I love when the days get longer. It feels like we have so much more time. Yesterday we went for a brief hike after work. We hiked a few miles on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail near Beacon Heights.
Ok, don't look at the goobers in this picture, but check out the mountains behind us. That is where we live, and we love it! It is such a blessing to be able to see so much of nature every single day.
We didn't get home until after 7, so I threw some chicken in the oven for a quick roasted meal. This has seriously got to be the easiest dinner you could ever make. It takes a few minutes to throw together, but then you can just sit down and wait … or tackle that monstrous pile of laundry that you've been ignoring for days.
Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
Place cast skillet in oven and heat to 350. Wash chicken and remove any skin. Pat dry and coat with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and any spices or herbs on one side of chicken and rub to get it to stick. I used some dried sage, rosemary, oregano and thyme. Remove skillet (carefully!) from oven, place chicken on skillet, and season other side. Cook the chicken until you think it is about half way done (approximately 30 minutes for two large breasts or 15 for smaller pieces like thighs or drumsticks).
While the chicken is cooking, chop up any vegetables suitable for roasting into large chunks. I often use this as a way to clean out the fridge from vegetables that won't last much longer. For this particular dish, I used onions, garlic, zucchini, red and green peppers, and tomatoes. You can pretty much roast anything. Potatoes would be good to throw in if you have them. Add a little olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs to your vegetables and give them a good mix.
Once the chicken is about half way done, throw the vegetables into the skillet, around the chicken and put back in the oven. At this point I typically bump the heat up to 375 or 400. Stir the vegetables once or twice during the last cooking phase. Cook until the chicken registers 160 on a meat thermometer.
Let the chicken and vegetables rest for 10 minutes, then throw the whole skillet on the table and let them dig in.
*Note – all chicken cooks differently depending on the size and whether or not it is still partially frozen. Keep a close eye to make sure it isn't getting overdone. The government says breast pieces should reach 170, but if you wait until then to pull it out of the oven, the meat will be dry and falling off the bone. If you let the meat rest when it comes out of the oven, it should rise another 10 degrees or so. You have to decide for yourself if the chicken is cooked enough.