How This Started and My Hope For This Experiment

My Husband and I are both big fans of Jamie Oliver. For Christmas I bought him Jamie's cookbook "Jamie's 30 Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast". As I read the preface of his cookbook I was inspired by his ideas. He felt that he was spending too much time cooking during the busy week and doing too much clean up. So he decided that for the week night meals there needed to be something quick and still healthy and yummy. He and his team did a lot of work and made the "30 Minute Meals". He has explicit directions for step by step getting the meal done in 30 min. He tells you what to do first, second, and third so that you have all dishes going at the same time, instead of making it dish by dish. Since we aren't doing once a month cooking right now I was captured by this idea and dying to start trying. I have been spending way too much time in the kitchen during the week and can't wait to be able to prepare good meals fast. My husband was all for it since he loves to eat great food and has a very particular palette. He will be making some of the meals on weekends when he isn't working because, this is after all, his cookbook :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Father's Day Dinner-recipes courtesy of Jamie

Roasted Chicken, Parsnips, Butternut Squash, and potatoes, Boiled Carrots, and Savoy Cabbage

With our cold winter weather we have been craving warm winter vegetables. Father's Day dinner was focused on several of these.  These recipes are all Jamie's recipes but they aren't from the 30 minute meals cookbook. They are from one of his TV shows (can't remember which one).

Each vegetable was seasoned and prepared a little differently to provide a unique flavor and texture. The Butternut squash was cut, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with paprika, salt & pepper.

The parsnips were parboiled with 2 whole lemons, drained, drizzled with runny honey and olive oil, and sprinkled with thyme, salt and pepper. Then grilled in the oven with the squash.  The hot lemons set aside.

This is the fantastically fresh marinade for the chicken. This was worth making again-very good! In case you are dying to try it here are the very simple instructions: In a pestle and mortar put a whole bulb of garlic( peal on) take several large stalks of rosemary and dip them in of one of the pots of boiling veggies for a few seconds and add the leaves to the garlic. Pour in a few lugs of olive oil, add the peal of a lemon, and season with salt & pepper.
Pound together to get the garlic mashed up and the spices to blend well into the oil. After it is all pounded up Stuff your chicken with one or two of the boiled lemons(depending on how big your bird is) and a few sprigs of rosemary that have also been dipped in boiling water.  Cook the Bird for 30 min then add the potatoes (parboiled) and rub them around in the marinade in the bottom of your chicken pan and cook the two together for another hour.

The other roasted vegetables will probably not take more than 30 -35 min. so add them into the oven at the end.

Here are the finished parsnips. I used a Manuka honey because it has a strong flavor and I thought that would help the parsnips taste a little better. They are not one of my favorite vegetables.  The actually tasted really good with the strong honey and I would definitely recommend using a strong honey if you make these. My family isn't used to eating parsnips and I think it will take a lot of repetition to get us fully used to their taste but this was a fantastic recipe to help introduce them to my children.  They liked them but didn't want to eat too much of them.

The chicken was so juicy and tender and according to Jamie cooking the bird with a hot lemon inside helps not only flavor the meat but it also helps cook it from the inside as well as the outside giving you a shorter cooking time.

The potatoes were covered in the marinade as well and they were really crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Because they were parboiled they didn't take long to cook and they cooked very evenly and crisped up beautifully.  They were definitely the star of the show to me although the boys all seemed to like the chicken best.

The greens you see on the plate were fantastic.  I was really surprised since they are also something that I don't usually care for. I made sure to keep them quite crisp since three of us really hate completely wilted greens of any kind. Jamie doesn't cook them long though so I think they are meant to be crisp.  To make these you heat a large pan and cut up a savoy cabbage really finely. When the pan is hot add a little olive oil and heat that. Add the cabbage and 10TBS of Worcestershire sauce and a bit of salt. Only cook for 4 min and take off the heat. 

The carrots were boiled with 2 TBS of sugar, cumin seeds, butter and salt.  Boiling in the sugar and spices gives them a really nice flavor you can't get if you just sprinkle them on top afterwards. The last but not least part of the meal is the gravy.  Take the juices from the bottom of the pan with the chicken and make a roux by adding some flour.  If needed (and it probably will be) add a little water and stir as it thickens into a very tasty and easy gravy. 
This meal was fantastic. It was like eating a big Thanksgiving dinner that was healthy.  My favorite thing about the meal was that it was built around making the vegetables exciting and not just the meat.  A great way to introduce new winter vegetables to your family if you don't normally eat butternut squash, parsnips or savoy cabbage.  My family gave the meal an 8.5 or 9. The potatoes, chicken, cabbage and carrots were loved by everyone. My kids were however a little skeptical of the squash and parsnips.  They liked them but not enough to eat seconds and they didn't want them as leftovers the next day.  

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