It’s January and maybe you can’t tie your shoes like you did on November 1.

It’s January and maybe you still have cookies in the garage.

It’s January and maybe there are three left-over bottles of Champagne in the frig.


It’s January and you are still grabbing Tums. (But, oh, you had fun!)


Should you starve? Naw. However, naptime is over.

You should start the year off with a really great roasted chicken and vegetables. This is a meal that you could make on Saturday or Sunday when you have a little time at home. You’d then have chicken for sandwiches or tacos or whatever. Why buy lunchmeat? Roast a nice piece of meat and have something lovely to eat for a few days. You could even make soup out of the leftovers. Back to the chicken. Throw it all in one pan except for the asparagus, which you grill lightly after the chicken’s roasted. Here’s how:

ROASTED ORANGE CHICKEN AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH IN A PAN
Serves 4

1 3-5# whole chicken, cleaned and patted dry (cook the innards for the dog or yourself)
3T olive oil, divided (you don’t need salad-quality extra-virgin for this)
1-2 t kosher salt
1-2t freshly-ground pepper
1 orange, cut into fourths
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled, left whole
1 butternut or acorn squash 1-2#, washed and left unpeeled, cut into about 2×4″ pieces


Preheat oven to 350 F (375 at altitudes above 4,000 feet).*

Use 1/2 t salt and 1/4 t pepper to season the inside of the chicken. Place cut oranges and whole garlic cloves in chicken cavity. Tie legs (the chicken’s, not yours) together with kitchen string and place chicken in roasting pan if you have one. If not, fit a rack into a heavy casserole.

Brush olive oil over outside of chicken and season with salt and pepper. Place cut-up squash around chicken and drizzle with rest of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted between thigh and breast reads 170F. (You may occasionally baste if you want.) If you have no thermometer (get one pronto, though), roast until the leg moves easily when you grab and jiggle it gently. This took about 2 hours at 6500 feet; I had a chicken that was on the small side.
Remove from oven, cover with foil and let sit for juices to come up while you grill the asparagus.
If you wish to make a sauce, remove chicken and veg to a carving board and place roaster over burners on stove top. Remove all but 1T fat, leaving browned bits behind. Heat roaster over medium flame and add 1 T butter and 1 c white wine. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add salt/pepper/garlic/sage (up to you-definitely salt and pepper) and taste. Adjust seasonings. Pour into a serving dish and serve at table with the chicken and veg.

*(You can choose to cook the chicken at 400F; I like it cooked a little slower so that the squash as plenty of time to sweeten and grow quite tender.)
GRILLED ASPARAGUS

1# fresh asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Brush a grill pan with olive oil and heat to medium-high. Place into the pan the patted-dry asparagus in a single layer and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill two minutes. Turn and grill for another two minutes. Remove to serving dish and serve.


Wine: California Chardonnay or French Sauvignon Blanc
The chicken will soon be gone and, yes, you could be little. Well, littlER.
Happy January. The snow is about to hit our house on the mesa once more. The temperature is dropping 30 degrees overnight. Brrr. Stay warm. Tell me what you’re cooking?
Sing a new song; I hope you got something great to listen to for a gift,
Alyce
Our little blog will participate in THE GREAT AMERICAN BAKE SALE this spring, sponsored by Share our Strength, an organization devoted to ending childhood hunger in our country… More later here, but if you’d like information now, go to the site strength.org and see what Americans are doing to alleviate the hunger of millions. Why not sponsor a bake sale in your community? All proceeds go to end childhood hunger. Sign ups start in March for 2010 bake sales. You can also sign up to receive email updates on all of the programs and to volunteer in your community. Information is available on what local restaurants and organizations are already involved.
There is strength in numbers……over 17 million children are being served by the food stamp program…. We can change it!