Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Easy Fall Dinner

Between the internet and being a bit cheap, I have really gotten out of the habit of buying magazines. This is a big change for me because I used to be the queen of the couch with my Blue Bell (that's ice cream for all of you northern folks) and InStyle, Vogue or Cottage and Country Living (ironic combo you may think, but that's just me for you...) I'd always get a thrill out of the shiny pages and the smell. I really miss those days...but I digress. Yesterday, while waiting in the atrocious line at the grocery store, I got sucked into this month's Southern Living, which got me in the mood to start some Thanksgiving'ish cooking a little early.

Roasted chicken with veggies is a staple in the dinner rotation at our house. It's cheap, it's easy and it's pretty healthy! I try to use veggies that are in season, so this week I bought some root vegetables. I also grabbed some rosemary because I thought it would pair nicely with the rustic veggies. While I don't have an exact recipe I follow or anything, here is how I cook my chicken.

Rough chop your veggies. I leave them in pretty big pieces so they don't fall apart. Here I used sweet potatoes, carrots (real carrots, not the little stubby fake ones), parsnips, onions and whole cloves of smashed garlic (smashing it, but leaving it whole lets the oils really flavor the whole dish.) Other veggies I've done are zucchini, onion, carrots and regular potatoes. But you could basically do anything!

I take about a tablespoon of real butter (room temp) and rub the chicken skin- this helps the skin brown nicely when cooking. Then I salt and pepper the hell out of it and today I also used fresh rosemary. I also stuff the cavity with rosemary (stems and all). You can also use fresh thyme or any other herbs you like. I like to use lemons and their juice, but I wasn't sure it would go with these veggies. Normally I'd juice the lemon over the chicken and then stuff the squeezed lemons in the cavity with my herbs. Next, s&p your veggies and pour chicken broth over them until it's nearly covering them. I also put a generous amount of olive oil on the veggies and chicken. 

My general rule of thumb is bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 mins per pound, plus 15 minutes.

I decided to try the pecan pie muffins from Southern Living for dessert. Pie is one of my weaknesses (get that from my mom & dad...thanks guys) and I especially love fall pies like pecan and pumpkin, so I thought the pecan pie muffins sounded delish- and boy was I right! Even my husband, who claims not to like desserts with nuts, tried them and asked for another :-) 

Click the title link to find the recipe at 

Luckily I had all of the ingredients for these muffins at home already, since I found the recipe at the end of my shopping trip.

Create a "well" in your dry ingredients and pour the wet in. Mix until just moistened.

Fill the bottom of the muffin tins with finely chopped pecans and fill to the top with batter.

These muffins are so yum. They're a little crunchy from the pecans and the caramelization of the brown sugar, yet moist and crumbly too. They're great for dessert or would make a sinfully good breakfast treat. Can't wait to have some with my coffee in the morning!

* Important note *

I used muffin liners because I was still a little scared from the sticking fiasco with my mini pumpkin pies. But because the brown sugar caramelizes so much in these muffins, the liners are difficult to get off, so I do not recommend using them.

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