Real Simple

Real Simple

The following appeared on 6/3/09 at Exit 51.

Real Simple

I love the idea of leading a simple life.  I just wish I could figure out how to go about doing that.  If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.  Sure, there is an entire industry of lifestyle guides and magazines that want you to think that if you buy their products then your life can be as perfect as their glossy magazine photos.  Call me a cynic, but I don’t buy into that. I don’t see how stimulating the economy by buying their stuff is going to change my life.  In a recent moment of ‘what the heck was I thinking’ I grabbed one of those magazines while I was in line at the grocery store.  The only thing I saved was a recipe.

The one area where I do find ways to simplify is cooking.  Because until I learn the secrets to lead the simple life, cooking is the one thing that must be flexible, to fit into my schedule instead of making my schedule accommodate it.  Occasionally, let’s call it rarely, I will go all out on a dish that requires constant tending and fussing.  But I don’t really enjoy that.  It’s no fun for me to stand at the stove counting minutes.  I’d rather set it, and forget it.

So it should be no surprise that I tend to gravitate towards recipes that don’t chain me to the stove.  Especially when the temperatures soar into the 90’s and our entire house turns into an oven, like it did recently.  Despite the ungodly heat, I fired up the oven to 400 degrees for a real simple dinner.  And then I promptly stationed myself on the sofa where I could pretend that the hot air coming from the fan was in fact a delightful spring breeze.  What can I say, sometimes the simple life ain’t so simple.

What is pretty simple, though, is this recipe for Maple Roasted Chicken.  Instead of cut up chicken parts, I used thighs only.  And even though I removed the skin from half of them, there was still a lot of accumulated juices.  Next time, I will make sure all my chicken is naked because all that juice made the sweet potatoes too mushy.  But I bet when we go to eat the leftovers, the defatted juices will make a lovely jus.  How simple is that?

Real Simple Maple Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

From Real Simple Magazine

  • 2 small sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 onion, cut into 1 inch wedges
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 to 4 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place sweet potatoes, thyme, and onion in a 9×13 baking dish.  Coat with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Pat chicken pieces dry, season with salt and pepper, and place in the baking dish.

Drizzle the maple syrup over chicken and vegetables.

Roast 55 to 65 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

14 thoughts on “Real Simple

  1. I love Real Simple – it’s like Martha Stewart Living for Dummies, hee hee! While it’s true that by subscribing for years I have not magically developed a perfectly simple lifestyle, I actually have implemented some of their tips, tricks & organizing ideas and been glad of it. I had no idea how much my messy jewelry and shoes were stressing me out until I organized them and kept them that way!

    But let’s talk about the food – this does sound tasty but definitely better for a day when you want to warm the house up! And I think if I tried it, I would roast the sweet potatoes in a separate dish for a little less time (a la Pam Anderson’s pork & sweet potato stew) to combat the mushiness.

    1. Jennifer, thanks for sharing a Real Life success story. Clutter and chaos are my arch enemies. I think it’s perfect that this entry should post in the cold days of winter when it’s perfectly reasonable to crank up the oven for roasting. And I must agree completely that it is probably a better idea to roast the sweet potatoes separately…but I’m a sucker for a one dish meal.

  2. I used to flip through some of my Dad’s books on living a simple life, so there was a time when I was focused on this. I don’t really worry about it anymore. But if I had kids, I’m sure that would be a different story.

    I love anything with maple syrup, so I’ll keep this recipe in mind as I learn more about cooking meat.

    1. Jen, I’m starting to think the “simple life” is one of those mythical things like The Lost City of Atlantis or the Bermuda Triangle. However, this real simple chicken really does exist.

  3. That looks so yummy. However, I’m making it super simple this week and dining on Cheerios every night this week while the hubs is away for work. I forgot how to cook while on vacation.

    1. Solid plan Brooke. I like your stark, minimalist approach. It’s one that I’ve used from time to time but my excuse is more of the ” I’m feeling too damn lazy to cook” nature.

  4. I exert so much of my “kitchen energy” on baking that when it’s time to make dinner, I need something simple. Delicious, yes, but simple. Otherwise, I end up making a trip to the side of my fridge, where 10,000 takeout menus are being held up by multiple magnets.

    1. Ali, step away from the take out menus. During the week I alternate between a quick/easy recipe and leftovers from the weekend. I don’t even try and rework the leftovers into new and exciting dishes. They are what they are and that’s the way we eat them.

  5. This looks delicious. Simplicity is the way to go. I like challenging myself with complicated recipes but sometimes I think the fewer the ingredients, the better the outcome.

    1. Less is more is a nice change of pace after working on fussier recipes. What am I saying? Less is more is my norm. The fussier recipes are my exceptions.

  6. Yep. Big fan of simple easy cooking but that doesn’t for a minute mean leaving out flavours. Have never enjoyed really fussy recipes, would always rather the flavours come through. Bit of a KISS cooker I am 🙂

    1. Anna, I’m right there with you. I keep it simple whenever I can.

      Hope you are enjoying some sunny, warm weather. I can tell you that I can’t wait for spring to get to me here. When you see spring, would you let it know I’m waiting for it?

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