Saturday, October 20, 2012

Maple Baked Chicken Dinner

Autumn is here and winter squash is ripe and bountiful and I have been taking full advantage of that. I stopped at Williams Farm in Rutland VT on my way back from work to see their selection. I ended up leaving with a winter squash and a huge bunch of beets for $3.00, which I thought was a steal!

Winter squash is naturally sweet so it doesn't take a lot of effort to turn it into an amazing side for a meal. I kept it pretty simple with cinnamon and maple syrup. Roasting it brings out the natural sweetness as the starch crystalizes. In the end, this meal was inspired by Vermont Maple syrup, a good that Vermonters consider almost sacred. By sticking to one flavor the meal worked really well together.

I love beets. Canned beets don't hold a candle to a fresh beet that is roasted to perfection. I must say that it is not fun peeling them and dying my fingers purple, but when the meal is served I am always so glad that I put the time into it, because they are as sweet as candy. Picture above is missing the carmelized onions and beets, whoops! Check out the finished product here.

Maple Baked Chicken
Makes 4 servings

1 pound chicken thighs, skins removed
2 Tbsp maple syrup
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the rosemary, garlic powder, and breadcrumbs together. Brush the maple syrup onto the chicken, and dip into the breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads at least 160 degrees (the inside is no longer pink).

Baked Winter squash
Serves 4

2 small winter squash (acorn, delicata, butternut)
2 Tbsp of maple syrup
Cinnamon, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Half the winter squash, brush 1 Tbsp of maple syrup in each half and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 1 hour or until soft

Spinach and Roasted Beet Salad
Serves 4

1 package of baby spinach, washed
6-8 medium sized beets, peeled and quartered
1 sweet onion, sliced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, place beets and onion on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until soft. Combine the ingredients of the salad and top with caramelized onions and beets. Enjoy with maple vinaigrette.

Maple Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
pepper, to taste

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