Roasted Lemon Chicken, Cheesy Mac and Cheese, etc.

Finally have some cooler weather here in the East. After sweltering in 90+ degrees for the week, it is in the upper 60s and rainy. Perfect weather for ...... Roasted Lemon Chicken, Cheesy Mac and Cheese, Honey and Mustard Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Peanut Butter Chocolate Globs for dessert. I actually cooked 2 chickens so I can leftovers for other recipes. A couple guest chefs in the kitchen for the meal. My Oldest and a Friend tackled the Mac and Cheese. A few grated fingers were their only causalities. They were too lazy to wash the food processor so they grated by hand. It is a basic recipe that can be added to. Try roasted red peppers, spinach, sauteed onions.

The recipes are all easy to prepare. The chicken and brussel sprouts take minutes to prep and do their thing in the oven. When you enlist other people to cook, you can sit back and just direct. The dessert recipe is a Barefoot Contessa recipe that I swapped out the jam for about a cup and a half of chocolate chips. If you like peanut butter cookies, you'll like these bar cookies.

We are having guests at our dinner table frequently these days. Our guests our friends of my kids so, it is fun to see them cringe at my request to "try everything." They know I'm a blogger so they oblige me. I always tell them that I'll write about them so they will eat almost anything. Got the steak-loving Neighbor Boy to try sweet potato fries the other night which he thought were regular fries. He was bold enough to ask if he could put back the huge portion that he took.

On to the recipes...

Roasted Lemon Chicken and Homemade Gravy

5 - 6 pound roasting chickens (I made 2 with one for leftovers)
1 lemon
1 onion, sliced
melted butter

Gravy recipe is in the directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove the giblets (I always forget to do this) and rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water. Pat dry. Rub with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in half and put inside the chickens. Place chickens in large roasting pan, surround with the sliced onions and roast for 30 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and continue roasting for about an hour. The internal temp of the chicken will be about 170 degrees. Take out the birds and let them rest for 10 minutes. Use the drippings, about 3 - 4 tablespoons to make the gravy. Heat the drippings in a saucepan. When hot, add 3 tablespoons of flour. Stir for a minute. Add about 1 cup chicken stock and 1/2 cup milk. Whisk to combine. Season generously with pepper and more lightly with salt. You can season it up as you like. A teaspoon of dried sage is good.

Cheesy Mac and Cheese

1 pound small pasta of your choice, cooked and drained
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 pound grated cheese, we used sharp cheddar and mozzarella
2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, add as desired based on saltiness of cheeses used
dash of pepper

Heat butter in saucepan. When bubbly, add flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in milk all at once and whisk to combine. Cook over medium to medium high heat until thickened. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir to melt. Season with salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta. You can also top with more grated cheese and toss it in the oven to melt and crisp up the top.

Honey and Mustard Roasted Brussel Sprouts

about 30 brussel sprouts, I didn't weigh them - so that's how many I used
good drizzle of olive oil
3 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of sharp mustard such as Dijon or a crunchy mustard

Preheat oven to 400. Wash and trim the sprouts. Toss with the remaining ingredients and put in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes until slighly brown and crispy.

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