I have roasted chickens.  Not often.  Not well.  But I have done it.  They take for ever.  I start them too late, have to cook them longer and we eat later.  NOT a good plan.  But now I have a better way to roast a chicken.  Spatchcock it!  And with Deb’s help from Smitten Kitchen this roasted chicken came out just fine.  Perfect in fact.


What is spatchcock you say? According to Wikipedia:

The spatchcock, also known as “spattlecock”,[1] is poultry or game that has been prepared for roasting or grilling by removing the backbone, and sometimes the sternum of the bird and flattening it out before cooking

And that is why it cooks so much quicker than a regular roasted chicken – the backbone is gone and the chicken is flat so there is more surface area.  And that means more crispy skin and more flavor as well.

I’ve seen several ‘recipes’ for spatchcocking but this is the first time I have tried it.  Won’t be the last.

First you remove the backbone from about a 3 lb chicken.  Not hard. Really.  Then you generously season with salt and pepper ‘inside’ and out.  Then lay it breast up in a large skillet or pan.  Spread some chopped red potatoes and peeled sweet potatoes {Deb said small yellow potatoes but I couldn’t find any and I like roasted sweet taters, too.}

Then you simply roast the chicken (450 degrees) until the temp reaches 30 – 45 minutes until it’s 165 degrees.  It took a little longer for mine but I had a 4 lb chicken.  So good.

Thanks Deb.  Her flat roasted chicken is on  page 171 of the smitten kitchen cookbook

“I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2) Foray.


For some reason Mother Nature decided to extend our summer through December.  The temps were in the upper 70s and lower 80s.  Warm and sunny.  NOT what you would expect for the Holiday season.  When I picked this recipe for Eating with Ellie back in October I was presuming it would be cold in tim;e for this recipe. Fortunately, I was right,  But I was worried for a while.


As it turned out it turned cold just in time.  And it was good.  But then, it’s an Ellie recipe.

I don’t make chicken soup very much, especially with noodles.  Usually it is beef veggie soup.  But I can see this one being added to the rotation all winter.

Carrots, celery, escarole (or spinach) with lots of garlic, basil, pepper flakes, mixed with borken whole wheat speghetti and browned chicken.  Perfect!  Simple! Quick!

Did the others like my soup pick?  Check it out on our website – Eating with Ellie. 

Are you tired of the same ol’ same ol’ fried chicken breasts? So was I. So I tried a new recipe from Donna Hay. And I could do that because it is POTLUCK week with I heart cooking clubs. Good idea!


The chicken is crispy and the coating is similar to a tempura because of the lightness of the rice flour. It’s all good!

    3 chicken breast fillets
    2 egg whites, lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons fine rice flour
    2 red chillies, chopped {or dried red pepper seeds}
    3 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
    4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
    3 tablespoons sesame seeds
    2-3 tablespoons peanut oil
    watercress sprigs, to serve

Slice the breast in half into a thinner fillet and then cut those in half. Combine the chicken with the egg whites, chilli, coriander, lime leaves and sesame seeds in a bowl. Heat a frying pan with the oil over medium heat. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. Fry until golden and cooked through {about 3 – 5 minutes each side}. Drain on absorbent paper. Serves 4.

Dipping Sauce

    3 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon brown sugar

Mix the soy, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine.

This is the first time I have used the kaffir lime leaves because this is the first time I have actually found any. Yay me! You can taste lime when you bite into them, DOH! and then the slight bitterness of the fresh coriander. These were really good! Or they would have been if they had had just a little more flavor. I would definitely advise using just a tad of salt to bring out the other flavors.

The original recipe is on page 116 of Donna’s off the shelf and I found it on her website.

What else is for Potluck this week? Check with IHCC.

Which translates into simple, yummy, spicy chicken in lettuce cups!


Simple because you can purchase ground chicken. Simple because if you make any Asian flavored dishes you have the ingredients in your pantry.

You simply need some chillies, soy sauce, lemon juice, fish sauce, mint leaves and fresh coriander. Yep, in the pantry.

I honestly didn’t think I would like this. The fish sauce doesn’t have the best fragrance in the world. But I did. Now, I’m sorry I only made 1/2 of the recipe. Oh, and I didn’t have the lettuce leaves to serve it in so I used cabbage. A little stiff but not bad as a ‘server’.

The recipe, Kayte’s choice, is on page 124 of Donna’s off the shelf. Did the others like it as well. Check it out at the Wednesdays with Donna Hay website.

Want to join the fun? Just leave us a comment on the website and we’d be glad to add you to the ‘membership’.

Ellie gives us a simple and tasty stir-fry with this one.


The sauce is made with rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, and orange juice with some spices thrown in for good measure. It is sweet but not real sweet. Hot but not real hot. Just right. Plenty of sauce so you could serve it with rice if you wanted.

Check out the Eating with Ellie site for the other’s stir-fry. This was Gaye’s choice. Good one, Gaye!

The recipe is on page 164 of Ellie’s Weeknight Wonders. If you want to join in the fun the recipes are on the right of web site. Just cook, eat, post.

I wish you could enjoy the fragrances that were wafting through my kitchen as this simple chicken dish was cooking. It was the wine that you could detect. It is the wine that gives this dish its depth of flavor. Well, along with the Parmesan cheese and thyme.


We really liked this dish. I just wish I had had some fresh thyme rather than using ground. I didn’t discover my thyme was not ‘worthy’ until after I had put the ingredients together and got ready to cook it. The color would have been really nice. AND after looking at my pictures I wish I had browned the chicken just a tad longer. Ah, well. The potatoes, simmered in the wine and chicken broth take on the thyme flavor really nicely and the sauce is a great addition to the chicken itself. Definitely a repeat here. Thanks, Chaya, nice pick.

I am pretty sure the other’s liked this as much as we did. Check on our website – Wednesdays with Donna Hay

The Mystery Box this month for IHCC was challenging. Very Challenging. I mean:

    Seaweed Interesting!
    Sesame Seeds
    Mozzarella Cheese
    Brown Sugar

One could go with an Asian Flair.

    A Sweet Treat.
      Or a Pasta.

I took the easy way out – PASTA! But easy wasn’t really EASY!! Because then I had to actually find a recipe with at least THREE of the ingredients which is what the CHALLENGE is all about. At least three ingredients in a recipe from one of our past or present chef.

    Jacques Pepin
    Nigella Lawson
    Mark Bittman
    Giada de Laurentiis
    Jamie Oliver
    Tessa Kiros
    Rick Bayless
    Madjur Jaffrey
    Yotam Ottolenghi
    Donna Hay
    Nigel Slater
    Diana Henry

I was thinking Italian so I was thinking Giada de Laurentiis and after about an hour of cookbook and internet research found this recipe. Four Ingredients!!


    Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

I knew it would be good!!

    1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta) {I used a Whole Wheat Penne}
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
    1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
    1 cup shredded mozzarella
    1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup bread crumbs {I found some whole Wheat Panko – worked greatt.}
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan
    1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl.

Put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the chicken is completely cooked and the onions are tender.
Mix the chicken in with the pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, parsley, salt and pepper.Stir to combine.
Pour the pasta/chicken mix in a greased 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. Mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it on to the pasta mixture.
Dot the top with small bits of butter.
Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.{Original Recipe}


Okay. This was good. But not great. It needed to be more…well, more Italian. I would have liked it more if there had been more seasonings. Maybe some oregano. Even some Italian seasoning. I would also add more cheese to the dish and a little more liquid. It wasn’t real dry but it was borderline. We liked it enough to make it again but with more seasoning.

Ready for more Mystery. Check out the I Heart Cooking Clubs website and see the rest of the Challenge dishes.

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