Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Make-Ahead or Weeknight Menu: Maple Chicken (or Non-Chicken), Simple Cranberry Sauce, Baked Sweets, and Roasted Broccoli

A veritable weeknight feast that's even good enough for entertaining. Like having a bit of Thanksgiving anytime. Highly flexible. Can be done all in one night, made ahead, or some of each. Whatever you have time for. Roast the veggies while baking the potatoes, and while you're at it, fill your oven with colorful veggies to roast for the rest of the week!

Total Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: 1/2 hour
Serves: 4
Make-ahead (optional): The sweet potatoes and broccoli can be roasted ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 4 days. The chicken (or other protein) can be marinated overnight and/or baked up to 4 days ahead.
Clean-up Tip: When baking sweet potatoes, save your pans by lining them with foil. Sweet potatoes contain a gooey substance that is nearly impossible to clean up otherwise.

1 recipe Simple Cranberry Sauce
1 recipe Simple Maple-Mustard Marinade
4 chicken breasts (or other chicken parts, or 6 oz pieces of salmon, or seitan or tempeh)
4 sweet potatoes or yams (I prefer yams because they are easier to work with), scrubbed
1-2 bunches broccoli
1-3 cloves garlic (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Olive Oil (to taste)
Lime wedges for the sweet potatoes (optional, but really delicious)

Game Plan:
1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prick sweet potatoes with fork to let steam escape during baking. Wrap in foil or place in foil-wrapped pan. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until a fork goes in easily. Serve with lime wedges.
3. Marinate the chicken (or other protein) for 15+ minutes and start the cranberry sauce.
4. Cut broccoli into florets. Shave the stem with a vegetable peeler and cut into pieces (approximately 1/2"). Toss with olive oil, salt and garlic in an ovenproof baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Saute, grill, or broil chicken, 4-6 minutes/side. If you've used oil in the marinade, you shouldn't need to add extra to the pan, or can use just a bit of olive oil cooking spray.
6. Assemble a gorgeous and colorful plate of chicken cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, lime wedges, and broccoli. Try oranges for dessert!

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