Roast Chicken With Spring Vegetables (A Godsey Family Favorite)

I used to get real fancy in the kitchen. We’re talking truffle oil and fois gras, folks. Nowadays my taste is less gourmet and more…utilitarian. My criteria for a good meal is thus:

  1. Is it healthful? (This might not seem like a tough one, but I was raised eating almost entirely processed or high-fat foods, so eating balanced meals, with minimal use of processed ingredients is huge for me. No unpronounceables, no fake sugars, no trans fats. This doesn’t mean we don’t eat sweets, or indulge in rich foods, but we try do to so in the healthiest way possible.)
  2. Does it offer leftovers? (Either for another meal entirely, or for lunches?)
  3. Can I prepare it without needing some obscure and expensive ingredient? (I’m looking at you, saffron.)
  4. Does it clean up fast? If it only takes half an hour to prepare, but I’m spending an hour washing all of the dishes, it gets vetoed.
Based on those criterion, I have a handful of recipes that I prepare often (at least twice a month). This recipe is for roast chicken and spring vegetables, and you can download it to print out from foodnetwork.com. I pasted it here, so you can get to it easily, but like I said, it’s not my recipe; I got it from Food Network.

Ingredients

(I’ll add my notes in green.)

  • 3 1/2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken quarters (I buy one chicken quarter per adult, and they’re usually a pound a piece. This yields lots of leftover chicken for chicken sandwiches or chicken salad the next day,)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fingerling or other small potatoes
  • 2 bunches radishes
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 bunch baby carrots (I usually ditch the carrots because the radishes, potatoes and scallions are PLENTY, but if you love carrots, they’re tasty in this recipe.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (I often forget the dill, and it still comes out delicious.)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper, then place skin-side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over the chicken and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast 15 minutes. (I usually cover the dish with tinfoil while it’s baking for the first 15 minutes, otherwise the olive oil is really splattery when I try and remove the dish from the oven.)

Meanwhile, cut the potatoes and radishes in half and cut the scallions into thirds. Toss the potatoes, radishes, carrots and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Remove the chicken from the oven and scatter the vegetables around it. Continue to roast until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is golden and cooked through, about 20 more minutes. (For the second 20 minutes it’s roasting, I roast it uncovered.) Squeeze the remaining 1/2 lemon over the chicken and vegetables. Top with the dill and season with salt.

Per serving: Calories 569; Fat 31 g (Saturated 7 g); Cholesterol 132 mg; Sodium 655 mg; Carbohydrate 27 g; Fiber 5 g; Protein 44 g

Final Notes

The lemon is clutch in this recipe. I’d go so far as to tell you not to make it if you don’t have the lemon on hand. Also, I’ve added chopped fresh rosemary to the chicken (before it’s roasted) a few times, and it was really good. (I’d be willing to bet that thyme would make a great addition, too!) I’m not sure this is a great recipe for you folks that live in a place where it gets real hot in the summer, though, ’cause even here, on the edge of California, with a chilly ocean breeze blowing through my kitchen window, my kitchen gets HOT when I prepare this.

Anyhoo, if you try this out, I sure hope you like it! And let me know what you think!

I’ll be back on Wednesday with a post inspired by these two quotes, from Mother Teresa:

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.

God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.

xoxo, mj

Easy Peasy Roasted Tri-Tip

I’ve been marinading this tri-tip for THREE DAYS, but it’s been too foggy/cold for me to BBQ it. Today was the last day I felt comfortable keeping it around, so I Googled a bit and found this great little guideline for roasting tri-tip in the oven. No BBQ needed! We generally like ours medium-rare, and, following the timeline in the link I’ve shared, our 1.75 lb tri-tip came out medium-WELL, so if you’re the medium-rare type too, I’d shave off 5-7 minutes.

Also, when the tri-tip is “resting” off the heat for 10-15 minutes, that’s the perfect time to toss some asparagus into your roasting pan, and at 350 for 10ish minutes, it comes out perfect. No extra olive oil needed! I love BBQing, but this roasted tri-tip was pretty bomb. Kinda glad it was so cold out tonight!

Let me know if you try it! If you enjoy a good tri-tip (which is basically every carnivore on the Central Coast of California), then you’ll enjoy this method.

Now’s The Time to Make Pumpkin Pie!

Monogrammed Pastel Pumpkins

Cute, right?

Greetings from across the Internet! Halloween has come and gone, and all we’re left with is a mostly-full bag of mixed candy (we don’t get trick-or-treaters where we live) and a couple of monogrammed pumpkins.

“Monogrammed pumpkins? That sure sounds stuffy. Who do you think you are? The Queen of England?”

I promise I have a good reason for going knife-free this halloween, probably the best reason of all of the reasons one could have: I’m making pumpkin pie. (“Oh! I get it! Excellent idea!” You might find yourself saying in your head. And I’d agree with you.)

Excellent though this idea is, it appeared to be totally foreign to several people I talked to at a recent pumpkin-carving party. In their defense, it was a pumpkin carving party after all, not a “color-your-pumpkin-with-pastels” party. Nevertheless, I left the party feeling like the odd-one-out after having explained my case at least four times, and never feeling understood. “Instead of throwing the pumpkins away, we’re gonna eat them,” I’d explain, expecting people to know what the heck I was talking about. “Oh yeah. Pumpkin seeds are tasty! We roast ours, too!” One lady agreed. “Right,” I’d continue, “and the rest is getting made into pie. Pumpkin pie.”

Blank stares.

The lady cocks her head to the side at me, while passing me a tiny orange carving knife. “Here, need this knife?”

I pause. “No, thank you. I’m just gonna finish coloring my pumpkin.” (WAS I NOT SPEAKING ENGLISH?)

Aaaanyway. Here I am now, at home, in front of something that always understands me: my computer. And, you know, in case I’m not the only person strange enough to want to eat a PIE instead of throw it away (basically), I figured I’d share my method with you. And, since we’re being truthful here, it’s not actually my method. It’s Martha Stewart’s method. (Aren’t they all?)

How ’bouts some pictures and instructions?

Before:

Monogrammed Pastel Pumpkins

Cute, right?

First thing’s first: I actually remembered to preheat my oven to 400 degrees. (Anyone else seem to always forget to preheat their oven until you’re ready to use it? Hate that.) Before I popped the two big guys in the oven, I wiped the pastel off with a paper towel. I s’pose if I wanted to be extra thorough I would have washed them again in soapy water. Nevertheless, after some wiping they’re as clean (cleaner, in fact!) than the day I bought them.

Then, using a paring knife, I put several slits into each pumpkin, to allow the steam to escape whilst roasting. To do this properly, make sure to stab the pumpkin all the way through to its hallow. And BE CAREFUL pulling that knife out. It gets really stuck in there, and if you wrench it out the wrong way you might hurt yourself.

Once your pumpkins are clean and slitted, put ’em in a baking dish, and add about an inch of water to the pan. Put the pan with the pumpkins in the oven for, like, an hour and fifteen minutes/an hour and a half. Basically, you want to be able to pierce the skin easily with a fork, and you want the flesh to be really soft.

Soft Pumpkin

Once they’re good and squishy, let them cool off a little before you move on. Then you’re gonna chop the tops off and scoop out the insides. (You may reserve the seeds for roasting if you like.)

Roasted Pumpkins with Tops Cut Off

Then peel off the skin and throw it away. (After tediously peeling the skin off of the first one with my fingers, I wised up and used a peeler on the second one. Peeling around the latitude–horizontally–is much easier than peeling up-and-down.) Put the squishy pumpkin flesh in a food processor and blend it until it’s good and smooth. No chunks. (Unless you like chunky pie, but that just sounds gross to me.)

Pureed Pumpkin

You can store it in the fridge for a couple days, or in the freezer for a month or so. (Since I’m mostly on kiddo patrol, I’ve gotta do these things in baby steps, so it might take me three days to actually finish this pie.) :/

As I’m mostly on kiddo patrol, it might take me a few days to actually finish making the pie. I’ll continue to update this post as I progress through the pie-making process.

***Updated 4:30 PM, November 3***

The kiddo just started napping, so I took this time to divide up my pureed pumpkin, and pre-measure all of my dry ingredients (except the ground cloves because while I thought I had ground cloves it turns out that I have two large containers of whole cloves. Drat.) to save me time when I actually get to bake it. I ended up with 5 1/2 cups of pureed pumpkin, which is enough to make three pies (1 1/2 cups pumpkin per pie), and have 1 full cup of pureed pumpkin left over (I’d advise snacking on it yourself, or feeding it to a willing kiddo). And I only had enough brown sugar to pre-measure two-pie’s worth of dry ingredients (ARGH), but here’s what that looked like when I was through:

Dry ingredients and measured pumpkin

***Updated 11:15 PM, November 3***

Once the kiddo went to bed I got back to work on my pie. (What can I say? You can’t keep a lady with a sweet-tooth away from a pie for too long.) My superhero husband picked up ground cloves and more brown sugar on the way home, so there was nothing standing in my way! The next step was to blend my dry stuff with my wet stuff, here’s what that looked like: (little bowl = glaze for crust, big bowl = pumpkiny goodness)

Pumpkin Pie Filling and Glaze

Next, I unrolled my thawed pie-crust. It’s as easy as it sounds. Actually, I would suggest waiting until it completely thaws before unrolling it. Do it too soon, and you’re bound to put cracks in it. Like I did. Whoops. Anyway, even with the cracks, it didn’t turn out so bad. (And yes, the Kids’ Coppertone spray sunscreen is my secret ingredient. Thank me later.)

(KIDDING. Don’t eat the sunscreen.)

Empty Pie Crust

Then came the easy part: glaze the edge of the crust, pour the pumpkiny goodness into the shell, and bake it ’till it was good and solid (about an hour and ten minutes).

Pumpkin Pie in the OvenBaked Pumpkin Pie

Woo Hoo! She might not be the prettiest pie on the block, but she sure is the tastiest. (Confession: I’ve eaten two pieces already.) This turned out WAY better than I had even imagined it would.

If you’re interested in trying it yourself, here’s the recipe I used: http://www.marthastewart.com/259353/pumpkin-pie

  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh Pumpkin Puree Pumpkin Puree, or canned
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg for glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • Pate Brisee (Pie Dough) Pate Brisee (Pie Dough)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin puree, and 3 eggs. Beat well. Add evaporated milk, and combine. Set aside.
  2. Between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll pate brisee into a 12-inch circle. Fit pastry into a 9-inch glass pie plate; trim dough evenly along edge, leaving about a 1/2-inch overhang. Pinch to form a decorative edge. If the dough begins to soften, chill for 15 minutes.
  3. Make the glaze: Beat the remaining egg, and combine with heavy cream. Brush glaze very lightly on edges of pie shell. Fill pie shell with pumpkin mixture. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack.
 Note: After reading the comments on the recipe, many people suggested doubling the spices (because the recipe turned out bland) and replacing the evaporated milk with whipping cream. Also, a few people had mentioned that they needed to bake it twice as long as the recipe suggested; they were right. Instead of baking it for 30 minutes at 350, it ended up being in there for 54 minutes at 350. Just keep on baking it until it’s puffy, but not sloshy. You can poke it with a toothpick without ruining it, too. Given that the commenters were so bold as to correct Ms. Martha Stewart, queen of domesticity, I figured they were worthwhile suggestions. I’m glad I followed them! This is one spicy (but not too spicy pumpkin pie!
Slice of Pumpkin Pie
Enjoy! And let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know about the process!

Holler so I know you’ve been here. Otherwise I feel like I’m talking to myself. Again. :/

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