Spring is a time to shake off winter’s grasp and enjoy warmer weather by grilling and dining al fresco. Sometimes, though, a spring shower can ruin those plans and make a whole day feel dreary and dull. On rainy spring days, I like to turn on my oven and put in an easy, minimally-intensive meal. The aroma of roasting chicken and vegetables will perk up any grey day!
Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
- 2 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts
- 3 medium sized zucchini, sliced to 1/2″ thickness
- 8 oz. mushrooms, halved
- 1 red onion, sliced into 8 wedges
- 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tbsp. dried rosemary, crushed
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large (9″x13″) baking dish or roasting pan, combine zucchini, mushrooms, onion, garlic, and olive oil. Toss well to combine and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.
- While the vegetables are cooking, combine 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and all of the rosemary in a small bowl. Using your fingers, gently loose the skin from the chicken meat on each breast. Spread the rosemary mixture evenly on each chicken breast under the skin. Replace the skin, and sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt.
- After 15 minutes, place the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables. Continue cooking for 35 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving
Dessert is a meal that can be exceptionally difficult when you’re cooking for two people. Measurements get tricky, baking times must be adjusted, and it’s usually more trouble than it’s worth. Happily, these individual blueberry cobblers are easy to make and require no special ramekins or dessert vessels. They’re baked in 2-cup Pyrex storage containers. The Pyrex storage containers are a good investment- they make excellent prep bowls, baking dishes, and storage containers. You could also bake these in similarly sized Mason jars.
Individual Blueberry Cobblers
- 6 oz. blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter (3/4 of a stick), melted
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine flour, sugar, and butter in a medium bowl and mix until a soft dough forms. The dough may be a little crumbly, but should still hold together well when you press it.
- Distribute blueberries equally in two Pyrex bowls, and top each with equal amounts of dough, pressing the dough gently onto the blueberries.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until crust is golden and blueberries bubbly. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then serve. (They’re extra delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!)
Broccoli salad is a cool, refreshing side dish that complements just about any grilled meat. It’s easy to make, and best of all, nearly any vegetables you have in the refrigerator can go in it. If you don’t have some of the vegetables listed, skip them or substitute something you have on hand. You can even include chopped nuts (like pecans or almonds) or raisins. This recipe makes two large side dish servings that won’t leave you hungry!
- 1/3 c. mayonnaise
- 1/2 tbsp. white wine or rice vinegar
- 4 strips bacon, cut into 1/4″ pieces
- 1 lb. broccoli, trimmed and broken into small florets
- 1/2 c. red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 c. red onion, chopped
- 1 c. red cabbage, sliced
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Blanch the broccoli: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add broccoli, and boil for about 3 minutes or until bright green but still firm. Immediately remove the broccoli using tongs or a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water. (This stops the cooking process and preserves the color and texture of the broccoli.)
- Fry bacon: place pieces in a cold skillet and place over medium heat. When bacon pieces release their fat and move easily, stir and flip until all pieces are cooked. The sizzling noise will subside and the bacon will no longer be pink, white, or translucent (except for the very fatty pieces). Remove the bacon pieces to a plate covered with a paper towel and allow to cool. (I recommend reserving the bacon drippings from the pan for a future use.)
- Whisk mayonnaise and vinegar together in a medium bowl. Add cooked broccoli, bell pepper, onion, cabbage, celery, and bacon. Stir with a large spoon or spatula until vegetables are well coated with mayonnaise and vinegar mixture. Add bacon pieces, salt and pepper to taste, and stir again.
- Broccoli salad can be prepared and refrigerated for 2-3 hours or served immediately.
Spring is a great time to grill: the weather is warm and mild without any of the humid, oppressive heat of summer. It’s a leisurely weekend activity for those with charcoal grills; propane grills are more weeknight-friendly.
These chicken breasts are marinated for a few hours in a delicious mixture of honey, mustard, and spices. They’re juicy and flavorful. Serve them with fresh grilled vegetables, a potato salad, or slaw, and you’ll have a perfect warm-weather meal.
Honey Mustard Marinated Chicken
- 1/2 c. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 c. honey
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt (or any type with large, coarse flakes)
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- To make the marinade, whisk together all ingredients except chicken in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag and pour in about 2/3 of the marinade, reserving the other 1/3. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag several times to coat the chicken, then refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard bag. Grill chicken over direct medium heat* for about 8 minutes, or until chicken is firm to the touch, turning once. Brush chicken with reserved marinade while grilling. Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
*Direct medium heat means cooking the food directly over the heat source at medium heat, between 350-450 degrees F.