Herb Roasted Chicken With Sweet Potatoes and Onions

When I was planting my new window garden, I had to trim a few of the herbs down so they would fit. This left me with a big bunch of fresh cut herbs just begging to be to chopped up and rubbed on something.

fresh-herbs-from-window-garden

I thought of a simple chicken dish my dad always makes, that I think he got from my Nona Rita. I gave him a quick call to double check what oven temperature should be, and funnily enough he was cooking the same dish. (I later found out that he put it in the oven too late and ended up ordering pizza that night so he could make an early movie he had tickets for.)

This dish normally calls for white potatoes, but I subbed in sweet potatoes because I already had some in the house. Very tasty both ways!

Herb Roasted Chicken With Sweet Potatoes and Onions
serves 2

Ingredients:
4 chicken tights, skin on
extra-virgin olive oil
2 small or 1 medium sweet potatoes
1 large onion
a handful of fresh herbs, chopped (any combination of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme)
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp paprika

Preheat the over to 350F.

Cut the sweet potatoes, skin on, into 1-2″ chunks. Cut the onion into quarters or sixths.

Rinse each piece of chicken under cold water and pat dry. I use chicken with the skin on for extra flavor when cooking and so nothing dries out. If you don’t want to eat the skin you can always toss it later.

Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of your baking dish. Arrange the chicken with space in between to fit in the veggies. Then spread the sweet potatoes and onions around in between the chicken. If it doesn’t all fit in one pan, arrange in two smaller pans.

Drizzle the top with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Then finish with chopped herbs.

roasted-chicken-with-onions-herbs-sweet-potatoes

Cover tightly and bake for 45 min to 1 hour. Uncover for the last 15 minutes so chicken can brown.

In my excitement to eat, I forgot to take a picture of the finished dish when it came out of the oven. Sorry!

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How to Make a Window Herb Garden From Reclaimed Wood

I am finally ready to admit that life can get in the way of blogging. Sometimes I let it, but not today.

We have a little catching up to do. For my birthday earlier this month, my boyfriend built me a window herb garden out of a hundred year old piece of cedar and some mason jars. It is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Once it was finished we both just sat and stared at it for a while. I try to face it at all times when I am in the living room. I’m just drawn to it in every way.

Needless to say, my cooking has benefited from this enchanting home improvement as well. Instead of battling the winter alone, I’m heading in with something fresh by my side, and I could not be happier.

Top to bottom: oregano, basil, flat-leaf parsley, thyme

From start to finish it only took us about half an hour to build, and the materials did not cost much over $50. I know because $50 is our birthday gift cap. The whole idea of the limit in the first place was to spur a little creativity. Total win.

Here are the instructions for the one we made. It’s pretty user friendly, so you can adjust based on whatever materials you have available.

Materials:
piece of hardwood for a base (piece shown is 3″ thick cedar)
4 widemouth mason jars
4 four inch diameter metal hose clamps
4 one inch sheet rock screws
screw gun
decorative planting stones or small rocks
herb seeds or small seedlings
extra potting soil
khaki colored spray paint, satin finish

Step 1
In a well-ventilated area, spray paint hose clamps and let them dry fully.

Step 2
Mount hose clamps to your base using screws and a screw gun (we did not pre-drill the holes.) Place clamps them where you want the center of each jar to sit. These ones are at an angle so our plants face towards the sun. Leave screws loose enough so that jars can be rotated to upright for watering.
hose-clamp-mounted-to-wooden-herb-garden

hose-clamps-mounted-to-window-herb-gardenStep 3
Line each jar with an inch or two of stone. This will keep the plant from getting waterlogged since there is no drainage hole in the bottom of your container. Then add a thin layer of potting soil.

Step 4
Remove seedlings from their containers and gently break apart the root balls a little bit with your fingers. Place each plant in a jar. The base of the plant should rest just below the mouth of the jar. Add more soil on top of the rocks if necessary. Once placed in the jar, fill in around the root ball of the plant with extra potting soil, using your fingers to push soil it into any gaps. Make sure the soil isn’t too compacted.

basil-in-mason-jar-window-herb-gardenStep 5
Slide jars into the hose clamps and then tighten clamps.

basil-mason-jar-window-herb-garden

Note: Wall mounting materials will vary based on the type of walls you have and how thick your base is. We screwed the base to the wall before mounted the jars, however this can be done in reverse as well.

Conclusion of the Freezer Challenge

This day has been marked on my calendar for weeks. Today is the day that I conclude the Freezer Challenge by reporting on my results. Yet, for the first time since starting this blog, I am not excited to write or post.

For most of the month I was doing good, I mean really good. At no point was my freezer wasn’t empty, but I’m pretty sure about 75% of its contents were replaced with fresh things. As a reminder, here is what I set out to use up:

a-diagram-of-my-freezer

freezer door diagram

When I was on a roll, here’s what was going down in my kitchen:

  1. Ezekiel Bread– defrosted for mid-morning snacks of PB & banana or fruit spread at work
  2. Homemade ravioli– brought back to life by sautéing with garlic and olive oil, made a few lunch portions
  3. Naan– quick and easy pizza base, topped with sliced tomatoes and whatever other veggies were in the house
  4. Turkey sausages– simmered in tomato sauce with veggies and served over spaghetti squash
  5. Pizza dough– topped with veggies and freezer tomato sauce, grilled on barbeque
  6. Black bean soup– lunch for work
  7. Chicken chili– lunch for work
  8. Cod fillets– I’m allergic to fish and didn’t eat these, but they disappeared none the less
  9. Edamame– steamed and enjoyed with a pinch of sea salt
  10. Blueberries– mixed with plain greek yogurt
  11. Venison steaks– used for Slow Cooker Pulled Venison

Everything else fell victim to Hurricane (Superstorm) Sandy when I lost power for four days. I do not mean to complain. Most people I know had harder time lost much more than I did. It is just that when the power came back on, and I had to toss almost everything in the fridge and freezer, it was so very sad. We tried to eat as possible before the storm and put a bunch of things into a cooler, but I ended up throwing out a full (and very heavy) garbage bag of food.

Overall, a few important things came out of this challenge. I trained myself to open the freezer and survey the stockpile before running to the store to buy more things. This saved time and money (very precious resources for me these days), and also forced me to get creative and create meals around ingredients by combining them in new ways. You will see a few more of these recipes here in the near future. For now, I need to go figure out what is for dinner tonight.