The evening scramble is tough.  I find myself rushing around trying to figure out which dishes I can make that my whole family will enjoy.  This is the first post in a series of menus that you can use and interchange as part of your dinner planning routine.

In this menu plan I kept things simple: chicken, brussels sprouts, carrots.  Start by preparing the chicken.  Once the chicken is roasting in the oven, begin the carrots and then the brussels sprouts.  You should have dinner on the table and mouths fed within an hour (especially if you increase the cooking temperature).  You can also try to prepare the chicken the night before so you can just pop it into the oven when you get home after a long day.

I hope you enjoy my dinner menu series!  Let me know how they are working out for you or if you have any suggestions for me that I can add to my line-up!

Roasted Chicken /w Herbs & Lots of Garlic
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The garlic mellows in flavour as it cooks with the chicken, and becomes buttery, rich and sweet. Use it to spread on your warm baguette - it's that good!
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 40 cloves garlic, peeled (about 3 heads of garlic)
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme, chopped
  • 2 sprigs marjoram or oregano, chopped
  • 1 tsp. crushed fennel seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup whipping cream (35%)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley, for garnishing
  • French bread or baguette, for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet or shallow Dutch oven over medium to medium high heat. When oil is hot, add the chicken pieces skin side down. Cook the chicken until well browned, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to chicken to a large plate.
  4. Add butter, garlic, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, crushed fennel seeds and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add wine, water and chicken back to pan. Place tight fitting lid on the pan. Transfer to oven. Bake until chicken is cooked and tender, about 1 hour.
  6. Remove chicken to serving platter. Remove bay leaves. Add cream to pan and bring just to a boil over medium high heat. Pour sauce and garlic over chicken. Garnish with parsley and serve with lots of bread.

Warm Brussel sprout salad
Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw /w Lemon & Hazelnuts
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This quick warm slaw will make any person who isn't fond of brussels sprouts change their minds. The slight acidity of the lemon rounds out the buttery flavour of the sprouts, while the hazelnuts add a great crunchy texture to the dish.
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • ½ lb Brussels sprouts
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. Olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. Fresh lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup hazelnuts roasted and chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise and then thinly slice crosswise, discarding the ends.
  2. Saute in butter until crisp-tender.
  3. Toss with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, finely chopped shallot, chopped toasted hazelnuts, salt and pepper.

 

Maple Roasted Carrots
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These glazed and roasted carrots are tender and sweet.  Try to get carrots with the tops attached for a nicer presentation.  Bourbon adds another flavour that makes these carrots truly delicious.
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 3 lb. baby carrots, preferably with green tops, peeled & trimmed, leaving ½ inch of tops attached
  • ⅓ cup pure Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbs. good quality bourbon
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne
  • Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Position the rack in the upper third of the oven.
  2. spread the carrots in a single layer on a large heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet. In a measuring cup, combine the maple syrup, oil, and bourbon.
  3. Drizzle the syrup mixture over the carrots and sprinkle with the cayenne and 2 tsp. salt. Using your hands, toss the carrots to coat evenly. Cover the tops of the carrot with foil paper to prevent browning.
  4. Roast the carrots, undisturbed for 15 minutes. Toss and continue to roast until tender when pierced with a fork (about 20 minutes). (You can roast the carrots up to 1 hour ahead; keep them at room temperature on the roasting pan. Reheat in the oven, or serve them at room temperature). Transfer to a platter and drizzle with maple syrup and olive oil mixture. Serve warm.

With Love,
Julie