all in a name…

Menu Choice 1:

Oven Roasted Chicken

Steamed Rice

Garden Salad with homemade dressing

Bread

Menu Choice 2:

Whole Roasted Lemon Chicken with Herbes de Provence & Roasted Organic Carrots

Steamed Jasmine Rice, lightly buttered 

Salad with Butter lettuce, Avocado, Tomato and Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette

Fresh Camino Bakery Baguette with “chicken drippings gravy”

Hmmm…even if I hadn’t made “both” of these dinners tonight I would still choose menu 2.  What about you?  Amazing how both menu’s are the same foods, but the detail and elaboration in the second just sells it.  You can almost smell it, even taste the flavors.  The ingredients are the same, but it’s the description in the wording that sells it.  The influence of marketing and advertising  is all around us, from product names to promises made of life changing results.  As consumers we are on a quest to look younger, eat better foods, have the best technology, and the list goes on.  But stripped down, isn’t it all the same?

So it is with this simply good dinner.  If you say you’re preparing a French Lemon Chicken or say you bought a chicken to roast from the Teeter, in the end you’ll end up with a fragrant and juicy roast at your dinner table.  But say it like you mean it and describe it well, and your family will think it is tastier even before they eat.  Crispy skin, tender and juicy meat, stop me before I drool!  Make it soon and you’ll see how easy it is, no false advertising here.  Hands down the baguette in the chicken “gravy” is the favorite of both my children.  So if you’re short on dinner ideas and have time to roast, enjoy the best of this simple dinner when you can.

Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette…

So sorry for the lack of precise measurements here, when I know I’m blogging I try to measure but I had no idea I would be sharing this later.  But, with no measurements and only your taste buds, you can do it also!  In a small mason jar I squeezed the juice of one lemon.  Then I poured in olive oil, about as much oil as lemon juice, maybe a little less, just visually mark the line by looking at the side of the jar.  Then I generously shook grated parmesan into it, probably 3-4 good shakes, added a clove of crushed garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper, then shake it until combined.  Simple goodness you can adjust to make your own…add Dijon, fresh herbs, more or less lemon juice, add some champagne vinegar-play with your food!  Toss lightly with butter lettuce or nice greens and any other salad ingredients you want to include.

Whole Roasted Lemon Chicken & Roasted Organic Carrots…

Remove parts from cavity of a whole chicken, rinse cavity then pat dry inside and out with paper towels.  Set chicken in shallow roasting pan, a 9×13 will work just fine.  Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, then squeeze the juice of a lemon that has been cut into wedges over the bird.  Stuff the squeezed lemon wedges into cavity of bird and a few in the pan, along with any fresh herbs you have in your produce drawer or herb garden.  (I think tonight I put some sage and parsley I had snipped a few days ago inside my chicken.  Then, if you happen to have some herbes de provence or another favorite seasoning, sprinkle it on the outside of bird, then you can fancy the name up a bit more!)  Season well outside with salt and pepper.  Peel 2 or 3 carrots and cut into 1″ pieces, then strew in bottom of pan with some of the lemons wedges.  Get creative here, add quartered sweet onions, or whole baby potatoes to the dish- go crazy in your kitchen!  Let bird sit out while oven preheats to 425 degrees.  Place chicken in preheated oven and roast for about 30 minutes before turning the heat down to 375.  Roast an average 4-5 pound bird for about 1 hour and fifteen minutes to one hour and a half, legs will wiggle tons when its done, or you can also check for 165 on meat thermometer if you don’t trust the wiggle test.  Remove from oven, transfer chicken to serving plate and place carrots around the golden brown and crispy chicken, and follow directions below for serving the pan juices with baguette.

Baguette with “chicken drippings gravy”…

I will go ahead and say right now that some of you may find this entirely too rich, too fattening, whatever you want to call it.  We find it simply delicious and no different than spreading bread with butter.  But to each their own, it makes the world go around, right?  That said…All I did was simply was remove the roast chicken from roasting pan to a plate as mentioned above.  Next I sliced my warmed bread into rounds and placed in a shallow rim soup bowl.  Pour all of the pan drippings in chicken pan over the bread, allowing it to sit in juices.  By the time you call everyone to the table the bread will have soaked it up like a little flavor sponge and you’ll be soaking round two before you know it!   “I can’t believe it’s not butter”is right… this is Chicken drippings gravy butter, Enjoy!

**Ina Garten has a similar recipe for Lemon Roast Chicken with Croutons.  I find my adaptation is simpler, and a little lighter as the bread only soaks in juices instead of being tossed in olive oil to make croutons.  I have made lemon roast chicken for years before ever even hearing of Ina Garten, but it was a more Southern style chicken served most often with biscuits.  Both are delicious, try and see, and come up with your family own favorite recipe.

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