Last night, for the first time in a long time; I had an evening all by myself.  I decided to make my night extra-special by preparing a fabulous meal for one:  Moist, succulent, baked chicken seasoned with rosemary, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, drizzled with a spoonful of rich garlic-scented sauce, then sprinkled with perfectly-roasted garlic cloves.  Oh, but I’m not finished yet… 

Garlic-Mashed Potatoes with organic butter melting on top sounded great so I made that. Then I cooked my favorite winter green bean dish:  Christmas Green Beans: Fresh green beans cooked with pancetta, onions and garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and oregano and basil… Oh, sooo good! 

Now, I don’t want to make you jealous;
 no, NEVER would I sink that low!  
But that was my dinner tonight.  
(It was… sensational!)  

 

Ah, but there’s… more.  My soul was crying out for one more thing ~  Thyme Roasted Carrots.  Thyme Roasted Carrots are not only healthy and delicious; they’re vibrantly beautiful with their rich, orange color.  I peeled, then cut organic carrots into little round coins; added some butter and olive oil to my saucepan, threw in some diced red onions and cooked the onions until tender, added the carrots and cooked them, then for the final touch, sprinkled in the thyme… the aroma was intoxicating…  

But, NOW, I was done right?  No, no.  Not.  
I was INSPIRED to make this “Dinner for One” over-the-top fabulous, so I quickly made my favorite salad: Easy Lemon Arugula Salad ~ Fresh wild arugula leaves, lightly coated with a light dressing made with my favorite olive oil (vintage dated, cold pressed), organic lemons, a touch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper… 

   
It was time for the first bite of my “Dinner for One.”  
Mmmm…. I could not speak… the flavors… ohhhh… ohh… OOHH!

 

 People, people, PEOPLE!  Get a grip on reality!  Do you really think I would do all that for myself???!  Think about all the dishes I would need to clean!

I’ll admit this, since I can NOT lie to you.  My Gorgeous Man and I have had “boatloads of company” this month.  And after a wonderful and fun Holiday Dinner with good friends; there was a piece of Garlic Chicken with Rosemary left over.  (Hee hee!)  So all I made last night was the salad, but, whoo-boy!
It was a fabulous dinner for one!  Gotcha!

Gosh… I can’t believe y’all went for my “fantasy-meal” story!
Maybe I should become a food writer or something…

Now, I did make Garlic Chicken with Rosemary three times this month for family and friends; and every time we served it, someone wanted the recipe.  I must admit, I find this recipe quite irresistible myself!  At one of our Holiday Christmas Dinners, one woman told me she was not fond of chicken, but added, “I love THIS chicken.  Usually chicken is so dry, but your Garlic Chicken with Rosemary is so moist and flavorful.  This is my new favorite dish!”  YES!
Company-perfect, Garlic Chicken with Rosemary is gluten-free and can also be made dairy-free.  But what makes it truly fabulous to serve for your Thanksgiving or Christmas Holiday Dinner is this:  

  • The preparation can be done ahead of time.  All you need to do when your company comes over, is pop the chicken in the oven, bake; flip it over and bake until done.  That’s it.   Now we’re talking!  You don’t even need to make a gravy or anything!  You simply spoon the delicious garlic sauce over the top.  TA-DA!   

Garlic Chicken with Rosemary

Ingredients

Brine
12 cups water       
1/4 cup sea salt
1/4 cup honey 

Garlic Sauce
1 cup great-tasting olive oil
3/4 cup organic canola oil
2 cups peeled garlic cloves (Available in the produce section at most grocery stores) 

Chicken
2 – 3 whole chickens, quartered ~ preferably organic chicken
1/2 cup butter (For dairy-free Earth Balance Vegan Butter Sticks)
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Dried crushed rosemary (about 2-3 teaspoons)

Gimme Gluten Free Method

Brine
1.  This step is optional; but read my notes below before you decide.  In a LARGE bowl or pot, whisk the water, salt and honey until the salt is dissolved.  Some sea salts don’t completely dissolve – don’t sweat it – just stir the brine mixture until the salt mostly dissolves. 
2.  Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate a minimum of 24 hours. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat it dry. 

Garlic Sauce

1.  In a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, canola oil and garlic cloves.  Cook the garlic, stirring periodically, until the garlic is light brown, about 30-40 minutes.  
2.  Remove from heat and let rest another 10-15 minutes.  Remove the garlic cloves and reserve in a covered glass dish; place in the refrigerator for later.  
3.  Cool the oil completely.  When it is cool, pour the oil over the chicken, coat each piece of chicken completely with the oil.  Let the chicken marinate in the oil, in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or even overnight.

To Cook the Chicken
1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  
2.  Melt the butter in a shallow roasting pan large enough to accommodate the chicken in a single layer.  (Just stick the pan in the oven until the butter melts.)   
3.  Place the chicken with all of the garlic-flavored oil, skin-side down in the pan.  Sprinkle lightly with salt,  (don’t over-salt; the chicken has salt in it already from the brine) pepper and part of the dried rosemary.  Roast for 20 minutes. 
4.  Turn the chicken over; season with salt, pepper and rosemary.   Scatter the reserved garlic cloves over the top.  Baste with some of the butter/oil mixture.  
5.  Continue roasting until the chicken is golden, about 25-30 minutes.  Check the chicken with a meat thermometer to see if it is cooked through.  The juices should run clean and the internal temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  Transfer the chicken to the serving plate, ladle some of the garlic sauce with the garlic cloves on each piece of chicken.  Serve with a side of Garlic Mashed Potatoes (or regular mashed potatoes.)  Enjoy!

How to Get Moist, Delicious Baked Chicken
Your Questions Answered
 

Question:  
Why should I brine the chicken?  What is the purpose of a brine? 

Answer:

How many times has this happened to you… You’ve baked (or grilled) a big batch of chicken, but the large pieces aren’t done, so you leave them in the oven (or on the grill) to finish cooking.  Ooops!  You cooked them too long; now the chicken is tough as leather and dry.  BLAST IT!   Well, the solution is simple:  BRINE YOUR CHICKEN.  Brining ensures that your chicken will be moist and delicious. 

Question:

I have noticed that organic chicken has a different texture than a non-organic chicken.  Will brining make a difference?

Answer:

Organic free-range chickens have incredible flavor, however; free-range chickens develop more muscle since they are running marathons and playing tennis and so on… anyway, the chicken meat can have a dense quality to it.  Brining not only makes chicken more moist; it makes the chicken tender. 

Question: 

What if I’m making a small batch of the chicken.  How much brine do I need? 

Answer:
If you are making a smaller batch of chicken you need just enough brine to cover the chicken fully.  Here’s the ratio:  For every three cups of water; add 1 level tablespoon of sea salt and 1 tablespoon of honey. 
Question:

How long should I brine chicken?

Answer:

Brine your chicken a minimum of 24 hours.  However… I have forgotten that I had chicken brining in the downstairs refrigerator (out of sight, out of mind).  THREE DAYS LATER when I wanted some oranges for juicing,  I found it there, waiting patiently.  Oh, my gosh!  It was the BEST CHICKEN EVER!  Now, if you have the presence of mind to remember that you have brined chicken in your frig; I actually recommend a three day brining.  You will LOVE it!


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