I pick up a lot of different magazines while I’m waiting in check-out lines. One day last November, it was Real Simple that I tossed into my cart. I’ve never subscribed, but I have read issues of it before here and there. The food section always grabs my attention. The photos make the food look irresistible, and the recipes actually are 'real simple.' I cut a couple of pages from that November issue and just recently got around to trying two different dishes. Since I had a bounty of fresh, local carrots last week, the timing was right for the roasted chicken and carrots recipe. This meal couldn’t have been easier as everything roasted together on one baking sheet and required no work while it cooked.
I was thrilled to have bay leaves and a lemon from my own trees to use in this dish, and they were combined with the carrots, seasoned chicken, and olives on a baking sheet. Whenever I’m planning to have chicken for dinner, I now always follow Judy Rodgers' advice regarding seasoning it early. I cut the whole chicken into pieces and seasoned them with salt and pepper early in the day. The pieces were covered and left in the refrigerator for several hours. Once everything was on the baking sheet and tossed with olive oil, some paprika was sprinkled on the chicken for additional seasoning. Then, it baked for about an hour. I did turn the carrots and the smaller pieces of chicken at the half-way point just to be sure nothing got too brown on one side. A sauce from the lemons and olive oil formed on the baking sheet while everything roasted, and it mingled its way around flavoring the chicken and carrots nicely. The olives added a salty, savory bite to this low-maintenance meal.
For a previous meal, I tried the broccoli and gruyere gratin which was also in the November issue. I changed it up just a little by using a mix of broccoli and cauliflower, but otherwise, I stuck to the recipe as it was. A simple bechamel was made, and grated gruyere was melted into it. The sauce was tossed with steamed broccoli and cauliflower, the mixture went into a baking dish, it was topped with more cheese, and it baked until bubbly and browned. It was another winner. Both these recipes resulted in simple and delicious dishes, and now I’ll be flipping to the recipes section a little faster with future issues.