Christina Clark 15 min. 55 min.

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“Chicken?” you say. Well, this is not an entirely vegetarian blog. My goal is to teach you how to use meat sparingly. In my family, we try to apply this principle by eating meat only a couple nights per week. But for some, I know this would not be an acceptable option. So periodically, I am going to post recipes that include some meat specifically to illustrate how to use less of it.

This dish is a prime example. First, I need to make it clear that this is not really my recipe. The delicious original dish comes from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine. My version simply has less meat and more vegetables. But it makes a big difference! The original recipe calls for a whole chicken – 3 to 3 1/2 pounds! While this does include bones, that is still A LOT of meat for 4 people to consume in one meal. I have reduced the meat to 3/4 pound of boneless, skinless breast meat, cup up into small-ish pieces. This way, instead of the meat being the focus of the dish with the vegetables as a sort of flavor-enhancing garnish, the vegetables are the bulk of the meal, and the meat adds some extra flavor and also satisfies those people (who may reside in your household) who simply cannot tolerate a meal without meat! If you have one in your home, don’t despair; I have lots of ideas to help you stay healthy and gradually reign in your carnivore!

For starters, simply try halving the meat and doubling the vegetables. This is very easy to do in soups, pasta, casseroles, or other dishes where the ingredients are all mixed together. If there are no vegetables in your recipe, or if it just seems like too much of one thing to add even more potatoes (or whatever), try introducing a new vegetable that complements the flavors already present. In this dish, I thought it needed more variety and color anyway, so I added carrots. I used baby carrots to cut down on peeling and chopping time, so the preparation is a snap.

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Roasted Vegetables with a little Chicken

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs red potatoes
1 large red onion
8 ounces baby carrots (approximately)
8 cloves garlic
1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (divided)
1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
3/4 pound boneless chicken

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Scrub the potatoes, dry, and cut into large pieces. Cut the onion into six or eight wedges. Separate the garlic cloves but do not peel. Quarter the lemon. Put vegetables and garlic in a baking dish; I used an 9×13 casserole. Squeeze the lemon wedges over the vegetables, then place on top. Salt and pepper everything generously, and drizzle with 3 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with thyme and stir to coat. Check to make sure there are no thin onion edges sticking up because they will burn black! Place in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, cut the chicken into 2-inch pieces (see picture at the end of the post to approximate the size of the pieces). Season with salt and pepper and pour the remaining tbsp of olive oil and tbsp of vinegar over the chicken to marinate slightly. Place in the fridge while the vegetables cook. When the 40 minutes are up, pour the chicken and liquid over the vegetables. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes more. Check to make sure the carrots and chicken are done, and cook a few minutes longer if needed. Discard the lemons wedges.

When you are ready to eat, make sure you squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins onto the vegetables. They are so delicious!

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The picture below shows the dish after baking for 40 minutes, with the raw chicken added, for a reference of how large to cut the pieces (sorry it’s not beautiful!)

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