I spent Sunday evening slaving away in the kitchen. Not really, but I started prepping dinner around 5:00 and was in and out of the kitchen until we ate around 7:30. With the forecast showing temperatures dipping into the 50s and 60s (gasp!) later this week, I was inspired to make dinner with some fall flavors. I normally save lengthier recipes for Sunday evenings when I have a little more time, and this meal worked out perfectly because I was able to finish up some housework while things were in the oven.
On the menu...
- Roasted Chicken
- Butternut Squash
- Asparagus (not seasonal or local, but looked pretty good at Trader Joe's)
- Pumpkin Cake
Let’s start with the chicken. We received a couple whole chickens from our CSA, and they’ve been mocking me in the freezer for a few weeks now. I’m not confident in my meat-cooking abilities and don’t particularly love it, so I just kept that freezer door shut while I mustered up my courage. Truth be told, my freezer started getting crowded as we accumulated more CSA goodies and my OCD tendencies prompted me to cook the gosh-darn chicken, so I didn’t have a panic attack every time I needed ice.
I’m happy to report, cooking the whole chicken is WAY less intimidating that I thought. I turned to my girl, Ina, for my basic recipe (since she seems to roast a chicken for Jeffrey every other day) and changed a few minor ingredients after looking at some other recipes.
- Whole chicken (giblets removed)
- Bunches of thyme and rosemary (or other favorite herbs)
- Lemon sliced in half
- Few cloves of garlic
- Yellow onion roughly chopped into large pieces (could use celery instead)
- 2-3 tablespoons melted butter
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Rinse the chicken inside and out. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme and rosemary, both halves of lemon, all the garlic, and few slices of onion. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
- Roast the chicken for 1 hour and 15 minutes. With a meat thermometer, check to make sure the chicken has reached 180 degrees. Cover with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
To finish out the meal, I made a pumpkin dump cake. I made one of these a LONG time ago, like 7 years ago for a friend's 22nd birthday, and I was inspired by one of those "Tasty" videos that people post on Facebook. Even though I rarely make whatever recipe is on the "Tasty" video, those things are memorizing. I'm always in awe of the efficiency of the cook. Here's the recipe I used. Some people add about a cup of pecans on top, but I'm not a big fan.
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
- 1 (12 fluid ounce) can nonfat evaporated milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Stir in the milk, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Pour pumpkin mixture into the prepared pan.
- Sprinkle the yellow cake mix over the pumpkin mixture. Drizzle melted butter over all. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool.
There you have it, folks. As much as I love fresh summer veggies, I like cooking with butternut squash, sweet potatoes, apples, and of course, pumpkin through the fall!