Easy Roast Chicken

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Roasted chicken pieces is an easy weeknight meal that I usually have as a go to with packages of chicken in the freezer ready for early morning move to the fridge or counter to defrost for that night’s dinner.  I am perpetually playing beat the clock with 3 boys and a full-time job…it can be pretty hectic around here.  This roast chicken is a no brainer, I can make it in my sleep, purchasing the chicken already cut up instead of doing it myself is a great shortcut.

Early in the morning I start by taking the chicken out of the freezer and placing on a plate on the counter to defrost as I begin the boys breakfast.  If I have an abundance of time I will make them a hot meal of scrambled eggs & toast or waffles, etc.  If I am running behind then I prep the counter with cereal bowls, boxes of cereals, spoons and a pitcher of milk.

But I digress, on to the evening meal…

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This is the way my mom has always made this dish and I am not one to mess with success so I do it the same way.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  One package (defrosted) whole chicken cut up into 6-8 pieces, one large fennel bulb, vegetable oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Start by placing the chicken into a colander and giving it a good rinse.  Set colander aside to drain and prep your vegetables.  Slice the fennel and a large white or Vidalia onion.  Set aside on your cutting board as the veg are going right into the roasting pan.  Add a little bit of vegetable oil in the bottom of the roasting pan, drop in the veg and stir it all around so it is coated with oil.  Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder all over the top.

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Next go back to the chicken that has been draining in the colander.  Place chicken on a cutting board and proceed to pat each piece dry with a paper towel. 

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When every piece has been dried put them into the roasting pan on top of the fennel and onion. Make sure there is a little room around each piece of chicken.  Don’t lay them on top of one another.  

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Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and any other seasonings you are partial too.  Some of my favorites are thyme and rosemary.  The roasting pan looks crowded but trust me it is not and the chicken will roast up crispy and delicious!

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Into the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 to 60 minutes.  Roast the chicken until the juices run clear when pierced with a knife.  Internal temperature will be 165 degrees.  I cannot give a precise time as oven temperature’s vary so you really need to know your oven and test the chicken with a meat thermometer after 45 minutes.

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A quick side of roasted potatoes…

Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, sliced into wedges, coated in olive oil, salt & pepper.  Roast in the oven with the chicken for the least 30 minutes.  The potatoes will not take as long as the chicken.  

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The chicken has finished and it smells divine!  Juicy inside and crispy on the outside.  My boys love this meal… 

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Perfect chicken, roasted potato wedges, green peas and fennel.  The perfect comfort meal on a cold January night.  Delicious 🙂

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This meal will feed four of us (hubby not home for dinner) with no leftovers.  

We are having a big snowstorm in New England tonight so my best wishes to everyone!  Stay safe and warm!

-Andi

 


Easy Cheese Stuffed Hamburgers

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I made cheeseburgers on the grill tonight and thought I would share the recipe.  This is an easy, weeknight meal I whip-up after work when I am short on time and the natives are unusually hungry and have to eat immediately. 🙂 

Ingredients:
2 lbs. ground beef, use your own preference for chuck/sirloin/blend of these, etc. 
1 pkg. havarti dill cheese
1 ripe tomato
1 red onion
1 ripe avocado
1 pkg. whole wheat hamburger buns, or whatever type of bread/bun you prefer
salt & pepper
garlic powder

First things first, get your charcoal grill going so it will be ready when the patties are finished.  Then, in a large bowl I put 1 lb. of ground chuck and 1 lb. of ground sirloin.  I blend these together and then add my salt, pepper and garlic powder.  (Add your seasonings according to your preferences).  Once blended I set the bowl aside and wash my hands.  

Next I prepare all the condiments.  Slice the cheese into rectangles, slice red onion into rings, slice up the tomato and avocado.  Set condiments aside.

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Back to the burgers: Flatten a portion of ground beef and place some cheese in the center.  Next mold the ground beef around the cheese, enclosing it inside the patty and carefully flatten it out again.  Depending on how much cheese you put in the center, you may need to grab a little extra ground beef to cover the cheese well.  Repeat for remaining patties.

DSC_0004Once the grill is ready I put on the burgers.  I don’t move my burgers around a whole lot once I put them down.  I let them cook and when they release easily from the grate I flip them over.  The cheese does sometimes find a way to ooze out of the burgers (see the finished product in the top most photo) and there isn’t much that can be done about it once it happens but if you are careful and seal up the cheese inside the ground beef you should be all set.  I don’t let it get to me when the cheese breaks free, my kids still thinks I am queen of the charcoal grill!

We are a family of 5 and this recipe makes enough for everyone and an extra or two, depending on how big I make the burgers.  Morgan isn’t always a big eater so I make a small burger with no cheese inside and just melt some on the top for him.

My boys loves the onion/tomato/avocado toppers.  I especially love the smooth & creamy avocado with the snap of the red onion.  Add a garden salad to each plate and you have a wonderful family meal with no pots and pans to clean up.

Next: Dessert a la Evan!

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For dessert my son Evan made us all vanilla ice cream cones dipped in sprinkles and topped with a maraschino cherry.  We sat outside eating our cones and listening to the frogs “talking” to one another down at the lake.  It was a lovely evening.

Now the boys are all in bed, dog & kitty curled up in their respective spots and I am going to settle down for some Agatha Christie mysteries on Netflix.