Perfect Roast Chicken

Some days all I want for dinner is a simple roasted chicken. Roasting a chicken is easy, delicious and so satisfying. Opening the oven door and pulling out the finished product, drinking in the smells of a perfectly cooked chicken mixing with lemon, garlic and wine, it doesn't get much better than that. For this recipe you roast the chicken atop a delicious bed of carrots, onion and fennel with thyme, so you don't even have to worry about making a side dish, it's built in! The only other thing you might need is a loaf of fresh bread with salted butter and your meal is complete. Simple, elegant, and wonderful. 

There's a little prep work involved in this meal, but nothing overly difficult or time consuming. A few vegetables to cut up and some chicken prep but that's about it. You can cut the vegetables a day or two in advance if you are thinking ahead to really streamline this meal. I think the whole head of garlic along with fresh lemon and thyme are the perfect trio to stuff the chicken with. Some of my absolute favorite flavors. The whole thing is just a beautiful combination, and a tasty one too!

Perfect Roast Chicken

Adapted from the 

Food Network


  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
  • Olive oil
  • White wine (if desired)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside completely 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 butter 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, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top. Pour a little of the white wine into the bottom of the pan if desired. 

Roast the chicken for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 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.

Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes

Over the past few months I've become a big fan of lentils. Until recently I had never tried a lentil, but now I've had them in several dishes and really like them a lot. They don't have a lot of flavor, so you can add them to a lot of different things and they don't change the taste of the dish much. I first bought them because I was looking for a cheap and easy to store protein source. Lentils are a high-fiber, protein-rich legume that cook quickly without any need for presoaking or anything like that. There are a lot of different kinds of lentils, but so far I've only used green lentils, they stay firm and don't get mushy when you cook them. As I've used them they have really grown on me and now I like them a lot. If you've never tried them before, go out and pick up a bag, you really have no reason not to.

This is one of the lentil recipes I've tried recently. It was very simple, hearty and extremely healthy. Basically it is just vegetables, lentils and spices, that's it. Throw it all together in a pot and let it cook for 40 minutes, dinner is served. This recipe uses carrots, onions and tomatoes, but you could really do whatever you wanted and whatever you like best, it is really versatile. In the end it turns into a really thick stew. If you wanted you could add more liquid and make it into more of a soup, either way would work I think. Slice up some nice crusty bread for dipping and you have a delicious and healthy meal, perfect for a cold, blustery night.

Chop just a few veggies

Throw them into the pot

Grab the rest of the ingredients

Once the veggies soften, add the tomatoes...


...and spices

Stir it all together, cover and cook

40 minutes later

A nice, hearty bowl

Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes
From Smitten Kitchen, originally from Barefoot Contessa at Home

  • 2 teaspoons good olive oil
  • 2 cups large-diced yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups large-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup French green lentils (7 ounces)
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons mild curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and the carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.

Meanwhile,  coarsely chop the tomatoes, either in a food processor or use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut them into piece right in the can. Rinse and pick over the lentils to make sure there are no stones in the package.

Add the tomatoes, lentils, broth, curry powder, thyme, salt and pepper to the pan. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Check occasionally to be sure the liquid is still simmering. Remove from the heat and allow the lentils to sit covered for another 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, season to taste and serve hot.