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Easy Weekday Entertaining

The cooler nights and crisp mornings of Fall are here and are leaving me yearning for all of my favorite comfort foods.  Along with those familiar feelings of Fall come busy hectic schedules of back to school, weekend football games and weekend trips.  It is tempting to get swept up into all of the routine and forget to enjoy ourselves and each other.  Of course, entertaining is my favorite way to connect with friends and family.  While it can be easy to forget about entertaining until the holidays roll around, for me, there is nothing better than preparing a warm cozy dinner for friends this time of year. 

For many people, entertaining means snacks, dips and finger foods, but I love to have friends over for a real "sit down" dinner in the dining room.   Everyone's weekends are probably full with activities and travel, so invite friends over for a week night dinner.   It doesn't have to be fancy, in fact, it is better when it is not!  I like casual, delicious meals that make everyone feel comfortable.  I love menus that can be served at the table family style - it makes everyone feel like family!

While hosting a dinner party can at times seem like a stressful endeavor, the secret is to make it really simple.  I prepare menus that can be made completely ahead of time so I'm not stuck in the kitchen during the party or running around at the last minute.  Another tip is to make something that bakes in the oven versus on the stove top.  If it is cooking on the stove, you have to watch it and continually stir it.  I like to make a tried and true recipe that bakes away in the oven (like this "Easy Entertaining Roasted Chicken"), then all I have to do is put it in the oven and it cooks itself.  My guests will instantly feel at ease when they arrive and smell the wonderful aroma of garlic, lemon and herbs. 

I hope this Easy Entertaining Roasted Chicken recipe will encourage you to entertain more often during this busy and wonderful season.



Easy Entertaining Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken

1 head of garlic, cut in half

1 lemon, quartered

1 small bunch of fresh thyme

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 tablespoon of sea salt

2 teaspoons of cracked pepper

3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound of small potatoes, quartered

1 red onion, quartered

Begin by placing the chicken in a medium roasting pan or casserole dish.  Stuff the inside of the chicken with the head of garlic, 2 pieces of lemon, and thyme.  Place the sliced carrots, potatoes and onions around the chicken.  Squeeze the 2 remaining lemon wedges over the chicken and vegetables, and place them in the pan with the vegetables.  Next, drizzle olive oil over the entire chicken and all of the vegetables.  Roast, uncovered in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on the size of the chicken).

Serve directly in the roasting pan, or put it on a pretty platter with the vegetables surrounding the chicken.  Be sure to spoon the juice that accumulated in the bottom of the pan over the chicken and vegetables when serving.




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