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Flat Roasted Lemon Chicken

FRlemonchickenIt’s Monday – how did that happen?! We had a busy, but productive weekend. After hosting an open house for students on Saturday, I drove all over the county picking up thrifted finds. I snagged a TV at the northern-most end of the county and then drove an hour south for two armchairs that I hoped would finished out our living room. I have a love-hate relationship with Craigslisting. Every now and then I score, like the time I found the weekenders clearing out their country home and picked up a ton of Pottery Barn furniture for $150. Usually though, I find allllmost the right thing. Like this weekend, the armchairs should have been perfect, but I didn’t realize when she said she was halfway through finishing a project, that she had actually painted the fabric. I guess if you sand it down, it’ll end up feeling like suede, but for now it feels like crunchy paper. Add that to my project list. But, they do finish the room out, so we’ll call it a draw.

Yesterday was great though – we made a lot of progress on setting up the house. I prepped the guest room for my parents’ visit this week; did the furniture shuffle to try to get our living room in order (i.e. moved the couch 3 times), set up the beginnings of the kiddo’s man-cave in the basement, hung the mirror and pictures in the guest bath, put hooks on the back every door I could get my hands on, and the kiddo and I are in a showdown for who gets to use this awesome picture in their decor. We also had one of our family’s favorite recipes: flat-roasted chicken.


The first Christmas I spent with TimTheFamer and the kiddo, they gave me this book. Aren’t they funny?? 


This book has awesome recipes and we’ve been eating the flat roasted chicken for years; it’s quick to get in the oven and amazingly juicy and flavorful. It’s also great because while this is cooking, you can make the rest of your side dishes. I made a couple slight tweaks to ensure we’re not cooking with vegetable fats. Make this tonight. Seriously!


Flat Roasted Lemon Chicken (Paleo)
Serves 4
Quick and easy whole roast chicken
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 min
  1. 1 whole chicken
  2. Coarse salt (pink Himalayan sea salt is best)
  3. Freshly ground pepper
  4. 4 tbsp butter
  5. 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  6. 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  7. 2 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
  8. 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400*F.
  2. Using kitchen shears, cut the backbone out of the chicken. Place it skin-side up on the cutting board and push down on the breastbone with both hands to flatten it out.
  3. Season both sides of chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat 3 tbsp of butter over high heat in large ovenproof skillet (cast iron is best).
  5. Add chicken, skin side down and allow to brown for 3-4 minutes (don't move it!).
  6. Using two sets of tongs, turn the chicken over and transfer skillet to the oven.
  7. While chicken cooks, whisk together the olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper and 1 tbsp of lemon juice.
  8. Cook for 40-45 minutes until chicken is brown and cooked through. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part should reach 165*.
  9. Remove the chicken to the cutting board to rest.
  10. Return the skillet to the heat and add remaining lemon juice and butter to pan and swirl around.
  11. Cut chicken into pieces to service and drizzle with pan drippings and lemon garlic sauce.
  1. The sauce is key. Don't skimp on the sauce.
  2. DON'T grab the pan handle without an oven mitt when it comes out of the oven. Trust me on this one.
  3. Freeze the bones to make broth or stock.
Adapted from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn
Adapted from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn
Isn't That Grand?

What Happened to Applesauce? The BEST Applesauce Recipe

Applesauce. I know. You’re thinking, really?? This is what we’re talking about today?

Usually applesauce is reserved for babies, the tummy-bug BRAT diet, and pork chops. It’s that jar at the back of your fridge that you forget about until there is absolutely nothing left to eat, and then you have a bowl (or the rest of the jar), and wonder why you don’t eat it more often. And then it goes back to the back of your fridge. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

But, I’m telling you. You need to reintroduce applesauce, especially homemade applesauce into your life. It’s a delicious, healthy, easy snack; can be used in cooking and baking; and is a fantastic way to preserve the flavors of fall. And, here’s the secret to making the best applesauce E.V.E.R. – cinnamon. Rocket science, I know. But that’s all I add to my sauce and when I give it as gifts, I consistently hear how it’s the best they’ve ever had.  


When I moved to the Hudson Valley, we started going apple picking every weekend. If you’ve never been to a pick-your-own, you should know that you feel compelled to pick as much fruit as possible because it’s inexpensive and it’s there and it’s fun and all the sudden you have 3 gallons of blueberries or 2 bushels of apples. What the heck do you do with all that fruit, besides get fruit flies? Make applesauce, obviously.

In addition to preventing fruit flies, I love canning and freezing seasonal fruits because it allows my family to eat local through the winter. Don’t get me wrong, we buy lots of lemons and limes and bananas and KerryGold butter and shrimp (and more cereal than I’d like to admit for the kiddo), but when you live in a place as bountiful as the Hudson Valley, it feels (and tastes) really good to take advantage of it.

Applesauce is super easy to make, can be made without any added sugar, and is really scalable. You can make enough for dinner or enough for winter. The recipe below includes top level canning instructions. If you’re new to canning, this website, while old school, has been my go-to guide for years. If you don’t want to can it, put it in baggies or jars and freeze it. 


Wash, peel, core, and slice your apples. I use this rock star suction cup peeler. You could also use a paring knife to peel the apples…but this is way more fun. Make sure to use that paring knife to get rid skin the peeler leaves on; that won’t be good later #trustme.


As you peel, add either a small amount of lemon juice mixed with water (1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp water) or citric acid to keep the apples from getting brown. I filled a 14 quart pot with raw apples and did this for ever large bowl I added – about 5 times.


Add an inch of water to the bottom of your pot and then add all your apples in. Fill that pot up, they’ll cook down. Cook on medium heat until the apples are mushy – anywhere from 20-60 minutes depending on your volume.


Mash or puree the apples to your preferred applesauce consistency. For my first batch, I used a hand blender (a blender or food processor would work too). For the second, TimTheFarmer mentioned he preferred the chunky version I make, so I used the potato masher to mash the apples.

Add cinnamon to taste. This is the key to making the best apples sauce ever. Taste the sauce; depending on the apples you use, you may need to sweeten it up if it causes pucker face. I use honey from the same place we get the apples, but any honey or other sweetener will do. Just as an FYI, if you pick the right apples you won’t need to sweeten. I’ve only added sweetness once in 4 years of making the sauce.


To can, prepare your jars and water bath. Fill up the hot jars with applesauce and leave 1/4 inch of head space. Clean off the rim and cover and seal wth your hot lids and rings. Process jars for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy all winter long.

The Best Applesauce
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  1. Apples
  2. Fresh lemon juice or citric acid (1 tsp per 5 cups of sliced apples)
  3. Cinnamon
  1. Wash, peel, core, and slice apples
  2. Toss apples with lemon juice or citric acid.
  3. Fill pot with one inch of water and add apples. Cook on medium heat until softened, 20-60 minutes depending on volume.
  4. Puree or mash apples to desired consistency.
  5. Add cinnamon to taste.
  6. Adjust sweetness if necessary.
  1. Process jars for 20-30 minutes or refrigerate.
Isn't That Grand?