It’s been awhile since I’ve done a cooking post, so I wanted to share recipes for one of Nick’s and my favorite and simplest meals: spatchcock cilantro lime roasted chicken, baked sweet potatoes with a scallion yogurt sauce, and a basic tomato and cucumber side salad with a lemon-olive oil dressing.
I wrote last year about how we plan and prepare our meals, and shared that while we love to cook and usually make full course dinners throughout the week, we strive for simple, healthy and easy meals to help cut down on our time in the kitchen, and this is one of those!
I have to note in advance, that this meal is very simple to prepare and doesn’t require an elaborate ingredient list, but it does take about 45 minutes of prep and oven cooking time – it’s totally worth it though since it looks like it comes straight from a restaurant’s kitchen.
So let’s get started with the spatchcock chicken. Have you prepared poultry this way? It’s a technique that I’d definitely recommend since it cuts roasting time almost in half, which helps it retain much more of its natural juices. The process is pretty simple: use a sharp knife or sheers to remove the backbone of the chicken and press it flat. It sounds complicated, but this quick video shows just how easy it is. (Last year my sister-in-law even cooked her turkey this way with great results)!
Spatchcock cilantro lime chicken (from The Frugal Paleo Cookbook, a great cookbook gifted to me by my father-in-law).
- Whole chicken (about 3-4 pounds)
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 2 gloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 TB coconut oil*
- 1-2 TB chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper
*The coconut oil is key here, the flavor infuses into the chicken and really makes the dish. Thankfully, a jar isn’t too expensive and is available at most groceries (coconut oil also has many other cooking and beauty uses!).
Instructions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare the spatchcock chicken, season with salt and pepper, and place into a gallon-sized plastic bag. In a small bowl combine the lime juice, garlic, salt and coriander. Melt the coconut oil in another dish in the microwave for a few seconds. Slowly whisk the coconut oil into the lime juice mixture and immediately pour over the chicken in the bag. Close the plastic bag and smooth the mixture over the entire chicken. Set aside for 15 minutes or longer. (These steps could be prepared the evening before if you are having guests).
Now get started on the yams.
Baked Sweet Potatoes with Scallion Yogurt Sauce
- 2-4 yams
- 8 oz. container Greek yogurt
- 1 TB red wine vinegar
- 2 scallions
Instructions: Wash the yams and cut in half lengthwise. Place the yams on a sheet of aluminum foil, coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange cut side down and add 2 TB of water around the yams. Cover with a top sheet of aluminum foil and roll to tightly seal the edges.
It’s time to put the chicken in the oven! Transfer the chicken from the plastic bag into a roasting pan (and any juices) and set the timer for 15 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the scallion yogurt sauce (right in the yogurt container!). Start by removing the lid from the yogurt and seasoning with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the scallions (the white bottoms and green tops) and add to the yogurt. Add the tablespoon of red wine vinegar and stir.
After the chicken has cooked for 15 minutes add the sweet potato packet along with the chicken in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.
While the chicken and potatoes are cooking, get started on the salad. Nick and I love this salad, which is tangy and light and very flavorful for being so simple. It’s actually a popular Indian salad, which matches perfectly with the spicy dishes we love to prepare, but goes with pretty much anything.
Simple Salad with Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing
- 2-4 cups of romaine or iceberg lettuce, chopped
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1-2 diced roma tomatoes
- 1/2 diced cucumber
1-2 TB chopped cilantro (optional)
1/8 tsp salt and pepper
- 1 TB lemon juice
- Drizzle of olive oil
Chop and combine the first six ingredients of the salad. Right before serving add the lemon juice and olive oil and toss to coat (the lemon juice will wilt the salad, so hold off adding until just before serving).
The chicken and sweet potatoes should be done by now. Remove from the oven and garnish the chicken with the cilantro and the potatoes with the yogurt sauce. Plate and serve!
*Note that Nick and I always prepare chicken without the skin, but if you left it on, the bird would be a beautiful roasted color!