Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Easy Peasy Chicken Dinner for the Truly Exhausted


Miles to go before you sleep?
We all want the same thing. A fairly gourmet dinner with little to no work would be nice right about now, wouldn't it?
Turn on the oven, get out some rice, this meal is going to take care of itself.
Now if only we could apply this principle to the housecleaning....
Easy Peasy Chicken Dinner for the Truly Exhausted
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Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts, on the bone
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Winter Vegetables - peeled, cored, and cut into large bite sized pieces
feel free to make even more, for the true veggie lovers
2 large beets
1 large fennel bulb (cut off the fingers - they are a little wooly inside)
1 large purple onion
1 small butternut squash
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2 lemons, 1 sliced thin, 1 for juice
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
Drizzle of chicken broth (optional)
Feta cheese
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400f.
Line a jellyroll pan with foil.
Spread veggies out into a single layer in the centre of the pan.
Drizzle with olive oil and chicken broth, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Toss lightly.
Top with chicken breasts. Drizzle lemon juice over chicken and veggies. Apply olive oil, salt and pepper to chicken breasts and cover with thinly sliced lemons.
Roast until cooked through - about 40 minutes.
I pulled the pan out after 30 minutes to lift the chicken up and give the veggies a stir, in case the ones on the edges were cooking faster than the ones in the middle.
Serve with rice and feta. Chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, dill or chives would be nice too.
Notes
*Don't try to convince yourself that you don't like one or more of these veggies. When they are roasted they get caramelized and are sweet like candy. The foil is important as all the sugar in the veggies makes for difficult pan cleaning - and we don't want that, do we?
Plus - colour equals nutrients in veggies. Eat the rainbow!
*Beets are used for their detoxifying properties and are a great source of folate, which is so necessary for healthy fetal development and for a healthy cardiovascular system. - About.com
*Butternut squash is a well-balanced food source that is rich in complex carbohydrates and low in saturated fat and sodium. It is a very good source of vitamins A and C and a good source of beta-carotene, magnesium, manganese, calcium and potassium. - Eat the Seasons
*Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also a very good of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, folate, and molybdenum. In addition, fennel is a good source of niacin as well as the minerals phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper. -WHFoods
*To get the pretty shape of your rice, just oil a ramekin with olive oil, pack it with cooked rice, and invert it onto the plate. Garnish with an herb, if you desire.
The rice I used was jasmine, cooked in chicken broth for a rich and buttery accompaniment.
*Covering the chicken with the lemon slices helps keep it from getting too dry while roasting, as well as adding flavour. Keeping the skin on will also help keep it moist.