Cooking together is one of the things my husband and I love to do. In fact, we spent half of our honeymoon at a cooking school in Tuscany. We learned to cook many great dishes, but more importantly we learned techniques we can apply every day. We love Italian cooking so much that when we moved to Texas we had to build our own pizza oven. One of the things I make in there is roasted chicken and Italian sausage, but you don’t need a brick oven to make this one. It’s just as good cooked in your oven.

Want to impress your dinner guests and not work too hard? We all do! This appetizer and entrée are simple and so delicious. You’re going to have to trust me on the blue cheese and honey. The salt and sweet are the perfect balance. I know it sounds strange, but you will be licking your fingers.

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CROSTINI WITH BLUE CHEESE AND HONEY

Baguette – 1 cut into ½ inch slices.

Olive Oil – ¼ cup

Blue Cheese Crumbles – 1 cup

Honey – 3 Tbls

Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Cut the bread into 1/3 inch slices on the diagonal and place them on a cookie sheet. Brush one side with olive oil and bake for ten minutes until golden brown. Remove bread from oven. Sprinkle a generous amount of blue cheese on each slice and return to oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts. (3 minutes). Remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Serve warm.

 

INCREDIBLE ROASTED CHICKEN AND ITALIAN SAUSAGE

1 whole Chicken quartered

1 lb. Italian Sausage links

1 cup Chicken Broth

A small bunch of Rosemary

A small bunch of Tyme

1 Lemon zested

1 Onion 1 inch chop

4 Celery sticks 1 inch chop

4 Carrots 1 inch chop

2 or 3 bay leaves

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

If you have a cast iron pan or a Dutch oven use that. If you don’t have one of those go ahead and use a roasting pan it will still be delicious it just takes a bit longer.  Preheat your oven to 500F degrees. Cut up all the vegetables and put them in the bottom of the pan, season with salt. They will act as a rack for your meat. Add the herbs and chicken broth to the pan. Season your chicken with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and tuck the sausage links around the chicken. Zest the lemon over the meat. Drizzle with olive oil. If you have a meat thermometer place it in the largest piece of chicken. Cover the pan (foil or the lid will work).

Place the pan in the oven and immediately turn you oven down to 350F. It will take 1 hour in cast iron to 1 ½ hours in a regular roasting pan to cook. Uncover the pan for the last 20 mins if you want your skin to brown. You are looking for the chicken to come up to 170F and then you can take it out. It will come up the rest of the way while it rests 15 mins.

For anyone who actually has a pizza oven (wood oven) it only takes about 40 mins. Leave the cover off to get the skin to brown and add extra chicken broth.

If you don’t like bay, sage is a nice addition to this. I also added cubed yellow squash just because I happened to have it in the fridge. Go ahead add your own spin on it. It’s that kind of dish.

I served this with white rice to which I added sautéed onions and mushrooms. Serve the vegetables on top and drizzle it with a bit of the sauce from the bottom of the pan.

If you wanted to make a polenta, that would be awesome too. On the average week night, polenta is a little ambitious for me. Though for a dinner party a proper polenta, heavily seasoned with parmesan cheese would be fabulous. Oh yum, now I’m going to have to make polenta!

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