Roasted Chicken, Butternut Squash Fries and Sautéed Brussels w. Pancetta!

I was never raised as one item dinner person. The idea of serving only one thing at dinner is baffling. Maybe it’s because I like well balanced meals with color and an array of flavors? Or maybe its because I just thoroughly enjoy eating more than one thing during a course of a meal. This meal in particular consisted of two things I’ve never made before; the Brussels and the chicken, and it consisted of a home special... Roasted butternut squash fries (or as some people call them the: sweet potatoe thingys, orange veggie things, and those really good things you make).

                Butternut squash is one of my top 5 things to make. It’s always a hit and I even got my roommate to try them and he loves them! The only annoying part is the pealing and chopping. When I would make my friend Chari peel and chop she would dread that she even had asked to help. Recently she said if I plan to make them than she will stop on her way over and get precut up butternut squash. I’ve now taken her off that duty and only inflict that pain on myself.

Butternut Squash Fries:

·         Any size butternut squash – depending on how many you wish to feed

·         Sea salt

·         Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut up the squash in either squares (1/2 inch in size) or slice them the long way. The way you cut them is irrelevant as long as they are not too thick because than it will take forever to cook. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil, lay the squash in one single layer on the baking sheet and spray them with the olive oil spray. Sprinkle with sea salt and place in the oven for 30 minutes turning half way through.

 

 

  

 
 

 

The main dish for this meal was roasted drumsticks and thighs. Why I chose only these pieces is because when I stumble upon cheap proteins that can feed more than just me and my roommate I jump at them, I mean when is it ever just me and V? I got 4 lbs. of drumsticks and thighs for around $7.00!!

I thought this chicken had just enough of a hidden kick while still sticking to the simplicity of roasted chicken with few ingredients.

Spiced butter Roasted Chicken:

·         Glass baking dish ( 9x 13)

·         4 lbs. of drumsticks and thighs

·         3 tbsp. butter

·         1 tsp. – 2 tsp. Hot sauce – I like Tapatio

·         1 sweet onion - chopped

·         2 tbsp. Thyme

·         ½ tsp. Cayenne

·         1 tbsp. Cumin

·         2 tbsp. Garlic Powder

·         Salt pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all the dry spices in a small bowl and set aside

While the oven is warming put the butter in the baking dish and place in the oven so the butter melts (about 2 – 3 minutes). Once butter is melted remove from the oven and spread it around the pan evenly. Add your favorite hot sauce to the melted butter and make sure it’s dispersed evenly. Place the chicken in the baking dish and coat both sides with the butter mixture and end with the skin side up. Spread the chopped onion all over the chicken and even try to get it in between the pieces in the butter mixture.

Sprinkle the spice mixture over all the chicken, turn the chicken over again in the butter mixture returning it to the skin side up position.

Place in the oven for 40 minutes than turn to coat once more. Leave in for another 20 more minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.

Now for the amazing Brussel Sprouts…

I usually don’t cook with pancetta because it’s a little too pricey for my budget, but for some reason the last time I was at trader Joes it called out for me. This recipe could be made with or without the pancetta and could be subbed with turkey bacon or regular bacon, if you wanted to get the Smokey flavor. What really made this recipe for me was the LEMON ZEST. What a simple thing that literally rocked my taste buds. I recently purchased a micro plane zester and have been zesting every citrus I could get my hands on. In this dish the zest was the main focus, not the vibrant green it surrounded itself by.

Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta:

  • 1 lb. Brussel Sprouts 
  • 1 lemon 
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil 
  • ¼ cup chopped pancetta 
  • Grated Pecorino Romano – for garnish

Rinse the Brussels, cut the stems off and cut the Brussels into quarters (any pieces that fall off can still be used). Add them to a pot of boiling water and boil them for 2 minutes (this is don’t to speed up the cooking process). While they are boiling heat the olive oil in a sauté pan. Once hot enough and spread around the pan add the chopped pancetta. Once the pancetta is browned and crispy add the Brussels and sauté for about 5 -10 minutes on medium heat, until all flavors are combined.  Once removed from heat and put into a bowl, zest a whole lemon than squeeze a quarter of the lemon on the Brussels. Once that step is complete sprinkle a little bit of the pecorino romano cheese on top.

Serve and gobble it up because it’s amazing!