Life Without A Sense of Smell

How to Spice Up Your Family Meal


Bored with the evening meal? How do you do it, feed yourself or your family night after night? Ideas and inspiration are at the touch of your computer, iPad or smartphone.

Also, don’t forget the cookbook! While in this I am not an expert, I have friends who are domestic goddesses. Here are some suggestions and a delightful recipe from our contributor Jennifer Benham.



For family meals and casual entertaining, any and all of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. For more special meals, Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goins. For iPhone or iPad, Everyday Food app by Martha Stewart for weeknight meal ideas while at the grocery store. Epicurious is good for planning something more special or specific, i.e. “I bought a Kombocha Squash because it looked cool. Now what do I do with it?”

My family’s favorite meals are basically comfort foods taken to a higher level with high-quality ingredients and a little extra preparation. Right now one of my family’s favorite meals is Herb Slashed Roasted Chicken served over giant croutons. This recipe is a variation, and a combination, of Williams-Sonoma and Barefoot Contessa. It is currently all the rage at Chef Benham’s.

Slashed Chicken with Herb Butter Recipe

8 tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1 3-4 lbs chicken rinsed and patted dry
2 bay leaves cut in half
2 garlic cloves thinly sliced

Put 5-qt. Dutch Oven in cold oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Then heat pan for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine butter, herbs, lemon zest (1 tsp. each), salt and pepper and stir until well blended.

Set chicken, breast side up. Cut 3 slashes, each 2″ long, in the skin of each breast and one on each thigh. Rub herb butter all over chicken, pushing it into the slashes and under the skin. Place bay leaf halves and garlic slices under skin as well. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

Place chicken, breast side up, in hot pan. Roast uncovered until thigh registers 170 degrees, which is 50-60 minutes.

While chicken roasts, cut a large country loaf of bread such as Italian Batard into large cubes, place on a rimmed baking sheet, toss lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place in oven with chicken. Bake until golden brown. Transfer to large platter.

Transfer chicken to cutting board; cover loosely with foil. Let rest 15 minutes then carve and place on top of croutons. Drizzle platter with ALL of the pan drippings.

Notes: Croutons can be baked ahead of time and then rewarmed while chicken is resting. I usually serve this meal with roasted carrots, a lightly dressed mixed green salad and, of course, a nice bottle of wine.


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Jackie Collins

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