Roast Chicken 

 
Some (especially Ina Garten’s husband Jeffrey) would argue that there is nothing more comforting than a roast chicken with vegetables. After smelling my house while this was in the oven, I’d have to agree with them. Sure, you can buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store but it’s just not the same, and not nearly as delicious.

So I implore you to try this simple recipe and you won’t be sorry. Feel free to make it your own, increase the quantity of ingredients to feed a larger crowd or add different veggies, slices, herbs, etc. Let’s get started!  

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ pounds small red potatoes (about 15)
  • 1 pound medium carrots (about 6)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 3 ½- to 4-pound chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme

INSTRUCTIONS 

  • Place the butter on a plate and set it aside to soften. 
  • Heat oven to 425° F (I used the convection setting and it worked beautifully) and begin preparing the vegetables. Scrub the potatoes. Peel the carrots, halve them lengthwise, and cut them crosswise into 2-inch pieces.
  • Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan or baking dish and toss with the olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. 
  • Remove the neck and the bag of giblets from inside the cavity of the chicken and discard them. (Thankfully, my chicken didn’t come with any of these but just in case…)
  • Pat the bird dry with paper towels.
  •  Prick the lemon several times with a sharp knife and place it in the chicken along with the thyme.
  •  Rub the outside of the chicken with the softened butter and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. 
  • Tie the legs together with kitchen twine or a handy reusable silicone kitchen tie like I have, found here. Place on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan. It should look like this!Like my roasting pan? It’s Rachel Ray stoneware, get your own here!
  • Put the chicken in the oven and roast until the vegetables are tender, the chicken is golden brown, and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a fork, 65 to 75 minutes. (If you use an instant-read thermometer, it should register 165° F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh.) 
  • Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.  
  • Serve & enjoy!  

Sweet Sprouts

“Brussels sprouts?! Yuck!” 

Those were my sentiments, as I’m sure most of yours as well, towards brussel sprouts as a child. Actually, to be honest, those feelings took me pretty far into adulthood as well. But as I have learned in my culinary journey, anything can be good if seasoned and prepared well. (Not saying my mother didn’t prepare them well, I’m sure her’s were delicious. I just wasn’t willing to give them a fair chance at the time because, well, they were brussel sprouts people!) 

First of all, can we just talk about the fact that they are actually called “Brussels Sprouts” and not “Brussel Sprouts”?! Who knew about that extra “s” at the end?! Not me, my friend, not me. World rocked. 

Members of the cabbage family, production of Brussels sprouts in the United States began in the 18th century, when French settlers brought them to Louisiana. Their highest producer to date is the Netherlands, where they’re probably served alongside raw herring or something different like that. Isn’t different such a nicer word than weird? Although now I’ve gone and said weird anyway, so you still know that was my initial word…I digress. 

These little cruciferous veggies help lower cholesterol, prevent cancer, and aid proper thyroid function. So basically, as usual, your mom was right; eat your vegetables! 

So, Mom, I hope you’re happy. Here’s a Brussels sprouts recipe that even kids will love, because they’re sweet, tangy, and crunchy and almost make you forget you’re eating veggie! I said almost, I’m not a magician….

  

Beauty & The Butcher’s Sweet Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or 1 tbs balsamic glaze if you have it (trader joe’s makes an excellent one)
  • 2 tsp honey

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or use a silicone baking mat.
  • In a large bowl, toss brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper to coat thoroughly.
  • Transfer the brussels sprouts to baking sheet and roast until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Don’t freak out if some of the leaves get a little burnt, those crispy bits are the best part!
  • Place brussels sprouts back in bowl. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey and toss to coat evenly. Taste and season with kosher salt if necessary and serve. Or at least try, I set mine to cool on the stovetop and most of them were gone by the time dinner was ready…

I paired them with my famous (in our house at least) turkey meatloaf and creamy goat cheese polenta! But that’s anothef post for another day… 

Kung Pao Goodness 

  This salmon dish is spicy and sweet in all the right ways, super healthy, and according to the butcher, “the best seafood dish he’s ever had”. It’s also easy to make and, gasp, I even measured out my ingredients for you this time! If you’re allergic to peanuts, leave them out. If you’re allergic to salmon, use chicken or beef. If you’re allergic to beef then well, we can’t be friends. Here’s what you’ll need… 
 2 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 heads of broccoli

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

1 lb. skinless salmon fillet, cubed

2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts roughly chopped
Now let’s get cooking!

Preheat oven to 375°. On a baking sheet, toss sweet potato chunks with 1/2 tbsp oil. Add cinnamon, season with salt and pepper, and toss again. Spread sweet potato chunks in a single layer and bake until soft, 15 to 20 minutes. In a bowl, toss broccoli with 1/2 tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper and toss again. Push sweet potato to one side of sheet and arrange broccoli on other side in a single layer; bake until tender, 10 to 15 minutes more. In a bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, chili flakes and got sauce; set aside. In a pan over high heat, heat 1 tbsp oil; cook salmon, until browned on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer salmon to a plate and set aside; add soy sauce mixture to pan and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat and return salmon to pan along with vegetables; turn gently to coat. Top with peanuts and serve. YUM! It seriously was so delicious, I will definitely be making this again soon. For two people you could definitely cut this in half, I always make extras so we have leftovers for the butcher’s lunch and this made two nice portions of leftovers. To make it even better, I recommend enjoying it on the patio with a glass of wine and the love of your life, that makes any dish fantastic.