Over the years, I have found that food preparation and menu planning is consistently one of the most stressful areas of household management for me. Here’s why:
- My husband is a picky eater.
- We have two children in the teen/tween age ranges, and they are naturally picky as well.
- In the last year, my mother has come to live with us, adding yet another set of preferences.
- For the last several years, I have been completely unable to have any dairy products. Even the addition of a tiny amount of whey in a food can make me sick for days.
- My husband and son are allergic to pineapple (my husband very seriously so, like Epipen serious) and have minor allergies to other foods such as tomatoes and peanuts.
- My mother has several special dietary needs as well.
In June after a trip to the doctor with both children for a random range of issues that we needed to deal with including several odd skin rash like issues, the doctor told me that I needed to get the children gluten and dairy free. I just about cried and insisted that we get a blood test and after looking went back and ordered the same test for myself. That backfired; we now have scientific proof that I and my daughter need to be gluten-free. While we did not test positive for Celiac’s disease, we both came back with the results that show we are intolerant to gluten and it could be causing serious long-term internal damage. At that time we did not test my son but decided after summer Boy Scout camp that he would go on the same diet. So on top of the already complex food requirements we ended up throwing two radical diet changes into the mix.
I am not doing too bad at the change over all and both children and myself feel so much better. I am amazed at all of the little lingering issues that cleared up with all of us, including all of the issues for the children that we went to see the doctor with originally. However, meal selection has become an issue. At first my menus were basic and boring. Everyone very quickly got tired of tacos (with dairy-free seasoning mix) and chicken with rice du jour.
Knowing that this was an issue Devin has been doing his best to help out. He recently got the chance to review an e-book copy of Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter (O’Reilly Media). As part of his review process, he agreed to try a recipe in there and the one that stuck in his head was butterflied roast chicken. I was very interested in this and decided to go a head and try it when whole chickens went on sale last week. I bought 2 chickens and proceeded to butterfly them – and took photos for your amusement!
Our son and his friend (who was over at the time) were really impressed with the removal of the chicken guts and insisted that a picture of the insides be taken. My son and his best friend thought it was a very interesting and odd process.
Kind of disgusting but was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. I did not realize my kitchen shears would ever be so useful. The sound of the spine cracking was audible and the boys thought it was neat.
After trimming off excess fat and other stuff I had to break the “keel” bone to help the chicken lay flat. This helps the chicken cook more evenly. I decided to cook these chickens on a bed of onions for added flavor.
The boys thought it was really odd when I rubbed oil onto the chickens and then put rosemary and salt and pepper. Upon following the recipe it was said to broil the chickens skin side up to get a nice crispy skin and then flip the chickens and finish roasting them at 350. I did so and forgot to get a photo of the chickens before I flipped them. They turned out great and the were able to be cut up really easily.
I served it with a brown and wild rice mixture. I’m not sure how it happened but I have finally managed to convince my family that there are other edible rice varieties than white rice!
The chicken was a hit with everyone, even though it was technically another chicken with rice dish. The chicken was tender and juicy. Even Devin ate some and liked it!
I have told Devin that I need a copy of Cooking for Geeks in printed format as the e-book is not convenient in my kitchen for casual reading. I still prefer to have a book I can carry around rather than a book on the computer.