Roasted Chicken, Apples and Leeks, with Pumpkin and a Side Salad.

10-3-11 Dinner Blog

Roasted Chicken, Apples, Leeks, with Pumpkin and a Side Salad

Sunday Pre-Prep

I shopped and prepped for the week on Sunday.  While I normally only spend about 45 minutes prepping, I actually spent just over an hour this time.

Washed and cut all the leeks

Peeled and cut the sweet potatoes

Washed and cut the kale

Washed and cut the chicken

Made the tomatillo salsa for Wednesday

Baked the pumpkin

Why the extra time?  I blame it on the leeks and the kale!  Because the soup and chicken recipes serve 6 and 4 respectively, and I plan to serve variations of these meals on two different nights, I had to pro-rate my ingredients, which left me washing and cutting 8 leeks!  I did not add any additional kale, but washing each leaf and cutting the stem out, is a bit time intensive.

That said, kale is soooo healthy and I know I do not serve enough of it so I am not ready to abandon the kale.  Keeping the kale in the recipe and taking the time to prepare it might be worth it.  The flavor of the soup and my family’s ratings will be the test.  But I am wondering whether or not I could do a combination of leeks and onions instead of having to prep all those leeks. Onions I can purchase pre-chopped, which would reduce my prep time.  More on that later…

Monday Dinner Prep

Thank goodness I shopped and prepped on Sunday.  My day was packed with meetings, volunteer work at school, and carpooling.  I started with my first meeting at 8:30 and didn’t come home to start dinner until 5:40.  My son and I had another meeting at 7 so I was going to have to get going!

I pre-heated the oven to 400, laid out two roasting pans and lightly sprayed olive oil (you can substitute canola oil spray).  I cut the apples and pears and then dumped them along with the leeks and rosemary in the roasting pans, lightly salting and mixing them together.

Moments from putting the Roasted Chicken, Apples, Pears, and Leeks in the oven

The chicken came next which I nestled among the fruit and leeks. I sprayed a bit more olive oil to make sure the chicken was coated, and then popped the trays in the oven for about 35 minutes.

While I was waiting for the chicken, I made a side salad with tomatoes and avocado, and lightly drizzled no oil salad dressing.  For my husband and I also sprinkled some raw granola and sprayed a bit of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. Then I got one container of pumpkin out of the fridge.

(On Sunday, I had done most of the pumpkin pre-prep. I had cut the pumpkin, scooped out the seeds, and baked each half, flat side down, in a roasting pan with 1/2” of water for about an hour. Once I could pierce the skin of the pumpkin easily with a fork, I knew it was done.  I let it cool a bit, which also gave time for some of the steam in the pumpkin to evaporate. Lastly, I scooped the meat out of the shell and stored it in two containers in the fridge.)

So getting the pumpkin on the plates last night was easy! I spooned the pumpkin into a bowl, adding ¼ t cinnamon, ¼ t salt, and warming for 1 ½ minutes in the microwave.  Then I added 1 t “butter” (I used Earth Balance, a plant based margarine), and ¾ T maple syrup and stirred everything together.

Once the chicken was ready, I warmed the pumpkin again for 1 minute in the microwave and served the meal, grinding a bit of pepper on the adult servings of chicken.

Serving Roasted Chicken, Apples, Leeks, Pumpkin and a Side Salad

The Verdict

9’s all around!  My daughter had the highest rating of a 9.25…  Everyone felt the chicken was very flavorful and the cooked, soft fruit was a hit. They also ate the leeks and never even asked about them, but if you think your kids would object, just serve the chicken and fruit and leave off the leeks.  As for the pumpkin, it was a show stealer – everyone LOVED it and said it reminded them of pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving!

…And a bountiful dinner it was!

Kid's Portion of Roasted Chicken, Apples, Leeks, Pumpkin and a Side salad

The Recipe

From Real Simple’s Easy Delicious Meals

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids for 2 meals – or reinvent the chicken the second night and make enchiladas or tacos.

Ingredients:

4 Apples, quartered

4 Pears, quartered

2 Leeks (white and light green parts), halved crosswise and lengthwise

6 Small sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 T Olive oil

1 t Kosher salt

¼ t Pepper

3.0 lbs. Boneless skinless chicken breasts

2.0 lbs. Drumsticks, skin peeled off

Greens for salad and toppings

Pumpkin (already steamed in the oven and scooped from the shell)

For the pumpkin:

¼ t Cinnamon

¼ t Salt

1 t Butter/ Earth Balance margarine

¾ T Maple syrup

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400

  1. Lightly spray olive oil in two large roasting pans.
  2. Add the apples, pears, leeks, salt, and pepper, and spray lightly again.
  3. Add the chicken and rosemary and spray lightly again and nestle the chicken into the fruit and leek mixture.
  4. Roast the chicken for 30-40 minutes.
  5. While chicken is cooking prepare a side salad with salad toppings and low fat salad dressing, and prepare the pumpkin.
  6. Warm pumpkin in the microwave with cinnamon and salt.
  7. Add butter and maple syrup to the pumpkin and mix well.
  8. Once chicken is ready, warm pumpkin mixture and serve!
  9. See if this recipe doesn’t have “Fall Harvest” written all over it!

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