In fact, this real food blogger is what the trendy call a noncook (hence “noncook recipes”)! Not intuitive, not what you’d call “handy” around a kitchen. How some people cook without a recipe and exact measuring devices has always been a complete mystery.

I’d like to cook. I think about cooking a lot. (Ok, I think about eating a lot. Same thing… almost.) When we had TV, I watched cooking shows for hours and would jot down names of recipes to look up later. Which I never did because, deep down, I knew it would never taste like Emeril made it. So why bother?

Fortunately, being a noncook has never been a problem because my husband cooks and cooks GOOD! He can walk into an empty pantry and come up with a delicious meal 30 minutes later. My friends are all impressed at my good fortune. This family has eaten fabulously for 22 years.

Make that 21. A little over a year ago, Hal stopped cooking. Nobody knows what happened, but he pretty much stopped going in the kitchen. He stopped eating, too. He lost almost 20 pounds in six months. I was terrified: I thought he had cancer. It was hell… I kept imagining his funeral and what I would wear and what I would say…

Yes, it’s all about me. You knew that, right?

He’s fine, by the way. His weight has been stable for almost a year, he’s perfectly fine in every other way. Just skinny. And not cooking. Did I mention that?

Unfortunately, just because Hal stopped wanting to cook did not mean we stopped wanting to eat. Even if he was dying of cancer, we sorta expected good food anyway. What can I say, we are spoiled. And, uh oh, if Hal’s not going to cook, then who will? Yeah. Me. This was a disturbing thought to all of us.

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” — Julia Child

Ok, this is very good information! In fact, this weekend I produced my best uncomplicated masterpiece meal ever! It was so good, we ate it for 3 days: once as roasted chicken and two more days as soup.

What drove me to the kitchen? I was starving for something delicious. A meal with more than one flavor, more than one texture. I cooked in desperation. This is how all change comes about, isn’t it: desperation. So here’s the…

Noncook Recipe: Simple-y Amazing Roasted Chicken

1 Pastured non-GMO-fed broiler (this one was about 5lb)
2-3 T. organic coconut oil
Salt and pepper
2 apples
2 potatoes
1 onion
5 cloves crushed organic garlic
1 large raw egg (chicken or duck, pastured, non-GMO feed)
2-3 T. ghee

Chop the onion. Thinly slice the apples and potatoes (I used the Cuisinart.) Put in a bowl with the crushed garlic and the egg, salt and pepper, mix well. Set aside.

Pat the broiler dry and rub with the coconut oil all over. Salt and pepper the skin as much or as little as you like.

Lightly pack the inside of the broiler with the apple/potato mix. Spread the rest around the bottom of the roasting pan and set the chicken on top.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes a pound or until your meat thermometer goes to “poultry” — this one took almost two hours.

Halfway through the cooking, I flipped the bird over so the skin would get crispy. I also added the ghee to the bottom because the apple/potato mix looked a little dry.

Next time, I’m going to use apple or potato halves and set the chicken on those so it’s off the bottom of the pan. (Or you could go conventional and use a roasting rack.) Because, when I flipped the chicken over during the cooking, the skin that was touching the bottom of the pan stayed on the bottom of the pan. Still good but not crispy. 🙁

The chicken was delicious, moist, crispy skin (mostly). And the “stuffing” was really nice: the apples were sweet, the potatoes starchy, everything kinda buttery and fatty, and the seasonings not so strong they overtook the dish.

Of course, you real cooks can dress up this basic recipe with all kinds of good seasonings… rosemary? Sage? What would you add?

Simple-y Amazing Roasted Chicken Soup

The gift that keeps on giving: Simple-y Amazing Roasted Chicken the next day! I picked the chicken clean and scraped everything from the roasting dish into a deep-dish saucepan, added some broth, a bunch of chopped broccoli and cauliflower and cooked just until the new veggies were al dente. That was some GREAT soup!

The next day, al dente was over but still so so SO good. There’s a little tiny bit left today… thinking about Vitamixing it as a base for a new soup…

The bones were saved in the freezer for making future broth. Very little goes to waste around here anymore!

All our chicken these days is grass-fed — it’s rare we eat any grocery store chicken. Grass-fed meats can sometimes be a little dry but not this one! Oh my goodness, this was the most delicious grass-fed bird we’ve had — coincidentally, this is the first we’ve had that is all non-GMO feed, too. (They are $4.50/pound. Don’t gasp. As Joel Salatin says: “Have you priced cancer lately?”) This bird was worth every penny. Thank you, Will!

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