Jul 1, 2011

Citrus Roasted Chicken with Roasted Carrots and Parsnips and an Easy Green Salad

Date night dinner: Citrus roasted chicken, roasted carrots and parsnips and an easy green salad!

It’s Friday Night Date Night! Growing up, it was always Mom’s night off from cooking and our family dinner date night you could say! We always had dinner together during the week, but Fridays were the days where we’d make our rotations to our favorite little restaurants around town. Once I went off to college, family dinner date night turned into my parents date night and a time for them both to unwind from a hectic week at work. Jor and I don’t always (or really typically) go out on Fridays, but we have adopted the idea of having a relaxing Friday night meal. Sometimes they are really no different than any other weeknight meal and sometimes they are a little more intricate or take a little longer to cook. The whole idea though is that no matter what you are cooking, calling it date night just puts an automatic special ring to the meal! This particular date night meal I’m sharing didn’t require too much from me, which was just fine with me but it was so delicious. I tried a new roasted chicken recipe from Giada that was full of citrus flavor (if you watch her show you know her love and use of lemon is equivalent to Paula’s love of butter!). The juices that you get from baking the chicken then turn into a fantastic little dressing for the salad, keeps it simple, and then the roasted carrots and parsnips are paired with dill, which adds a boost of flavor! Date night or not, you will want to try these recipes out!

Here is everything you’ll need:


(Chicken and salad adapted from Giada and roasted vegetables adapted from Ina Garten. Makes enough for two dinner portions.)


  • 2 chicken breasts (bone in, skin on)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • zest of one orange
  • zest of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup un-salted (or low sodium) chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon white wine (anything you like enough to also drink!)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
  • 1/8 cup olive oil

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced


  • Mixed Greens
  • Bread, cubed and toasted for croutons

I know this looks like quite a lot of ingredients, but it’s really much easier than the list appears! Start with the chicken. (Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.) In a small mixing bowl combine shallot, olive oil, orange zest, lemon zest, thyme, mint and salt and pepper. This is the rub for your chicken.

Citrus rub for the chicken.

It will already smell delicious! Rub part of the mixture under the skin of your chicken breasts and the remaining mixture on the top of each. You want to make sure you get this wonderful mixture all over so the chicken can soak in all the flavors! Place each chicken breast in a baking dish; I just used an 8×8 inch dish. To this dish just pour in the chicken broth, wine, orange juice, lemon juice and dried cranberries. That’s literally all you need to do with the chicken! Let it bake in the oven between 35-45 minutes. It all depends on the size of your chicken and how your oven cooks so just keep an eye on it.

Immediately after you get the chicken in the oven start on the carrots and parsnips. These are also very easy. Chop each into pieces slightly larger than bite size. The reason for this is that when you roast them, they are going to shrink on you a little bit. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and place the carrots and parsnips on the pan. Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle the salt and pepper over the vegetables. Give everything a good toss and you’re now done with those! Pop them in the oven right when you’re done and let them cook for 20-30 minutes. When they are done, take them out of the oven and add the minced dill; it will add such a wonderful fresh flavor to the vegetables! In the chance that your carrots and parsnips end up getting done before you chicken, just take them out and take your tinfoil and make an envelope around the vegetables. This will keep things warm.

Roasted carrots and parsnips with a sprinkle of minced dill.

Once your chicken is complete, take the chicken out of the baking dish and let it sit for just a few minutes. During this time, you can use the juices from the baking dish to make a simple dressing for your salad. Pour the flour in a small saucepan and whisk in the pan juices. Bring the juices to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the mixture thickens just a bit. Add the butter and a little salt and pepper. You can then pour this over your salad greens and homemade croutons. (I also added some of the left over cranberries from the baking dish.)

Easy green salad with homemade croutons.

That’s everything! I told you the long list of ingredients was deceiving! There are so many flavors going on with this meal but they all compliment each other perfectly! It seems kind of fancy, but the best part is that it really didn’t take much from me at all! I threw everything in the oven and then had some time to work on some other things while my oven did all the work and my kitchen filled with wonderful smells! For that reason, it’s a great meal to make when you have guests over or you need something that feels a little extra special. Giada actually made the citrus chicken with Cornish game hens, which would certainly be great for dinner parties! We finished off the meal with flourless chocolate cupcakes (yum!) but as good as the entire meal was, it’s always nice to have a meal that brings people together and provides a chance to share some time with family and friends and forget about the stress of everything else!

Date Night Dinner!

For now, that’s citrus roasted chicken with roasted carrots and parsnips and an easy green salad…in the shell of a nut!

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