This sautéed greens with chicken recipe makes an easy but elegant weeknight meal, yet is worthy to set before a table full of guests. The kale, spinach, chard and protein packed pine nuts make a lovely side dish or even a delicious meal by themselves. Succulent herb roasted chicken may left off vegan plates and extra pine nuts added instead. This makes it easier for families of mixed preferences to adapt peaceably… and peace is the perfect ingredient for a family gathering!
~1 pound of greens (I used baby kale, baby spinach, & baby chard)
½ cup pine nuts (or any nut you prefer)
¼ cup olive oil (or another healthy flavorful oil, adjust amount as desired)
½ orange (or use another citrus juice)
1 teaspoon dried marjoram (add more if using fresh)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (add more if using fresh)
sea salt & ground peppercorns (to taste, or use a salt substitute)
Optional: chicken breasts (1 for each person, + extra herbs & olive oil)
If opting for the roasted chicken, prepare that first so it may be cooking while you fix the greens. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken breasts and sprinkle marjoram, thyme, salt and pepper over them. Roast them in a 375ᵒ oven for about 45 minutes. (Adjust the cooking time to the size of your portions and your oven’s temperament… the pieces I cooked were huge!)
Wash your greens well in a colander. (I chose baby varieties not merely for their tenderness, but also to save time in preparation. They don’t need to be chopped or have hard core stems removed.)
Heat the pine nuts and olive oil in a pan on the stove. (I actually used my big wok because the sloped sides prevent the greens from overcooking.) When they are bit browned, add the greens.
Also add in the herbs and seasoning, and toss to cook down. (The volume of the greens will shrink as it’s cooked, so you can add smaller portions a little at a time until all of it fits in.)
Off of the heat, squeeze in the citrus juice and mix well. (Heat negates the vitamin C benefit.)
Serve them whole, or slice the roasted chicken breasts for presentation.
Add more herbs, pine nuts, or even a new element as garnish. (I used leeks in the pictured dish… because I adore them.)
With the winter season so turkey saturated for the holidays, I thought I’d utilize my overabundance of rooster décor and host a cozy dinner party by the fire. I used my Healthy “One-Pot” Cocorico Roasted Chicken (or Turkey) & Root Vegetables Recipe as a family-style centerpiece of food. And with my printable place-cards, it’s an easily emulated dinner party that offers a warm welcome for out-of-towners in for the holidays!I love the idea of taking dinner out of the dining room, especially in winter when there is a cozy fire available. So, my first task was to move the couches into a dining configuration. I have a large round antique coffee table that is mechanized to pop up to dining height. To accommodate more guests, I topped it with a $12 precut 4’ x 4’ plywood square from a chain hardware store. The edges of this were taped to avoid snagging the tablecloth. A card table is another easy option. Layering fabrics is a quick and easy way to add warmth to a gathering, so I draped layers of tablecloths over the square. The first layer was chocolate brown, then beige burlap with added trim, and a fall paisley print over the top.I exchanged the usual living room décor with various bits of rooster ephemera. I set a ceramic chicken on a side table next to cranberry colored candlesticks, and tucked feather tassels under the large candles. By the fireplace, I placed a rooster painting on an easel atop an old burgundy leather suitcase. Another served as a base for a spiral topiary. It was housed in an inexpensive and lightweight cranberry pot meant to simulate glazed pottery. In front of that, I positioned a small vintage brass rooster doorstop. I actually have many more roosters, but I was able to (somewhat) contain myself.I gathered sage and chocolate colored throw pillows to coordinate with the linens and dishes. These softened the deep chocolate leather sofas. Switching out small elements of your décor for an evening is an easy way to experience a change of scenery without breaking the bank. I set the table with wood-handled flatware and layers of dishware in various patterns. This included wooden plates as chargers, sage green bordered dinner plates, and a selection of chicken and rooster plates. Though completely untraditional, I figured these could be set to the side for bread later… they just looked too cute stacked this way! I actually found these little gems for $3 clearance at Dillards. Now they’re a part of my last minute rooster dinner party arsenal.My other go-to elements are antique chicken salt and pepper shakers from my grandmother, and vintage multicolor rooster stemmed glassware from my mother.It’s really great to have coordinating pieces that can be thrown together without much forethought, while having the appearance of effort. In this way, a simple chicken dinner is elevated to a special evening. Make a point of collecting what you like, and pull it out for your get-togethers.Another component which you can make for yourself is my DIY Rusted Rooster Chicken Wire Votive Holder Craft. Because they were so easy, I actually made many more than I used in the pictures. (These can be made with any shape you like, fall leaves for example.) They really added a beautiful glow to the table.I transformed, recolored, combined, and resized vintage images to make 3 free printables for invitations, labels, signs, menus, food tents, name place-cards, recipe cards, etc… (These are free for personal use only.)
These are available at the end of the article (simply right click on each image, and print in color and on photo settings on cardstock). Then just cut out your place-cards as needed… or enlist a significant other or kiddo to do it while you prep for dinner!The last step was to add the food… artisanal rosemary bread in terra cotta to compliment the Cocorico, compound butter in a rooster dish, mixed olives seasoned in flavored oil and spices, and the off-center centerpiece of roasted chicken and multi-colored root vegetables of carrots, beets, parsnips, radishes, and fingerling potatoes. Cocorico roasters are perfect “one-pot” wonders that deliver beautifully from oven-to-table. Root veggies may be peeled and seasoned the day prior to an after-work gathering if need be. Simply pick up bread and dessert to accompany your meal. Or, try out my Easy No Cook Layered (N)ice-Cream Pie with Nut Crust (Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free) which may also be made with traditional ice cream, and can be made and frozen well in advance.Happy Fall Y’all! (…I couldn’t resist.)Faithfully Yours,
Making healthy roasted chicken and root vegetables is so easy with a Cocorico Roaster. I love to use mine as an easy “one-pot” wonder that presents beautifully from oven-to table. The night before a long day, I can peel the veggies and add herbs so it only needs to put it in the oven for a hardy home-cooked meal. Larger roasters will also accommodate a small turkey for the holidays.
1 roasting chicken (or turkey, in a size that will fit your Cocorico roaster)
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons rosemary
1 fresh lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
Olive oil (enough to coat chicken & drizzle a little over veggies)
Multicolored root vegetables in season (enough to fill the cocorico base):
~1 pound carrots
~1 bunch radishes
~1 or 2 pounds fingerling (or new) potatoes
(& turnips if you have better luck than I did finding good ones)
Cocorico roasters in glazed terra cotta are available locally and online. I ordered mine from Napa Style because it was the biggest I’ve seen, and also had a larger turkey cone that fit over the chicken cone. Soak the whole thing under water at least 30 minutes before cooking. This prevents any heat damage to the vessel. I saturate mine in a bleached clean sink.
Preheat your oven to 400ᵒ, while you soak the roaster and prep your veggies. There are a beautiful variety of purple, orange, red, and white root vegetables available. Peel and cut them into about 2 inch chunks to ensure even cooking. Some recipes will advise you boil potatoes ahead of roasting, but I’ve found that to be completely unnecessary if you buy small fingerlings. They roast just like baked fries. They’re prettier, easier, and quicker… so save the big ones for baked potatoes. Radishes may seem like an odd choice for roasting, but they completely change character after cooking. They mellow out, losing their sharpness and spicy heat. I really do prefer them this way.
Place these in a bowl with herbs and add just the smallest drizzle of olive oil. (The chicken juices will flow over the veggies while cooking thus providing more flavor.) Squeeze a little of your lemon over the veggies, and save the rest to place inside the chicken cavity before setting over the roasting cone. Add sea salt and toss to coat everything well. This may be done ahead of time, just cover the bowl and refrigerate it until needed.
Many recipes will also instruct you to wash chicken inside and out before cooking, but I read a study that found it only served to spread dangerous bacteria all over your kitchen. Thorough cooking will kill bacteria while rinsing will not. Drain the fluid and remove any extra gifts left in the cavity (neck, gizzard, giblets). Then set the chicken onto the soaked Cocorico. Other recipes will also say to do this with the legs up and trussed, but this is really subjective to the size of your roasting cone versus the size of your bird. I used a smaller chicken in the pictures, which would have been physically impossible to set upside down. It cooked beautifully and tasted great. Just place the chicken whichever way you can get it onto the cone. It’s really hard to mess up dinner with a Cocorico!
Roast in the oven at 400ᵒ for about 15 minutes, and then reduce it to 375ᵒ for an hour longer (for ~4 lb chicken). Because every oven heats differently, the safest way to cook is with a meat thermometer. Place it in the thickest part of the thigh, but not to the bone. www.foodsafety.gov says 165ᵒ is poultry’s magic number! I’ve also read to rotate the Cocorico every 15 minutes. Thinking of how heavy it was, how that would let heat escape, what else I could spend my time accomplishing, and burn potential… I decided to forgo that. Once again, the simplest way proved itself. The chickens turned out exactly the same.
Use a serving spoon to gently toss the roasted veggies, so that the juices are fully distributed. It’s easiest to serve the veggies first and then carve into the meat, using the newly empty well to hold the pieces. Or it can all be transferred to other serving dishes… but I prefer to avoid washing extra tableware, and the filled Cocorico looks so lovely. If trying this, be sure to use adequate hot pads beneath it.
In the past, I’ve saved time by omitting the oil and placing the roots directly into the Cocorico. When it finished cooking, I would sprinkle fresh herbs and orange juice over the top, stirring it right in the roaster. Whichever way you chose to prepare it, with whatever vegetables, with either chicken or turkey, and legs cooked up or down… Cocorico roasters make it all turn out so beautifully! (See this for yourself at the link: Last Minute Cocorico Rooster Theme Dinner Party Décor Ideas.) So think about getting one for yourself, and leave the “beer-can chicken” to the tailgaters! 🙂