Once we returned from our fun trip to Montana it really began to feel like fall. As the air gets colder and the days grow shorter we naturally crave heavier, warmer foods.
The best way to plan our meals during fall and winter is to buy what’s currently growing locally in our area. Not only do we support the local economy but chances are better that the food is grown using fewer or no pesticides. Since food travels locally -maybe a few hundred miles- it can usually be packed when ripe because there’s less chance for spoilage or contamination. Plus large amounts of fossil fuels won’t be emitted to carry produce over thousands of miles across the country–and the world!
We can all do our part if we eat local, seasonal food–which naturally tastes much better! Right now farmers’ markets are selling root vegetables, onions, peppers, pumpkins, winter squash, kale and other hardy greens, Brussels sprouts, apples, pears, beets, potatoes and cranberries. You can also find local organic meat,poultry and eggs.
Last night I made one of my favorite fall meals–whole free-range chicken with Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. I bought a three pound chicken so had to cook it for an hour and twenty minutes. That’s the only downside to this meal; it doesn’t fall into the category of quick, last-minute meals! You do have to plan ahead. You can also make the chicken the day before and reheat it in the oven.
1 large whole chicken, grass-fed if possible
Fresh rosemary and thyme
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
Olive oil and 1/4 Tablespoon butter (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
Garlic or regular sea salt
1 crisp apple, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 large sweet potato per person
Pre-heat the oven to 350. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Gently lift skin and place small pieces of the butter around the chicken. Then place several sprigs of the rosemary and thyme along with two or three whole, peeled garlic cloves inside the cavity. Rub the outside of the bird lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake 20 minutes for each pound.
Clean the sweet potato. Puncture with a fork and rub lightly with a little olive oil. Place in oven with chicken.
Roughly chop brussels sprouts. Place in glass casserole dish in single layer. You’ll need at least an 8 X 12 size dish. Pour the olive oil on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Put the sprouts in the oven with the chicken when there’s about an hour of cooking time left.
Once the chicken is cooked remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before cutting. Place brussels sprouts on each plate, top with some chopped apple and add about one tablespoon of dried cranberries (I put the cranberries in water and heated in the microwave for about 30 seconds to soften).
Cut the potato in half and add softened coconut butter–it’s good for your brain!
Save leftovers for another day!