Beer-Can Roasted Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

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Beer-Can Roasted Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes by Daniel Cedillo
Story and Photos by William Gilbert

The aromas of various spices intermingle with the powerful smell of boiling beer and seasoned, baking chicken.

The smell evokes a sense of comfort and gratification. The meal is prepared by Daniel Cedillo, a junior English Communications major who, in his spare time, loves to cook.

He says his future plan is to be a journalist.

Being a full-time college student, Cedillo also likes to find meals that are both economical and able to be made into delicious left-overs.

He learned to make his Cajun Beer-Can Chicken while researching meals to prepare when he moved to his off-campus home.

Originally from San Antonio, Cedillo graduated from Holy Cross High School before enrolling at San Antonio College and eventually transferring to St. Mary’s University.

“I kind of grew up in the whole ‘private school’ circle and the feel of everyone knowing everyone else made me comfortable. St. Mary’s feels like a family,” Cedillo says.

Presently living near downtown San Antonio, Cedillo found that the lack of a dining facility led him to his passion for cooking.

“I love to cook and this recipe combines my favorites, beer and chicken!” he says.

Cedillo enjoys cooking and likes to try many different recipes such as Italian food, barbecue, and other chicken dishes.

“My personal all-time favorite food is real, authentic Mexican enchiladas. It has to have the Mexican cheese and, like, five different chilés for the sauce,” he says.

Cedillo chose the Cajun Beer-Can Chicken because he can cook it early in the week and then make sandwiches for lunch throughout the week.

When preparing this dish, Cedillo advises to “make sure to get a fresh whole chicken, use clean garden-fresh vegetables and use a pot that will allow for the chicken to stand freely.”

He also says to cut an inch-wide slit in the chicken, where the leg and thigh meet, in order to tuck the wingtip inside.

“This helps keep the wings tucked in,” he says. Cedillo likes to pair this dish alongside brown sugar drizzled, mashed sweet potatoes with chopped walnuts and carrots that are stewed in the same pot as the chicken.

Cajun Beer-Can Roasted Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredient List


  • 1 whole chicken (Uncut)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 whole carrots
  • 10 whole cloves of garlic
  • ½ can of beer
  • ½ tsp. of salt
  • ½ tsp. of pepper
  • 1 tsp. of powdered cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. of garlic power
  • 1 tsp. of onion powder
  • 1 tsp. of Cajun seasoning
  • 4 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
  • ½ cup of chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup of butter

Recipe Directions

While preheating an oven to 410°, Cedillo says to mix all of the dry ingredients in a small bowl with the olive oil to make a “sort of paste to rub all over the chicken and under the breast skin.” Pour half of the can of beer into the pot and then place the garlic cloves along with a half-teaspoon of cayenne pepper inside the can. Stand the chicken up and place over the can until chicken stands on its own. Place the chicken and can into the pot. Cut the carrots and onion into quarters and place into the pan around the base of the chicken. Place the pot into the preheated oven and bake for ten minutes. After ten minutes, reduce the heat to 325° and cook to an internal thermometer temperature of 165°, about 60-75 minutes. While chicken is baking, Cedillo states that he “boils the sweet potatoes whole until fork tender and then I mash them with the ½ cup butter and walnuts. Then I drizzle and sprinkle brown sugar on top of the mashed potatoes.” Once the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the oven and carefully remove the can, “caution because it will be hot!” Cedillo says to “place the chicken on a cutting board to rest and then carve and enjoy.” Serve on a plate with the sweet potatoes and carrots. Makes 6-8 servings.


Salsa by Jose Lucio
Videography and Production by Isaac E Lucio

Jose Lucio, the Nighttime Supervisor of the Blume Academic Library, shares his thoughts on food and prepares Salsa.


  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1 Tomato
  • 6 Serrano Peppers
  • 1 Can of Tomato Sauce
  • 2-3 Lemons


Begin by cleaning the ingredients and preparing a space to cut them. Then, chop the half onion into small pieces and do the same with the tomato. Add both to a bowl. Then, cut the serrano peppers in half and remove the seeds before cutting the peppers into pieces and adding them to the bowl as well. Next, squeeze the lemons and pour the juice into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Finally, open the can of tomato sauce, pour it into the bowl as well, and stir well.

Baked Meatball Parmesan

Baked Meatball Parmesan by David Wilkins                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Videography and Production by William W. Gilbert

Chef David Wilkins is an Engineering major. Here, he shows us how to make Baked Parmesan Meatballs. The recipe has been passed down through his family.

Ingredient List
• 1 lb. ground beef
• ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
• ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
• 1 egg
• 1 clove garlic, minced


Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. While the oven is warming, mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Using your hands, form mix into 12- 2″ meatballs. Place in a greased, foil-lined, 15x10x1-inch pan, then, bake for 25 min. or until done (160°F).

Serving Suggestion

Try serving with your favorite hot cooked pasta and sauce, and a quick-bagged salad tossed with your favorite dressing.
Substitute 1 Tbsp. parsley flakes for the chopped fresh parsley.
Prepare using 1 pkg. (16 oz.) ground turkey.


Grey Poupon Steak with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

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Grey Poupon Steak with Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Story and Photos by Kirk Dunlap

On a lazy, Sunday afternoon in September, Gregory Valdez arrives to his fraternity brother’s kitchen with a parcel of freshly butchered steak in his hands and a smile on his face.

He considers this to be a perfect time to prepare a hearty, home-cooked meal of steak and potatoes.

As a junior double-majoring in English and Philosophy, he regards English as his favorite, “with philosophy coming in at a close second,” he says.
As an on-campus resident, Valdez jumps at a chance to cook a meal. “Cooking just isn’t something I can do every day,” says Valdez. “Cafeteria food just isn’t the same.”

Valdez feels that it isn’t about the place, but with the relationships he has made that define his experience at St. Mary’s. “I don’t feel connected to the university in terms of location,” he says. “Rather, I find that my connection with the university comes from the people who surround me here.” Valdez notes that this feeling of community comes from his close friends and his fraternity brothers.

“Sigma Phi Epsilon has given me great experiences that I know will last forever,” Valdez reveals. “Without Sigma Phi Epsilon, I would not have been able to progress this far as a person and as a student. Sigma Phi Epsilon’s cardinal principles of virtue, diligence, and brotherly love, are the values which I live by.”

What Valdez likes most about St. Mary’s is that his close network of relationships maintains his connection with others. “St. Mary’s not only keeps me on my toes with school work, but the personal size [of classes] also helps allow me to overcome the problems that are bound to arise in such a close community.”

Valdez is particular about his favorite foods. “I love to eat medium-rare steak more than anything else,” Valdez says. “But even more than steak, I like fried duck.” Pizza used to be high on his list of favorite foods, but because he has worked as a pizza delivery driver for the past two summers, pizza has lost the charm it once had.

“I still order it often though,” Valdez admits.

When first selecting a dish to prepare, he had chosen to make salmon with mango chutney, but Valdez, a spontaneous college student, had a last-minute change of heart.

“I decided that I wanted to make a meal that was much more personal to me, and thus, a lot manlier—and there’s nothing manlier than steak and potatoes.”

This particular dish is inspired by a recipe that he once saw on a cooking show. “I got the idea for this recipe from Paula Deen on the Food Network,” Greg says. “The major difference is that I pan fry the steak in butter, rather than grilling it. It is a simple, delicious, recipe that is easy to make and is beyond delicious.”

“Usually I like to use a 16 ounce ribeye steak, but I thought it would be nice to try the recipe with a 16 oz Texas t-bone, because they were on sale.”

Greg’s Grey Poupon Steak:

  • 2 16 oz steaks, 1 inch thick.
  • Grey Poupon (or Similar) Brown Dijon Mustard
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt

Garlic Mashed Potatoes:

  • 6 c Water
  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic, crushed and minced.
  • 1 1/2 sticks, butter
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste


In a medium saucepan, prepare water to boil. After washing, cut potatoes into medium-sized chunks about one inch thick, leaving on the skin. As the water begins to boil, add loosely minced garlic, salt, and pepper to boiling water. Boil the potatoes on high heat for 20-25 minutes, or until tender. When done, strain water from potatoes and return them to the pan. Add 1/2 cup of milk and butter to the potatoes then mash to medium thickness. Next, prepare steak by applying liberal amounts of Dijon mustard, rubbing it into the surface. Next, rub in about 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 clove minced garlic and a pinch of salt to each side of steak, making sure that the seasoning is rubbed evenly around the surface of the steak. Prepare the frying pan by heating 1 T butter on medium heat. Fry the steaks in butter for about 3-5 minutes per side, or until medium rare. Dish is best when hot. Makes 2 servings.


Quesadillas by Rebecca Prada
Videography and Production by Diana Garcia

Rebecca Prada is a junior, marketing major at St. Mary’s University. Rebecca learned to cook through her family and continues to do so because she has come to love it. “It is a way to relieve stress and just get away from daily life.”


  • 1 pack of uncooked tortillas
  • 1 pack of mixed Mexican cheese
  • 1 pack of cooked ham


Heat a large flat sheet pan to medium heat. Make sure the pan is hot before you place the tortillas. Let the tortillas cook for about 3 minuets on each side or until you see them puffing up. If you see the tortillas puffing up let them puff for about 30 seconds and then safely with a knife or fork pop the “pimples.” After heating them at the proper time add the cheese and place it on half of the tortilla. Let the cheese melt for about a minute and then add the ham. After adding the cheese immediately close the tortilla in half and let it melt together. Let it heat up on each side for about 20 seconds and take them of the pan to cool off.


Fideo by Nettie Lucio
Videography and Production by Stephen Guzman

Nettie Lucio is the Circulation Supervisor in the Louis J. Blume Library at St. Mary’s University. As a Latina mother of three, it is important for Lucio to pass on tradition. In this short video, Lucio describes how fideo was cooked in her home as a child and how it has been adopted by her own family today. This dish, though initially cooked for its low price and accessibility, remains, in Lucio’s words, “a family favorite.”


  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground comino
  • 2 ½ – 3 cups of water
  • 8 oz can of tomato sauce

First, place fideo noodles into skillet. Keep stirring until browned. After browning, add water and let boil for 1 minute. At this point, add salt, pepper, tomato sauce and ground comino into pan. Add more water if necessary. For 4 ½ minutes, let sit and stir until noodles are completely cooked. If preference is less soupy fideo, let sit for 1 minute longer. EAT!