gruelling delightful afternoon of Christmas shopping, driving hither and yon around the city to find just the perfect gifts for the offspring (in case any of you are reading this, I won’t be dropping any hints here!), who wouldn’t want to come home to a good meal? The next best thing to having dinner waiting for you is to prepare a hearty, quick and flavourful meal with a minimum of mess and fuss. Not only that, but how about the opportunity to put your feet up while the oven works its magic?
Last Saturday, after a successful shopping session, we stopped by the market and picked up some bone-in skinless chicken breasts, and a few vegetables to supplement what I knew I had in the pantry at home. Once home, I turned the oven on to 350º, and got to prepping. Within 30 minutes, a tray of chicken, vegetables and aromatics was in the oven, and I had about 50 minutes to put my feet up. All I had to do was toss the vegetables about 2/3 of the way through the cooking.
Brent and I enjoyed a tasty meal and re-energized ourselves to decorate the Christmas tree. (By the way, I almost forgot to mention that this is a healthy meal, one of my high flavour, low fat specialties.)
This method lends itself to infinite variation, all depending on what you like and what you have on hand. Here’s how it all came together for me on Saturday.
Roasted Chicken Breasts & Veggies
- 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into about 1″ chunks
- 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced somewhat smaller than the potatoes
- 2 small onions, peeled and quartered
- 1 red bell pepper, trimmed and cut into chunks
- 3 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 red chile pepper, cut into quarters lengthwise and then roughly chopped
- several leaves of fresh sage, chopped
- 2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
- large sprig of rosemary, pulled into small branches
Put all these ingredients except the rosemary into a bowl*, add about 2 tablespoons olive oil, a good tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar and a generous grinding of black pepper. Toss, and spread on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper. Clear a space in the middle for the chicken breasts. Put the chicken breasts in the bowl to coat them with the residual oil/vinegar mixture, adding a bit more if necessary. Place on the tray, bone side down and season with more pepper.
*To make clean-up even easier, you can put all the vegetables directly on the tray, add the oil, vinegar and pepper, and toss until coated.
Strew the rosemary artistically about the tray, and slide it into the oven for about 50 minutes, turning the vegetables about two-thirds of the way through the cooking time.
This is an excellent time to lounge on the couch with a glass of wine and something good to read or someone special (or both!) When the oven timer chimes, just lift everything onto the plates, and dinner is served. Enjoy!