LUCY BURDETTE: Sometimes it's fun to make fancy dishes with lots of ingredients and many steps to put them together and then a wowzer of a presentation. And sometimes life calls for something homey, but oh so easy, right? My pal Hallie Ephron convinced me some years ago that roasting your own chicken tasted way better than the grocery store version. (She was right, though I still buy the deli chicken if time is really short...) Another bonus: you get to choose the chicken without preservatives and other unpleasant additives.
Here's a go-to meal that couldn't be easier: take one chicken, clean innards out of the cavity, plop in a roasting pan. Drizzle a little olive oil on top, spread it around, add freshly ground salt and pepper and a little rosemary if you have it. (You can get fancy with seasonings, but we're focusing on EASY, right?) Deliver to oven preheated to 375-400.
After half an hour, deliver a handful of small potatoes (drizzled in olive oil) to the same pan. You can add carrot chunks here too--they are so sweet when roasted. Or if you prefer sweet potatoes, put those in at the same time as the chicken.
Meanwhile, prepare Brussels sprouts by pulling off the outside leaves, shaving the ends, and making a cross in each end with a sharp knife. Add these to the roasting pan when the chicken is half an hour away from done.
Serve and enjoy! (Just don't tell the Key West chickens about this dish--chickens are protected in this town, even the noisiest roosters.)
And here's what you might do with all the time you saved by making this dinner:
Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries!
Fatal Reservations, the sixth book in the series, will be in bookstores on July 7, but you can certainly order it now!