Rosemary Lemon Roast Chicken

It may be Mother's Day today, but this year my family celebrated mom last week. Mom decided that she wanted to head to Indiana with a friend to spend time at Conner Prairie, a living history museum where people recreate what life was like in Indiana in the 19th century. My mom is a big Civil War reenacter,  and loves all of these kind of things so this is her favorite kind of weekend, and her top choice for where to spend her Mother's Day this year. Her friend's daughter works at Conner Prairie so they are going to dress up in the historically accurate clothes and have a blast. Hope you're having a wonderful Mother's Day weekend mom!

Even though mom was not going to be home on Mother's day this year I still wanted to make her a special meal, as a thank you for being such a great mom. So instead of celebrating today, we got together last weekend for a Mother's Day meal starring this Rosemary Lemon Chicken. It's a simple recipe, but so full of flavor that everyone loved it. I can't think of much else that goes so well with chicken as lemon and rosemary do. The whole thing can be prepped the night before so all you have to do the day you want to make it is stick it in the oven. If you're craving some delicious chicken, but want to make life easy for yourself, this is the recipe you want to make. 

I was inspired to make this recipe after coming back from Paris. One morning there I was walking down the street and passed a butcher who had a big rotisserie outside his shop with a dozen chickens slowly turning on spits. Below the chickens was a big pile of red potatoes, soaking in the juices of the chickens that were dripping down as they roasted. It looked and smelled amazing and I knew I wanted to recreate it at home. Since I don't have a rotisserie, a good roasted chicken was going to have to do instead. Roasting the chicken over a bed of red-skinned potatoes allowed the chicken juices to permeate and flavor the potatoes as everything cooked. While this prevents the potatoes from getting crispy and brown, it does make them flavorful and creamy. 

I love rosemary with my chicken and potatoes, so I threw a lot of chopped rosemary in this dish as well as some chopped fresh thyme because I had some in the fridge, but you can always use whichever herbs you like best, it doesn't have to be rosemary. Don't skip the lemon however. It permeates the chicken and potatoes, brightening everything with its tart acidity. The perfect pairing with the earthy rosemary. This one is definitely a crowd-pleaser. Impress your guests this weekend with this simply amazing roast chicken. 

 
 
 

Happy Mother's Day to the best mother around!!

 

Rosemary Lemon Roast Chicken
Adapted from The Cafe Sucre Farine
Ingredients

  • 2 whole chickens, cut into pieces, bone-in, skin-on
  • 2-3 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (do not use bottled lemon juice, it must be freshly squeezed)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds of small red skin potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon sliced in ⅛-inch slices

Directions
The night before you plan on roasting the chicken, or early on the day of, mix the rosemary, thyme, garlic, 5 teaspoons salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil together in a small bowl. 

Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Pour the oil-herb mixture onto the chicken and use your hands to mix the chicken and the oil mixture together, rubbing it into the chicken and under the skin, coating everything evenly. Cover bowl and place in the fridge at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. 

The next day, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease one or two sheet pans with oil. Combine potatoes, olive oil, the 1-2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a medium-size bowl. Toss to coat. Turn potatoes out onto prepared sheet pans in an even layer. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Remove pans from oven and add the chicken breasts to the pans, skin side up in between the potatoes. Tuck lemons around chicken and potatoes. Roast for about 30-45 minutes longer, or until the breasts reach 160˚F in the thickest part. (If breasts vary greatly in size, you may need to remove the smaller ones 5 minutes before the larger ones.) My chicken took about 38 minutes. 

Remove from oven and cover chicken loosely with foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8-10

Lemon Herb Baked Tofu

I love experimenting with new foods and trying out new things in the kitchen all the time. That's what keeps things interesting and fun. Up until recently, tofu was something I wanted to try (I think I'd had it once, or maybe twice, before), but since I'd hardly ever used it in the past, I just never got around to picking up a package. Finally, I forced myself to buy a pound of it at the store and find something to do with it. 

To start, I wanted to do something simple, and something with which I could really taste the tofu, and get an idea of what its texture was like. I started with some extra firm tofu because it sounded the most versatile to me. After browsing through pages of recipes I settled on baked tofu with a simple lemon herb marinade, I figured this would give me the freedom to use the tofu in many different applications. The verdict? I liked it. Very easy to make and many options once it's done cooking; as a snack, on top of pasta, in a stir fry, on a sandwich, you get the idea. We'll see where this goes in the future, but FYI, I just finished off another package yesterday...

I've always heard that tofu takes on the flavors of whatever you cook it with, and that was certainly true in this case. The dominant flavors in this recipe were the lemon and the soy sauce. I could sense an underlying flavor from the tofu itself, but for the most part the marinade is what really came through.

There are some many different options for marinades floating around online, so if lemon herb isn't up your ally, there are many other combinations to try. But the bake instructions should be pretty much the same. All together a very easy recipe that leaves you with plenty of options in the end. It might be worth a try, if you've never picked up a package of tofu before, I highly recommend at least trying it once. You never know what you're missing until you try!

Lemon Herb Tofu
Adapted from The Gentlemanly Tomato
Ingredients

  • 1 cake firm tofu (about 16 oz)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • A couple sprigs each of thyme and rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced

Directions
Press tofu between a couple sheets of paper towel topped with a heavy pan for about 30 minutes. Discard paper towels and cut tofu into bite sized pieces. 

While tofu is being pressed, whisk together all marinade ingredients in a glass dish. Add the pressed tofu and gently mix to cover everything with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30-60 minutes. 

Line a baking sheet with foil. Transfer the tofu and any remaining marinade onto the baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes. 

Simple Quinoa and Cheddar Polenta with Kale
From Delectably Mine
Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) water
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons (27 grams) cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1-2 handfuls kale, ripped or cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 ounce cheddar cheese, broken into pieces
  • Lemon herb tofu (recipe above)

Directions
Put the water and salt in a small skillet and heat until boiling. Once boiling, slowly pour in the cornmeal while continuously whisking. Turn the heat back on low and cook until starting to get thick, whisking frequently.

Once the cornmeal mixture starts to thicken up, add in the quinoa and torn up pieces of kale and whisk together. If the mixture becomes too thick, add some more water as needed. 

Once everything is mixed together, add in the butter and cheddar cheese, whisking until melted and completely incorporated into the mixture. 

Top polenta with lemon herb tofu and enjoy!

Honey Mustard Chicken

Easy, quick and delicious, a perfect combo when it comes to a weeknight meal. This honey mustard chicken is all of that. It only takes a few ingredients, a little bit of prep work and some time in the oven and you have a tasty, satisfying meal that I think just about anyone would enjoy. I don't know about you, but sometimes I want a hearty, filling meal that doesn't take a couple hours to put together, uses what I have in the kitchen and is still full of flavor. I stumbled across this recipe last week and realized that I had chicken in the freezer and some leftover rosemary in the fridge. Since I always have onions, honey and both kinds of mustard on hand I knew I just had to try this. It was a definite do over, a great recipe to hang on to for those days when you don't have the time for much else.

While you could make this recipe without the whole grain mustard, I don't think I would want to, just because it looks so pretty with the little mustard seeds all over the chicken. The combo of whole grain mustard, Dijon mustard, and plenty of honey make for a delicious sauce that gets even better as the juice from the chicken mixes in during baking. The rosemary is beautiful and delicious, but you could probably try thyme too, I think it would work just as well. Other then that there is not much to say. It is a straightforward recipe that turns out a delicious pan of flavorful chicken.

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

Adapted From: 

Good Life Eats

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons grainy, course mustard 
  • 3 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard 
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced thin 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • About 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins 
  • salt and pepper 
  • 4 small sprigs of fresh rosemary 

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the mustards, honey, and the olive oil.

Sauté onion over medium heat until golden and tender, 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1 - 2 minutes, until fragrant.

Transfer onion mixture to a baking dish. Place the chicken on top of the onion and garlic mixture. Salt and pepper the tops of the chicken according to your personal preference.

Pour the honey mustard mixture on top of the chicken. Arrange the rosemary sprigs around the chicken in the pan.

Bake the chicken covered at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Then remove the cover, baste the chicken with the sauce, and continue to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes uncovered, until the chicken registers 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

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...

...lentils...

...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
Ingredients

  • 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

Directions
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.