Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs with Carrots and Potatoes

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I love a cheap, no-brainer dinner! This meal was finished in under an hour, so that makes it even more appealing to lazy people like me. Everyone enjoyed the flavor of this, and I’m not ashamed to say it – but the skin was the highlight of this meal! Normally, I would pull it off and not indulge; but it looked way to crispy to pass up. It was like a salty, chicken flavored chip! Even my picky eater happily finished her portion, and wanted everyone else’s crispy skin. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs with Carrots and Potatoes – adapted from Epicurious

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 large chicken thighs with skin and bones (preferably organic; about 2 1/4 pounds total)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • 2 pounds unpeeled medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 2-inch-long, 1/2-inch-thick spears
  • 2 pounds medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch-long, 1/2-inch-thick spears
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Directions –

Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Place chicken on baking sheet. Turn to coat with oil and set skin side up. Mix salt, thyme, 1½ teaspoons pepper, and nutmeg in small bowl. Sprinkle half of mixture over chicken. Roast until chicken starts to brown and some fat has rendered, about 30 minutes. Transfer thighs to medium bowl; set aside.

Meanwhile, combine potatoes, carrots, 2 tablespoons oil, and remaining salt thyme mixture in large bowl. Transfer potato-carrot mixture to same baking sheet; turn to coat with drippings. Roast until vegetables soften, 30 minutes.

Place thighs on vegetables; pour accumulated juices from chicken over. Return sheet to oven. Roast until chicken is cooked and vegetables brown, 15 minutes longer.

Place chicken on platter; top with chives.

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Creamy Tomato Soup

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Quick Post: As a kid, I hated tomato soup…but that was the condensed kind, so I had every right! 😉 Because of that bad experience, I have only recently tried tomato soup again. I was a little obsessed with Panera’s creamy tomato soup and adult grilled cheese, and decided that I needed to recreate that meal at home. This batch makes quite a lot of soup, but it freezes beautifully! My kids loved this and agree that I need to make it again 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Creamy Tomato Soup –

  • 2 TBSP olive oil or butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 – 28 ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano or other good quality is best)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp. raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Parmesan cheese, optional

*Special Equipment – immersion blender, food processor or blender

Directions –

1. Heat up oil or butter in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic (if using), stirring constantly, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme and stock. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

3. Remove the thyme, and carefully puree the soup. ( I used my immersion blender in the pot, while using the pot lid as a shield 😉 It worked great!).

4. Whisk in cream; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with Parmesan if desired.

Penne and Shrimp with Vodka Cream Sauce

Quick Post: This is quick, easy and it makes a lot of food, so it’s perfect for company.  I used this recipe, but I didn’t have white wine but I did have vodka. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Penne and Shrimp with Vodka Cream Sauce – adapted from The Pioneer Woman
  • 3/4 pounds Penne Pasta (I used a pound)
  • 1 pound Shrimp (I used 1.5 pounds, we love shrimp)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Onion (small)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup vodka (or white wine)
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • Salt To Taste
  • Pepper To Taste
  • lots of Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil, if you have it

Preparation Instructions

Cook the penne pasta until tender-firm, also known as al dente.

Peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) 1 pound of extra large shrimp. Heat about 1 tbsp. butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Now, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board and pull off the tails. Chop the shrimp into bite –sized pieces and set aside.

Finely dice one small onion. Mince two cloves of garlic.
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked a bit add your vodka or white wine. Let the vodka or wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. If you would rather not use alcohol, you can use low-sodium chicken broth instead (about ½ cup).

Now add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce. Stir well until combined. Then add 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.

Now chop your herbs, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley and about the same amount of chopped basil, or if you’re feeling very proper, chiffonaded.

Now add your chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in your herbs and stir until combined. Finally add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir.

Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup

Sometimes I base my dinner choices on what the weather will be like at night. We finally got our first cold snap here, and I was more than willing to take advantage of it. I love hearty soups and comforting main dishes like roasted chicken, pot pies and pot roasts on nights like these. What better way to warm your tummy than with something spicy, but not too heavy. I paired the soup with Parker House rolls for dipping, but a nice green salad would be a great accompaniment, too – but I was going for comfort here 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup –
  • 1 pound lentils, picked through and rinsed well
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage (I used 2 links hot, 2 links mild)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 stalks diced celery
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (because I had some left over, you can use all stock or broth, if you’d prefer)
  • hot water if needed
  • 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • grated Parmesan

Directions –

In a 6 quart dutch oven over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add in the Italian sausage. Brown the sausage until it is cooked through. Drain and set aside. In the same pot, add in the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, herbs and spices, cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken stock, vegetable stock, water (if needed), canned tomatoes, sausage, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally. Add water as needed to adjust the consistency of the soup. Check the seasonings – add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Oh, TG leftovers, how I appreciate you! It’s so nice having leftovers that are easily turned into a whole new dish. Take the ham bone for instance – it doesn’t seem like much, but it lends rich flavor to this soup. I chopped up some leftover ham and added it to the pot towards the end of cooking right after using my stick blender to puree some of the soup. The flavor is warm and comforting and this may become a new Thanksgiving leftover tradition for my family 🙂 It’s so cheap to make too, and all I needed to buy was the navy beans because I had all the stock, veggies and herbs I needed for this. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Navy Bean and Ham Soup –

  • 1 pound navy beans, soaked for 6 to 8 hours
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • thyme, rosemary, bay leaf – tied with kitchen string
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 2-3 cups diced ham
  • 8 cups chicken stock or water

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven combine the beans, herb bundle, ham bone, onions, and garlic with the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and adjust the heat so the soup cooks at a gentle simmer, about 1-1/2 hours.

Add the chopped vegetables and beans. Cook for another hour, until the vegetables are soft, the beans are completely tender, and the ham meat easily pulls away from the bone. Pull the meat off the bone and discard the bones.

Turn off the heat and remove the ham bone. Cool slightly. Remove the meat from the ham bone, discarding the bones, fat, and skin. Cut the meat into small cubes. Remove the herb bundle and discard.

Puree about 3 cups of the beans with a some of the liquid in a blender or use your stick blender. (For a smoother soup puree all the beans.) Stir the puree and diced meat into the soup along with the chopped ham. Heat the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.