"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

sheet pan roast chicken & vegetables. . .

DSCN8573.jpgWishing to expand my usual suspects for dinner meals, I’m trying out another recipe from the NYTimes – this one of roasted chicken, sweet potatoes and other vegetables garnished with a fresh lemon vinaigrette before serving.

Although the recipe calls for chicken breasts, I opted for chicken thighs, bone-in and with the skin on. We’re not fans of white meat and the flavor of roast chicken seems richer with the chicken intact. I do, however, make two deep cuts along each thigh bone and flatten the chicken to ensure it’s cooked through.

After rinsing and drying the chicken pieces with a paper towel, I peeled leftover parsnips and two sweet potatoes, cut up to cook along with the poultry. I also cut up a vidalia onion and added some leftover asparagus to the sheet pan melange.

Into a 425 heated oven, this dish cooked beautifully. On the side, I mixed up a vinaigrette of fresh Meyer Lemon juice, Japanese seasoned Marukan vinegar, a dollop of honey and grated fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

As suggested, I served the cooked vegetables and roasted chicken with a slight glaze of the vinaigrette. Although I was a little dubious about adding the vinaigrette, it was surprisingly tasty. A couple of rolls filled out our meal.

A nice variation that I’ll make again!


fresh tomato and spinach spaghetti . . .

DSCN8569.jpgDSCN8564.jpgDSCN8571.jpgIt’s Sunday and we’re between Wild Card football games. I find the games a welcome diversion from whatever happens to be coming out of Washington constantly. Anyhow, I saw this recipe on the NYTimes website and thought I’d try it out for two of us.  While the Baltimore Ravens were losing, I read many of the comments attached to the recipe and adapted the recipe accordingly.

At the store, instead of cherry or grape tomatoes, I bought medium size tomatoes and used four of them for my dish. I cracked a large clove of garlic, smashed it and heated it up in a rounded deep skillet filled with a little olive oil. I cut up the tomatoes after rinsing them off – and put them into the pot. As they became fragrant, I smushed them down with a spatula and added a scant teaspoon of sugar. I have found that adding a little sugar to fresh tomato softens the acidity and brings the sweet tomato flavor to the fore. I let this cook down until closer to dinnertime.

When almost ready, I zested two Meyer Lemons and added the zest to the tomato mixture. From the pantry, I added about a half teaspoon of dried basil ad the same amount of crushed red pepper.

I broke up some thin spaghetti from the box and put them into the pot while water was coming to a boil in my electric tea kettle. I added a cup and a half a of hot water to the pot and turned the heat to medium high, stirring the fragrant, bright tomato pasta mixture.

It took about ten minutes to cook al dente while stirring occasionally (I usually cook thin spaghetti for 9 minutes most of the time.) Just when it was almost cooked, I stirred in half a bag of tender baby spinach and folded it into the pasta dish. Served in our ancient Chinese pottery dishes, we liberally grated fresh parmigiano-reggiano cheese on top.

This could be considered a pasta primavera type of dish since the ingredients are all vegetables. It’s a sister dish to the one I sometimes make with sauteed zucchini and fresh mushrooms with some Ragu marinara sauce with the spaghetti. In any case, it’s a nice contrast to spaghetti and meatballs – and very convenient to put together if you have enough tomatoes on hand. The lemon zest brings a brightness to the dish – and to me, is an essential ingredient to this recipe.

Bon Appetit!

Footnote: We just finished our supper and this recipe is a KEEPER!! Tasty and light – very satisfying to make and to eat!