Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

There’s something about the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven. I just can’t resist it. I love the way the skin gets all golden and crispy. I place my chicken on a raised roasting rack above a bed of potatoes and carrots. As the chicken roasts they get basted with all the goodness from above until they’re crispy on the outside and fluffy and tender on the inside.Roasted Chicken

My husband is so careful. He always chooses the breast meat and peels the skin of his piece. Fine by me, since I’m more that happy to eat the thigh, leg and the golden skin he doesn’t want. Mind you, these days my boys have figured out how great chicken legs are so I haven’t had them in a while, but it’s worth the sacrifice.

Now if only I could get them to eat the roasted vegetables…

Note: When I purchase a smaller chicken, I quarter the lemon to get it to fit inside the cavity. Also, in the original recipe, she indicates 1-1/2 hours cooking time but I’ve always had to leave mine in about 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Oven temperatures vary a little, so make sure the juices run clear when you pierce the chicken.

Rosted Chicken and Vegetables
Adapted from Ina Garten – Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Beer bottle or Chicken Stock, for basting

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic.

Brush the outside of the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions and carrots in a roasting pan. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Once the chicken has been in the oven about 30 minutes, baste the chicken and vegetables with a bit of beer (or chicken stock). Move the vegetables around a little, just to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Repeat this process every 20-30 minutes. Once your chicken reaches the desired golden colour tent with foil and continue roasting until cooked through.

Roast the chicken for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

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Halibut – Braised with Carrots, Onions and Celery

Fish night, one of the most dreaded nights of the week in my house. Well, okay, lets say of the month. Fish is a hard sell over here.

Halibut

The salmon I make is too fishy, the cod is fishy and too dry, and the trout is “okay”. Sigh. The word everyone wants to hear after a long day of work, picking up the kids and sweating over the stove while trying to stop my two boys from ripping the house to shreds. Or even better, “It’s good I guess, but I wouldn’t make it again.”

But there’s hope. I found an easy to prepare recipe that my family finally loves. If you have finicky fish people in your family, hopefully you’ll have as much luck with this recipe as I did.

Just as a note, I sometimes reduce the amount of fish to 4 fillets as 6 is too much for us. Both my husband and I have a strict “no microwaving fish” policy where we work. Leftovers would sometimes end up going to waste, so I started to make a smaller portion to begin with.

Halibut – Braised with Carrots, Onions and Celery
Adapted from Robin Miller, Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 lemon, cut in to wedges

Directions

Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season halibut with salt and pepper. Add halibut to hot pan and cook 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove halibut from pan and set aside. Be careful flipping over and removing the halibut as it’s very tender and flakes easily.

To the same pan, add carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Add a bit more olive oil if necessary. Sauté 3 minutes, until soft. Return halibut to pan and add wine. Simmer 1 minute. Add bay leaves and broth and simmer 10 minutes, until fish is fork tender. Remove from heat.

I like to serve the halibut on a bed of rice with some of the broth ladled over top. Serve with a wedge of lemon, the juice brightens up the halibut nicely.

French Fries

Okay, I tricked you, these fries are oven-baked. And maybe there’s some sweet potato…but there’s russet potatoes and onions too! Ooh, and the sugar from the sweet potatoes baking in the oven gives them a caramelized sweetness that’s to-die-for.

I got you back with caramelized didn’t I. CARAMALIZED!! Sorry, I’m focused, I swear.Fries

My mom made this for us a few months ago and now I’m sharing it with you. You’ll thank me later! The great thing about this recipe is that it’s not really a recipe. You can make as much or as little as you like, in whatever proportions you like. Personally I like to do equal parts of each because as with everything else in my life I can’t decide which one I like more.

French Fries – Baked, With Sweet Potatoes and Onions

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 4 yellow onions, sliced into thin wedges
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Breadcrumb topping

  • ½ cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1-2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Cajun seasoning mix (optional if you want a little heat, to taste)
  • Grated parmesan cheese (to taste)

Preheat the oven to 375°

Mix the breadcrumbs, olive oil, and Cajun seasoning (if using) and mix together until the breadcrumbs absorb the oil. Set aside to use later.

Toss the potatoes, onions, salt, pepper and olive oil in a large bowl, evenly coating everything. Spread the mixture onto a parchment lines baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, Keep an eye on them though, they’ll bake pretty quickly since they’re sliced thin. Toss occasionally until they’re cooked through.

When you have about 5 minutes left add the breadcrumb mixture and sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese over the top and bake until slightly golden and the sweet potatoes get a little charred. This isn’t a thick coating.

The sweet potatoes will look a little black around the edges but that’s just the sugar caramelizing. Trust me, those are the best bits!