Sunday Baked Chicken Supper

Sunday Roast Chicken - served

Hearty, delicious and homey – Sunday Baked Chicken Supper

When I was a child, nearly every Sunday, my Grandma made a baked chicken. It just wasn’t Sunday without those delicious smells coming from the kitchen and that pageantry of presenting that big meal. As an adult, Sundays felt a little incomplete, or not really official, if I didn’t make a baked chicken. With four children, the craziness of the weekend and just inadequate planning on my part (you do have to plan for making a baked chicken), that tradition fell by the wayside. But on a chilly weekend recently, I just had a hankering and had to make a nice chicken dinner for the family. Drawing on a variety of recipes and methods I’ve collected over the years, I came up with an easy, straightforward recipe I think you’ll love.

Sunday Roast Chicken - herbs and garlic

Herbs, garlic cloves and some lemon, inside the cavity of the chicken, will lend flavor as it bakes.

Sunday Baked Chicken Supper
Serves 6 or 4 with leftovers

Ingredients:
1 5-7 pound chicken, whole
1 onion, sliced
The cloves of one head of garlic, peeled
Roasting veggies of your choice including potatoes, carrots, beats, turnips, parsnips, celery cut into big chunks
Fresh herbs of choice but thyme and rosemary were used in this recipe
1/2 a lemon, cut in half
1 TBS butter, melted
Olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1-2 TBS flour
Salt & Pepper

Sunday Roast Chicken - raw veggies

We used turnips, beats, carrots, onion and garlic here. But you could use other root veggies of your choice like potatoes, parsnips and rutabagas. See below for why I did not cook the vegetables in the same pan as the chicken (besides space).

Method:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

1. Make sure you’ve taken out the bag of gizzards and whatnot (I call it the “bag of yuck”) from inside the chicken. Not every chicken comes this way but I didn’t check once and accidentally baked the bag right in. Don’t make that mistake!

2. Place 1/2 of the sliced onion on the bottom of your roasting pan to create a bit of a bed for the chicken. Place the other 1/2 of the onion in a separate roasting pan that will hold the vegetables (more on that in a moment).

3. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Place the fresh herbs and lemon pieces inside the bird. Brush the melted butter over the chicken, then salt and pepper the bird.

4. Place your veggies of choice in the second roasting pan. I keep the veggies separate from the chicken so that they don’t come in contact with the juices of the chicken. While the chicken and the vegetables can definitely benefit from the flavor the other yields, I like to make extra vegetables and then use them with other dishes later in the week. Because they didn’t touch the chicken, they have a longer “shelf-life” and will also go better with other dishes, like beef or pork. The only time I absolutely cook chicken and veggies together is in my Go-To One Pot Chicken and Peppers recipe  which you’ve got to try on a busy night!

5. Drizzle a little olive oil over the veggies and toss them around.

6. Put both pans in the oven, side-by-side, and put on the timer for 45 minutes. At that point, switch the pans around so they are on the other side and rotated to ensure even baking. Stick a fork in the veggies to see if they are done. If so, remove them at this point. If they are not, stir them around and put a lid, or aluminum foil over them to prevent them from drying out and to create a little steaming to hurry along the baking.

7. Depending on the size of the chicken, it will need another 45 minutes, for a total of 1 1/2 hours (maybe more). A meat thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the thigh should read 165 degrees when it is done.

8. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let it sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gravy.

9. Pour the drippings into a small pot and add the chicken broth. Add some herbs like dried basil, rosemary and thyme plus salt and pepper to taste. Make a slurry of the flour and a little cold water in a small bowl and whisk it in to the gravy, boiling the mixture until it thickens a little. Making the gravy is totally optional!

10. Slice the chicken and serve it with the roasted veggies and a drizzle of gravy if desired.

Enjoy!

 

Sunday Roast Chicken - roast chicken

Mmmm, golden brown! You can’t believe how delicious the house smells! Well, you’ll see when you make it!

Sunday Roast Chicken - roasted veggies

Roasting brings out entirely different flavors of vegetables. Onion and garlic tie all of the flavors together.

Going Free-Form with a Fruit Galette

I don’t do double crust pies well. I just can’t get them to look nice around the edges, despite trying all the tricks. Then I thought of doing a Galette, a more free-form pie that has a “rustic” look. (I love the word “rustic” because it’s my excuse to be really imperfect and still sound like it was on purpose!) Pies, galettes and cobblers are a great way to use up fruit that has seen better days. When I made this galette, I had some rhubarb, blueberries and peaches. But you can use any fruit that you think would go well together including frozen fruit that has been defrosted and drained of extra liquid.

Ingredients:

Galette

Mix all of the ingredients of your filling together in a large bowl.

1 thawed pie crust

2 cups worth of diced fruit of choice

1 TBS Brown sugar (can add more)

1 TBS corn starch

Pinch of salt

1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk

1 TBS sanding or turbinado sugar

Directions:

Heat oven to temperature recommended on pie crust packaging.

Lay out the pie crust on a non-stick (like Silpat) liner on a baking sheet.

Mix the fruit, sugar, corn starch and salt together in a large bowl.

Spoon fruit mixture in the center, leaving about an inch and a half all around the edge.

Fold in sections of the outer edge of the crust you just left exposed, turning the galette as you go. There will be a large section of fruit filling showing.

Brush the crust you have now folded up with the egg wash.

Sprinkle the crust with the sanding or turbinado sugar. This isn’t just to sweeten it a bit, it’s to leave a crystalline effect that is very pretty.

Bake according to instructions.

Allow to cool 15 minutes or more. Cut into wedges, like a pie, to serve. It would be good served a la mode or with a dollop of whipped cream.

Galette

Leave a generous edge all around to fold in.

I’d love to show you a picture of the finished product, fresh out of the oven. It was lovely and golden brown. However we had company over and they all descended and topped their slices with vanilla ice cream before I could get a shot. I guess I’ll consider that a compliment!

galette-with-sugar-sprinkle

Pretty, huh? You should have seen it baked! Without letting it cool a bit, and while my back was turned, the family descended. The aftermath was a plate of crumbs and some happy tummies. 

Autumn Muffins

One of our most popular recipes in this blog, and in my house, is for Harvest Pumpkin and Chocolate Muffins.  We make them every year around this time. And, when my kids were little, I’d stock up on cans of pumpkin in the fall so that I could make these muffins when it was my turn to bring snack to school or for a soccer game. This year, I’m proud to say one of my daughters came up with a variation on my muffins that is delicious and very pretty! They’d be wonderful to make for holiday brunches or to give as gifts.

My daughter used my recipe but instead of putting the full 1 cup of chocolate chips, she used 1/2 cup chips and 1/2 cup fresh, chopped cranberries. She also recommended throwing in 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.

You could also experiment with an orange glaze on top, made of powdered sugar with some orange juice. If you do this, apply it immediately after taking the muffins out of the oven, while they are still in the muffin tin so that the glaze melts and seeps into the fresh muffins.Orange goes great with both chocolate and cranberries but if you prefer one over the other with an orange glaze, just stick to 1 cup of either chocolate chips or cranberries. Mmmm, that would smell so good!

autumn-muffins

An Easier Thanksgiving (or any holiday meal)

After more than a decade of being the maker of the Thanksgiving feast, I MP900386628finally figured some things out this year that made life a lot easier!  I’m calling them my Thanksgiving Lessons Learned. These tips can be helpful for any holiday or party preparation.

  1. Know exactly what you’re making and have the timing and oven and stove top usage planned and also the pots and pans you’ll be using. You want them clean, located and ready to go when you need them.
  2. Before you start cooking, get out everything you need. I used a cooking class tip of putting everything except the turkey (but including all herbs and spices) on a cookie sheet, like a cooking “kit,” the kitchen pros call this mise en place.
  3. I made sure the salt and pepper shakers used for cooking were filled, the oven-mitts were by the stove, trivets on the counter for when I took things out of the oven and I even made sure I filled the hand soap container at the sink. I didn’t want to have to search for, or refill anything on the fly!
  4. While the turkey roasted, I got out the serving dishes and utensils I wanted to use and even wrote what was to go in each with a sticky note. With people helping you (as they should), it’s easier to say “hand me the dish that says ‘cranberries'” than to say “that one, with the little flowers and the do-hickey on it.”
  5. I broke with tradition and didn’t make mashed potatoes. With all the peeling, cubing, boiling, draining, mashing, etc., they can be a real pain only to get cold almost immediately! Instead, I combined a variety of vegetables and placed them ALL on a lined baking sheet, drizzled olive oil, salt and pepper over everything and roasted them at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes while the turkey sat after its roasting time. The veggies stayed hot throughout the meal, were a whole lot healthier than butter-and-cream-laden mashed potatoes and have been great for leftovers. Doing all of the vegetables this way, on ONE pan at the SAME time was a huge time- and stress-saver.

    On the right, I roasted halved baby potatoes, Brussels sprouts, garlic cloves and a little bacon, mixed with olive oil, salt and pepper. On the left, I sliced and seeded an acorn squash, dressed it the same way but sprinkled a little brown sugar mixed with some cardamom in the last few minutes. I did this all on one baking sheet, at 375 degrees, for about 20 minutes (turning everything over twice) while the turkey rested and the gravy was being made. Next year, I'll also add baby carrots for additional color and flavor. See? Another lesson learned!

    On the right, I roasted halved baby potatoes, Brussels sprouts, garlic cloves and a little bacon, mixed with olive oil, salt and pepper. On the left, I sliced and seeded an acorn squash, dressed it the same way but sprinkled a little brown sugar mixed with some cardamom in the last few minutes. I did this all on one baking sheet, at 375 degrees, for about 20 minutes (turning everything over twice) while the turkey rested and the gravy was being made. Next year, I’ll also add baby carrots for additional color and flavor. See? Another lesson learned!

  6. For the turkey, I mixed softened butter with salt, pepper and snipped rosemary needles and spread half the butter under the breast skin, placing a couple of sage leaves under the skin on each breast for flavor and looks. I then spread the rest of the butter mixture on the outside of the bird.
  7. To roast the bird, I played off of a lucky mistake I’d made the year before. After placing the bird on a rack and pouring about 1 cup of water in the pan, instead of making a loose, aluminum foil tent over the bird, I covered it completely, wrapping the ends of the foil over the edges of the roasting pan. I cooked it this way, basically steaming it, for the first half of the time suggested on the wrapping (for my 14.5 lb. bird, I was supposed to roast it for 4 hours). Then I completely uncovered the bird for the remainder of the time. THIS CUTS 1 HOUR OFF THE RECOMMENDED COOKING TIME (mine was done in 3 hours instead of 4)! And it makes for a moist, flavorful, beautifully-browned turkey that practically falls off the bone. To know it was done, I relied on the pop-out needle that came with the turkey but I also checked the internal temperature at the thigh with a reliable thermometer. I could hardly believe it cut the time down so much but it did!
  8. In addition to making a bread stuffing (my husband would have rebelled had I not), I also made a unique rice stuffing my Grandmother used to make with her roast chicken for Sunday suppers. See that recipe below.

This year’s Thanksgiving meal was quicker, easier and better than any I’ve made before. With some planning but also some variations on the usual, I wasn’t exhausted, overheated or cranky by the time we were ready to serve. That’s something to be thankful for!

Easy and Exotic Rice Dressing

2 cups rice
4 cups water (or low sodium chicken stock)
2 bouillion cubes if not using chicken stock
1/4 cup pinion nuts
1 TBS butter
Approximately 1 tsp. Cinnamon
Approximately 1/2 tsp. Allspice

Melt the butter over medium heat, swirling the pan around so the butter spreads out. Brown the pinion nuts in the butter until they are golden and toasty but watch them because they go from perfect to burned in a split second!.

Quickly pour in the rice and stir the grains and pinion nuts around to get the nuts off the bottom of the pan and to also spread the butter around on the rice.

Add the bouillion or water and spices and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn the heat down to low, cover the pan and let it sit about 20 minutes until the water is absorbed.

Taste the rice to see if you want to add more cinnamon and/or allspice. Neither should be the predominant flavor but they should enhance the rice and add a slightly exotic but homey flavor. Even though the rice is cooked, you can still add the spices but make sure you distribute them throughout the rice before serving.

 

Cooking Tasks for Kids on Thanksgiving

During the hustle and bustle of preparing the Thanksgiving meal, letting the kids in the kitchen to “help” may be the last thing you want to do. But if you plan ahead and select age-appropriate tasks, helping in the kitchen can mean a feast of benefits. Besides learning cooking skills, including math and fine motor skills, engaging kids in the kitchen, especially during the holidays, is a chance to include your child in multigenerational fun and make them a part of the festivities.

FoodNetwork.com shared with us a great, age-appropriate guide to things the kids can do that will really help out with the Thanksgiving meal. Just think of the pride they’ll feel as everyone ooo’s and ahhh’s over their tasty work. Just don’t let the learning opportunities end with Thanksgiving Day. Find ways to encourage their culinary interests throughout the year.

Click HERE for age-level suggestions for how the kids can help.

Foodnetwork.com

Smashing and mashing potatoes for Thanksgiving is an ideal task for 3-5 year-olds. Read FoodNetwork.com’s other tips for age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen. Photo courtesy FoodNetwork.com.

As a bonus, here’s a tasty-sounding recipe for Apple Pie With Cheddar Cheese Crust from the “How To Get  The Kids Involved” gallery.

 

FoodNetwork.com

The best of two worlds, in one dessert that kids ages 8-10 can help make. It’s Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust. Photo courtesy FoodNetwork.com

 

 

 

No Fooling! 3 Thanksgiving Side Dishes in One

Every April Fool’s, there are always a bunch of recipes meant to trick people into thinking what looks like dessert is really an entree. Take, for instance, a thick slab of meatloaf, topped with mashed potatoes meant to look like a brownie with whipped cream. Or the hamburger that’s really a cake. Funny stuff! That was the first thing I thought when I saw this clever recipe. It’s totally practical and quite impressive as a way to serve three side dishes together. But it’s also a hoot because it looks like a cake, with frosting and a pretty glaze. Involve the kids in making this dish. They’ll have fun freaking out Aunt Mary!

FoodNetwork.com has some great Thanksgiving recipes and tips. Check out the recipe below for Stuffing in a Bundt Pan! Watch the video for a hunger-inducing tutorial.

Prep Time:45 min               Cook Time:30 min

Stuffing in a Bundt Pan from FoodNetwork.com.

Stuffing in a Bundt Pan from FoodNetwork.com.

Level: Easy                           Serves: 8 to 12 servings

Ingredients
Stuffing:
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups minced yellow onion
1 cup minced carrots
1 cup minced celery
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds loose sausage
Three 6-ounce boxes stove top stuffing
Chicken stock, as needed per stuffing directions
Cooking spray
3 eggs, lightly beaten with salt and pepper

Creamy Mashed Potatoes:
4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
Kosher salt
3 cups heavy cream, heated
Freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons butter

Cranberry Sauce:
One 8-ounce frozen package cranberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 orange, zested and juiced
Kosher salt
Fried onions, for garnish
Chopped chives, for garnish
Prepared gravy, for serving

Directions
For the stuffing: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add the butter to a large saute pan and allow to melt over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions, carrots and celery. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Allow the vegetables to saute until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sausage, sprinkle again with salt and pepper and break up the sausage with a wooden spoon while it browns, 7 to 10 minutes. Once the sausage is cooked through, turn off the heat.

While the sausage is cooking, prepare the stove top stuffing according to package directions. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Add the stuffing to a large bowl. Add the sauteed veg and the lightly beaten eggs to the stuffing and toss to combine. Evenly pour the stuffing into the prepared pan and press down.

Bake until browned on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool briefly.

For the creamy mashed potatoes: Add the potatoes to a pot and cover with water. Season with salt and turn the heat to high. Once the potatoes come to a boil, cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and pass the potatoes through a potato ricer into a bowl. Stir in some of the heated cream until the consistency is thick, creamy and pourable, adding cream as needed. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the butter.

For the cranberry sauce: Add the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and orange juice to a saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries have burst and the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Season with salt, remove from the heat, strain and set aside.

To serve: Loosen the stuffing from the sides of the pan with a butter knife. Top the pan with a cake stand and flip to invert. Remove the pan. Garnish with the creamy mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, fried onions and chives. Slice, plate and drizzle with gravy.

For more Thanksgiving recipes and tips, visit FoodNetwork.com!

Come! E.A.T. with us! 

Twitter: @CoParentEATblog

Facebook: www.facebook.com/COParentEATblog

Read our “big sister” blog of news and reviews
of restaurants, theater, movies and travel:
www.InGoodTasteDenver.com.

Email: ingoodtastedenver@gmail.com