Once upon a time, people had the time needed to prepare more time-consuming meals for dinner. Bwahahahahahahahahaha!!! Yeah… right.
I don’t care how much you want to wax nostalgic about “the good ole days”, they probably weren’t so grand and glorious as we’d like to think. Most of the reminiscences are clouded by age and the fact that those memories were made during childhood (and when was the last time little kids had a clue about the busy lives of adults?). We like to talk about things through that lens, but without actually asking the people that had to do the “adulting” at the time.
I feel pretty confident that preparing meals for dinner has always been somewhat of an arduous task. Why do you think prepared meals became so popular, even in families with a parent at home? That speaks volumes right there. But we also now know that those pre-made meals come with a hefty price tag, both literally and metaphorically. They are far more expensive to purchase, and they aren’t really the healthiest options for regular consumption. So that means we’re back to square one. Darn.
Instead what we really need are dinner ideas, not complicated recipes. At least not for the day-to-day dinner. Despite the “fancy” recipes I have here, our daily meals are a bit more subdued and/or things made in bulk to be consumed over several days (yay for microwaves!) or put in the freezer for later. I save the more complicated things for when I actually have time, and enlist the help of those other people that live with me (that would be the Old Man and the two remaining boys at home).
This chicken and summer squash dish usually takes me about 10 to 15 minutes to prepare. No, I don’t measure. There’s no need. The seasonings I use change with my mood and what I remembered to buy at the store. Sometimes the veggies are homegrown, sometimes they’re Costco. Whatever. It feeds everyone and with one pan and it tastes really good. That’s a win.
Some quick notes before you begin:
I’m a huge fan of leg quarters because around here they are the cheapest cut of chicken, sometimes cheaper than the whole bird! You can use whatever you like. I also leave the skin on and bone in, because it’s easy and I really like seasoned chicken skin. Save the bones for making bone broth! I’ll trim off any large blobs of fat for rendering, too.
Use whatever seasoning you like. That’s it.
Use whatever summer squashes you like. There’s a lot of options out there that aren’t zucchini. Cut them a little larger than “bite size”.
Have some good bread ready. You’re going to have this amazing broth at the bottom of the pan and if you waste it the gods will be angered. Okay, I’m making that up (maybe), but just don’t do it anyway.
Roast Chicken with Summer Squash Recipe
- chicken, amount and cuts up to you
- summer squash cut into large bite size chunks, (zucchini, patty pan, crookneck, etc., any type of soft skinned squash will work)
- seasoning of choice, mixed herbs and spices blends are good ones to choose from
- olive oil, or any other cooking oil that has a good flavor
- salt and pepper to taste (may want to use a lower amount if your other seasoning already has it
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Select a roasting pan large enough to hold your ingredients where the squash can be spread out mostly in a single layer. Sprinkle some your desired seasoning and drizzle olive oil over the squash. Gently toss the squash in the pan to evenly coat them.
In a small bowl, put more of your seasonings, salt and pepper, and enough olive oil to make a paste. Smear it all over your chicken. You probably don’t want to be stingy, but don’t go crazy. If you made too much of the seasoning paste, you can either toss it in with the squashes or put it away in the freezer for later use (just be mindful if any of it come into contact with the raw chicken, including through your hands or a utensil).
Place the chicken skin side up over the squash chunks, spreading them out evenly. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until juices come out clear when the thickest part of the meat is pierced.
I will usually place the chicken onto a plate, then scoop out the squashes with a slotted spoon. The juices at the bottom, and there could be quite a bit, get put into a gravy pitcher to be poured over the food. If you have lots of the liquid still left, save it! Think of how amazing your next pot of rice or soup will taste when you use that instead of water or broth!! Enjoy!