Friday, November 8, 2013

Roasted Root Vegetables

Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables
One of the things I look forward to as the weather gets colder is the chance to make sides with root vegetables.  They can be added to stews to make them hearty, roasted in the oven until they are browned to perfection, or even mashed up in a little butter and milk.  Any way they are prepared it is heaven to my tummy.

One of my favorite root vegetables is the parsnip.  Believe it or not, I had never eaten a parsnip until I was in my 20's. A friend of mine brought roasted parsnips and peppers tossed in balsamic vinegar to Thanksgiving as a side, and I wondered how this food had been missing in my life all this time.  Unfortunately, my love of the parsnip is not contagious to the rest of my family. Otherwise, I'd use it more often. In order to get my fix, I like to add (and hide) it with other vegetables and roast them.  Sometimes they find the parsnip, sometimes they don't!

My other favorite root is the lovely turnip, whether it's the peppery bite of a purple turnip or the sweet bite of the rutabaga, I will eat them whenever I get the chance.  As a girl, my grandmother almost always had a dish of mashed turnips as a side at our Sunday dinners. My favorite was the rutabaga (she called them "golden turnips") mashed with a little pepper, milk, and butter. That's it. Talk about comfort food.  Add some hot pepper sauce and a hoecake, this girl is in paradise! Again, not so with my little ones. Last night, I got a kick out of watching the expression of my three-year-old's face again and again go for that turnip, assume it was a potato, and crinkle up his face. Bad potato!

One of the ways to get the family to eat some of my favorite vegetables is to chop them up and roast them in the oven.  The options for the vegetables are endless.  I usually go for whatever is in the vegetable crisper in my fridge.  I like colors, too.  Unfortunately, parsnips and turnips are not so colorful.  To solve the color issue last night, I added carrots, peppers, and potatoes for color.  Finish your mixture off with thinly sliced onions, add salt and seasonings such as thyme and/or sage, and finally toss the mixture in olive oil. Easy peasy for a hearty and filling side.

If you follow me on Pinterest (if not, just click the "Follow Me" pinterest button at the top of my blog), you might remember that I posted a recipe for Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted Chicken from The Comfort of Cooking this past week (  Since we had just received our order of organic, free-range chicken straight from a local farm that day, I thought this chicken would make a delicious meal with my veggies. And, let me tell you, it was spectacular.

The chicken was so easy to put together and baked for an hour. The meat was so tender, juicy, and literally fell off the bones. You can find the recipe on my Pinterest board (Dinner Time) or use the link above for more info.

Roasted Root Vegetables
1 Parsnip, peeled and sliced into 1-2 inch slices
1 Carrot, peeled and sliced into 1-2 inch slices
1 Purple Turnip, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
2 Yellow Potatoes, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and cut into wedges
1 Green Bell Pepper, seeded and cut into wedges
1 Yellow Onion, peeled and sliced into thing strips
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, place all of your vegetables.  Add the thyme, salt, and oil.  Mix everything together.

Coat a 13 X 9 jellyroll pan with cooking spray.  Place your vegetables onto the pan and spread them out as much as possible.

Cook in oven for 45 minutes, checking periodically for degree of doneness.  We really like our roasted vegetables browned and the peppers burned around the edges so I tend to cook these a little longer.