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Simple Roast Chicken

Community training dinner, 5/21/12

Roasted chicken, carved and ready to eat.

Roasting a whole chicken can seem scary, but it’s actually very simple to do. Whole chicken is often less expensive than chicken pieces, and as a bonus, you can save the bones to make chicken stock.

  • 1 broiler chicken
  • 1/2 lemon (optional)
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)*
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or 2/3 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (preferably freshly ground)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If you have a cast-iron skillet, place it in the oven to heat.

Rinse the chicken under cold water, then pat completely dry with paper towels. Place the half lemon and thyme sprigs inside the cavity of the chicken (if using), then season the chicken all over with the salt and pepper. Tuck the wings under the chicken.

If using a cast-iron skillet, place the chicken directly into the hot skillet in the oven. Otherwise, place the chicken breast-side up in a roasting pan and place in the oven.

Roast for 50-60 minutes (you don’t have to do anything while it’s cooking), until the temperature inside the thigh is 165 degrees and juices that come out when the thigh is pierced are clear.

Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving. Save the bones for making chicken stock.

Serves 4-8, depending on the size of your chicken and how hungry you are.

*Thyme can be grown in your own garden.

Roasted chicken, served alongside potatoes with peas and bacon and spring salad

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Spring Salad with Chili-spiced Croutons and Dressing

Committee meeting working lunch, 3/22/12

This salad makes great use of early spring produce. Feel free to use whatever vegetables are fresh in the store, farmers market, or your own garden. For a simpler version of this salad, click here.

Croutons (optional):

  • 1 cup cubed stale bread
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable, canola, or olive oil
  • large pinch salt
  • ½ teaspoon mild chili powder

Salad:

  • 1 head lettuce, any variety, or 5-7 oz leaf or pre-cut lettuce*
  • ¼ cup parsley*
  • 6 radishes*
  • 3 scallions/green onions*

Dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • large pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon mild chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable, canola, or olive oil

Croutons (optional):
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss all ingredients in a bowl, then spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crisp. Allow to cool.

Salad:
If using head lettuce, wash and dry leaves (shake, use a salad spinner, use towels, or air-dry), then cut or tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Take parsley leaves off the stems and add them to the lettuce. Wash, dry, and thinly slice the radishes, then add to lettuce. Wash, dry, and thinly slice the green portions of the scallions (reserve the white part for another use), then add to lettuce.

Dressing:
Finely mince the garlic. Add a large pinch of salt to the garlic on the cutting board and continue to mince, then use the side of your knife to grind the salted garlic into a paste. Get it as smooth as you can, but don’t worry if there are still some larger pieces. Scrape the garlic paste into a small bowl. Add lemon juice and chili powder and mix well with a fork. Add oil and mix well.

Assembly:
Toss salad with dressing and croutons (if using) and serve.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

*Early spring garden produce that can be grown here in Nebraska

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Committee meeting working lunch, 11/29/11 – served as a loaf

Community meeting/training dinner, 2/27/12 – served as iced squares

loaves made with roasted butternut squash


This recipe is very adaptable and always a hit. It works equally well with canned pumpkin, cooked and mashed fresh pumpkin, or cooked squash of any kind. It is also delicious with canned or cooked mashed sweet potatoes.

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • heaping ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • heaping ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • heaping ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • 2 cups cooked mashed squash (canned pumpkin, or any cooked mashed squash or sweet potatoes)*
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 eggs

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