The Tastiest Chicken in the East

Posted: February 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

by Rick Gualtieri

I love chicken almost as much as writing. Roast Chicken is like a mini-holiday…minus the annoying relatives. However, nobody wants to be served chicken that tastes like it’s been mummified in the Sahara. Not even gravy can save fleshy cardboard.

My recipe’s priority (besides not killing you from Salmonella) is a moist, delicious bird with minimal effort. It’ll provide an excellent chicken, gravy, and a side dish.


  • One chicken (duh!)
  • Vegetables
  • Spices
  • One can of store gravy


  • A deep baking pan, larger than the chicken
  • A gravy pot
  • TurkeyBaster
  • Meat thermometer

Cooking time: 350 degrees, ~approx 3+1/2 hours

Prep time: About 1/2 hour.

Step 1: Rub it on, baby!

You’re going to make a dry rub. This will keep moisture trapped inside and awesomely season it.

Here’s what’s I use: Unless otherwise specified, ~2 tablespoons each:

  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin
  • Black Pepper
  • Mustard Powder (1 tablespoon)
  • Chili Powder
  • A large pinch of Salt (1/2 tablespoon, overly salty chicken is nasty)

Make enough to cover the chicken. Leftover rub can be used to season the gravy and vegetables.

Step 2: Veggie time

Fill the baking pan with vegetables of your choice, leaving enough room in the middle for your chicken.

Some suggestions:

  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Celery
  • Asparagus
  • Potatoes

Lightly season them with the leftover rub from your chicken. These will serve as our ready made side-dish.

Step 3: Stickin that chicken

Let’s get “intimate” with our chicken…no not THAT way, you perv!  Jeez, some of you people are weird.

Unwrap your defrosted chicken.  Remove the neck and giblets from inside of it. Open these and put them into your gravy pot.

Now it’s time to rub your chicken.

You don’t need a thick coating, but it should be even and cover the whole bird. Pour rub on the chicken and spread it around with your hands.

You may notice in my picture that the legs are rub-free. That’s because my children are weird and refuse to eat anything “spicy”. As long as you don’t have oddball offspring, cover all parts of the chicken.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 4: Gravy and beyond…

Get a jar of store gravy. The cheap crap is fine. It doesn’t even need to be chicken gravy. Why? Because store gravies ALL taste the same…i.e. fairly nasty by themselves.

Don’t tell me you’re one of those people who will just heat up a can of gravy and serve it as is. What is wrong with you!? That’s it!  Begone!  Begone from my sight!

Now that we’ve gotten rid of them, we can continue. Store gravy by itself isn’t well…gravy. It is, however, an excellent base to make some badass gravy.

Pour half the jar inside the chicken. Yes, I said inside of it. See that big hole in your bird? Fill it with gravy. You’re cooking it inside of the chicken. This will keep the insides moist and will also absorb the flavor of your chicken.

Put the chicken into the oven to cook.

Take the rest of the gravy and pour it into your sauce pot.

   Step 5: Cooking, not cremating

Set a timer and let the chicken cook for an hour.

   After that, grab your turkey baster. Siphon up any liquid. Use it to baste the chicken and vegetables. After another            hour, repeat this step.

   By then your chicken should be turning a nice golden color and smelling heavenly.

Step 6: Stick a fork in it, literally.  It’s done!

After two and a half hours, check it every twenty minutes. Overcooked chicken will still be dry. This is a recipe, not a miracle!

Use your thermometer. Forget what you learned growing up, a temperature of 180 or higher will result in dry chicken. 165 is considered safe. 170 is your cutoff, don’t let the chicken go beyond. Trust me!  I’m not trying to poison you here.  I’ll save that for a future post (kidding!).

Your chicken and veggies are now finished. Don’t believe me? Grab a carrot from the pan (yes it will be hot). Eat it!  Damn good wasn’t it?

Add any excess liquid from your pan to the gravy pot.

Turn the stove to medium heat and bring your gravy to a boil. If you have rub left over, use that as seasoning. Boil it down to a…well…gravy-like consistency, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn.

You should wind up with gravy that’s flavorful and non-oily.

You now have a cooked chicken, a wonderful side dish, and awesome gravy to go with it. Why are you still reading this!? Go and eat!

Good luck to you!  May moist chicken bless your future endeavors.


Rick Gualtieri is the author of four books. The PopTart Manifesto is a humorous collection of short stories. Bill The Vampire and Scary Dead Things are horror comedies. His upcoming novel, Bigfoot Hunters is a horror adventure that will be released in February 2012.

You can visit Rick on the web at his blog:

or at Amazon at:


Cold Porcelain: A Hot Affair

Posted: January 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

by Monica La Porta

Modeling with homemade dough has been one of my favorite hobbies for the last twenty years. I started with salt dough and ended up finding my true love with the haughty-sounding cold porcelain, which is such just in name.

A concoction of cornstarch flour and glue, cold porcelain is the perfect homemade dough: it is cheap to make, it dries completely when exposed to the air, and it is durable. I have pieces made more than ten years ago that are still perfect.

Playing with a fresh batch of translucent-white cold porcelain is my personal anti-stress therapy. Imagine after having a bad day to get hold of an amorphous lump of pure possibilities and let your mind wander. I have created hundreds of flower petals this way, rolling a drop of dough between thumb and index, flattening the edges until they take a definite shape while letting the daily sorrows fade away.

Sometimes the end result is a rose, others a mum or a lily. And once they are dry, one day or two later, I look at them and wonder what shade of pink, orange, red, or yellow I’m going to use to give them life.

And when I’m done playing with my little creations, I feel everything is just fine.

About me:

Born and raised in Italy, I moved to Washington State twelve years ago where I found the perfect weather for writing. Despite several obstacles in its path, The Priest, first installment of the Ginecean Chronicles, is soon to be published.

About cold porcelain:

Modeling with cold porcelain is so much fun that I had to share my recipe with the rest of the world. If you are interested, here  is where you can find it.

A queen in her own mind


Three times this past week, I have been in situations where someone has said, fawning and delighted, “I’ve never met an author before.”  I never know what to say to that – especially when it’s someone I’ve known for years who has just found out about my books. I’m still me; there is no magic key that allows me special entrance anywhere or rock star parking.  I chuckle, because if anything, I have become more aware of just how average I really am.  Case in point, if you happen to work at Target, or you know someone who works at Target or you have a chance to go to their next Christmas party, then you just may see me on the annual montage of Stupid Customers.

 My oldest is getting married.  I have been searching high and low for a Mother of the Groom dress with painful results.  I’ve been all over Chicago, traipsed through every dress shop between Sterling and Monroe, WI and I almost even purchased a dress in Monroe, but got cold feet when  it came time to order.  “Is there a problem?” the very patient clerk inquired and I broke into tears, “It’s just too fluffy for me,” I sobbed and walked out of the shop feeling morose.  So, it was a last attempt moment when I discovered, right in my own yard, that Don Galani has exactly what I was looking for.  I had thought they were just a prom and pageant dress shop, but it turns out that they have a very elegant Special Occasion line.  Ok, commercial over.

I waited a full week after my initial visit to ponder the dress and then decided it was time.  But first, I needed a new set of Spanks.

I figured if I was going to be making this rather pricey purchase, I wanted to feel good doing it.  So, I went to the gym, showered, DID MY HAIR, PUT ON MAKE-UP (I call that my game face) and donned a cute red sweater tunic with black leggings and even cuter boots.  Then, I skipped my cute little self to the Spanks store and bought a shiny, new set of Spanks and put them on in the store.  I redressed, admired my compacted shape in the mirror and left, skipping my cute, little, newly compacted self to Target to pick up a few items before heading to (cue the singing angels) DON GALANI.

I was pushing the cart around the Target, looking for odds and ends when I noticed it was getting harder to walk. But, I looked so cute, I disregarded the friction at my knees and headed to the front of the store to check out.  Did I mention that Spanks are slippery?  Yeah, so I’m standing in the front aisle, the grand aisle in Target and I aim my cart for the shortest line, take a step and trip, forcing my cart forward into the person ahead of me.  As I balance myself on the cart, the person in front of me, turns to glare.  I followed her eyes as she looked me up and down in great disgust.  And there it was, the cause of my walking friction, the reason I tripped, and the impetus for what happened next.  Clearly, the shiny, slippery spanks which hold me in so nicely had no grip on my leggings and they had slowly descended to my ankles as I sashayed around the store, wrapped and caught in the buckles of my cute boots and caused my momentary trip into the person in front of me, who stood horrified and speechless.  I looked at the black leggings bunched up around my boots and did the only thing I could do in that moment.  I reached down, grabbed the waistband and pulled those suckers all the way back up, lifting the tunic in the process and exposing about everything underneath.  Oddly, no one but the lady in front of me even seemed to notice this whole scene had occurred, but I know better.  I worked retail, I know where the cameras are located.  And sure enough, located right behind me was a Target camera.  What else could I do?  I turned around and waved.

 I wonder if stuff like that happens to Patricia Cornwell? As for the dress, I ordered it.  But, I will NOT be wearing panty hose at the wedding, it’s too dangerous.

♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠

Coltman is the author of two books.  Is It Just Me? or Is Everyone a Little Nuts! is a humor book based on her blog.  Her most recent book, In The Name Of The Father, is a suspense/thriller that reviewers have called a true page-turner.  Both books are available through amazon and Coltman’s own website.

Link  —  Posted: January 21, 2012 in Uncategorized
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