Thyme & Garlic Roast Chicken

Thyme & Garlic Roast Chicken ~ The Way to His Heart

When I first started cooking my favorite fresh herb was basil. Besides all of those hearty Italian dishes I made for my husband I also loved it fresh. I added it to my sandwiches and of course anything with tomatoes and mozzarella! Basil was my step up from my parsley days. Although, I have garner a new appreciation for parsley. Alas, this post is about thyme. Thyme has become my new favorite herb. I use it often in my cooking, loving that earthy, woody flavor it has to it. I know many people will groan, but when I’m out of oregano I’ll even use thyme in it’s place. They are from the same family after all!

What I really love about thyme is that it is so easy to use up. During the winter months when I need fresh herbs and I don’t have any frozen I head to the store. I buy some and then realize I only needed a little bit for one particular recipe and the rest gets thrown away. Now, I know I should menu plan but that doesn’t always happen. Yes, I can toss most herbs in my salads and I do that, but that doesn’t always work either. I’m not a fan of rosemary or dill in my salads. But thyme, oh I can toss thyme into anything.

One of my favorite ways to use up thyme is this Thyme & Garlic Roast Chicken. I’ve been making this for a while now and thought I’d finally share. This is basically a compound butter that you rub under the skin of chicken. While I show it here as chicken breasts, similarly you can use it for a whole roaster or chicken thighs. The choice is yours. What’s great about it is it takes a couple of minutes to prepare but will yield wonderful flavor that will have everyone thinking you actually remembered to marinade the chicken that morning! Don’t just leave lovely herb butter compounds for the holidays. This is so easy to do and a great way to tweak that chicken rut that we all fall into!

Thyme & Garlic Roast Chicken ~ The Way to His Heart

Similarly you can use this on a whole roast chicken

Thyme & Garlic Roast Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 split chicken breasts, skin on
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 stalks fresh thyme, rough chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Place chicken in a cast iron skillet or roasting pan.

In a small bowl, mix remaining ingredients until combined. Rub thyme butter mixture under the skin of each chicken breast. If the skin doesn’t cover the entire breast than rub the butter mixture over the meat of the chicken.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until chicken has reached 165F.

The Way to His Heart

Fruit Compound Butter ~ Easy and beautiful, this fruit compound buter always looks lovely on the table ~ The Way to His Heart

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and I know most everyone is thinking about breakfasts and brunches and always envisioning something nice. The problem is then most of us start to realize that we may not have time for everything or maybe we realize that it’s the thought that counts and not to go overboard. Mom’s want easy too because we don’t want to have to deal with everyone else stressed out too. Simple and easy can be lovely.

Fruit Compound Butter ~ Easy and beautiful, this fruit compound buter always looks lovely on the table ~ The Way to His Heart

So, what I have here is an easy way to serve your butter and jam that looks beautiful and seems a little bit fancier. It is Mother’s Day after all. You’ll get presentation points and taste points. Yes, you can absolutely serve your butter and jams separately, but why not do something different? There are some fruit butters that require simmering, like apple butter, but I love this easy and fresh approach.

Fruit Compound Butter ~ Easy and beautiful, this fruit compound buter always looks lovely on the table ~ The Way to His Heart

 

Fruit Compound Butter

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 heaping Tbsp favorite jam, I used our Rhubarb Strawberry & Blueberry Honey Jams
  • pinch of salt if desired (I don’t usually do this unless the jam needs some help in the flavor department)

Stir butter and jam together until combined. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

*You can serve the butters in big dollop serving as pictured or you can wrapped it tightly into a log with plastic wrap and then slice into thin rounds as well.

The Way to His Heart

Scallion Couscous

Scallion Couscous ~ The Way to His Heart

Do you ever find yourself in a side dish rut? I feel like we’ve hit a wall with side dishes lately because we’ve hit a new stage with my “picky eaters.” I was in my pantry the other day and I saw a small container of couscous that needed to be used up and I realized it had been ages since I’ve made some. The kids aren’t crazy about it, but they enjoy the novelty of the “tiny balls” rather than rice. I remember making this side dish ages ago, before the kids were born, and thought I’d make it again and see if it stood the test of time.

The lime juice really adds a nice, subtle flavor which is helpful when feeding it to kids. Plain couscous is boring, spiced couscous is too boring. What they do love is my cilantro rice, so I thought I’d give this a try. While the kids ate it, I could tell this shouldn’t go on the twice weekly rotation, but it branched us out a bit and that’s all I need to get out of this rut!

This really pairs nice with lamb or kabobs. I really like the pairing of green onion and lime juice and I think any herb marinated meat would complement this as well. Grilled season is upon us now!

 

Scallion Couscous ~ The Way to His Heart

 

Scallion Couscous

Ingredients

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 scallions, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Stir couscous into boiling water. Cover and let steam, off heat, until tender, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add scallions, olive oil, and lime juice. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

Source: Everyday Food, June 2009

A Mermaid Party ~ Caroline’s 6th Birthday

A Mermaid Party ~ Caroline's 6th Birthday ~ The Way to His Heart #kidsparties #rachaelscraftshack

Caroline turned six this year. Six!?! I still can’t wrap my head around it. I feel like only yesterday I was pipping that little 3D duck cake for her first birthday and helping her slowly unwrap her first presents. She’s grown into a wonderful, kind and funny young girl and I couldn’t be prouder of her. This year we went back and forth on where to have her party and what kind of theme she wanted. We decided on a mermaid theme because she has loved mermaids (and fairies) for the longest time. I’ve been surprised actually that this party hasn’t happened sooner.

So, with our mermaid theme we needed to decide on a location. My husband and I liked the ease of having it out of the house so we started looking around and I found a resort around here that rents their pool out in the winter fr birthday parties. Swimming for the mermaids? Perfect! We kept it small since the only lifeguard on duty was dad and it went swimmingly well. Our little guy, George, had lots of fun splashing around with the girls, as he was the only boy allowed.

After the swimming we headed upstairs for a light lunch and some cake. Since we didn’t have it at home and there was a slight drive to the location I really had to reign in my decor and food designs which was actually lovely. I’ve learned through the years and a lot of my projects have become easy for me, but it was nice trying a few new things this time around and keeping things simple.

A Mermaid Party ~ Caroline's 6th Birthday ~ The Way to His Heart #kidsparties #rachaelscraftshack

So, to set the stage I had these incredible invitations made by Rachael’s Craft Shack. These invitations were beautiful and the craftsmanship was amazing. I joked that Caroline may have had nicer invitations than my wedding invitations! I printed the map of the resort on card stock and cut that out with a short note regarding some details on the back and off they went to our guests.

For the favor bags, we decided to keep it simple but sincere. During our February Florida vacation we found a bunch of small shells that had perfectly round holes that would make adorable necklaces for the girls. We added some glitter and a gemstone and voila! I made some of this beautiful and easy Sea Glass Rock Candy as well. Add some ribbon and a adorable favor tag and the favor bags were completed!

For the menu I wanted to keep things simple. Feed the kids with foods I knew they would enjoy, would fill their bellies after some swimming, but also realizing that all they really cared about was getting to the cake. I made some cute sandwiches, some adorable cookies, and a few snacks and called it good.

A Mermaid Party ~ Caroline's 6th Birthday ~ The Way to His Heart #kidsparties #rachaelscraftshack

The main attraction was the cake of course! This cake was a lot of fun to make and I think it came out so nice. Caroline wanted a three tier cake after last year’s two tier but I told her no way! We traveled with that last year and I gained a few gray hairs because of it! She was very happy with how the cake turned out in the end and that’s all that really mattered. It was probably one of my most fun cakes to make since it was relatively easy and I could have fun with a few embellishments, but it was a lot less stressful compared to others. I added some purple edible glitter to the darker purple scales but it doesn’t show up in pictures very well. I made some chocolate shells to adorn the cake and then it was topped with an absolutely adorably cake topper by Rachael’s Craft Shack. Caroline loves this cake topper, which is actually two pieces, and has it in a plant in her room now.

The party was a success and lots of fun. The mermaid theme really has endless possibilities. There was so much I could have done, but we loved the results and how everything came together.

One last detail was saved for her classmates at school on her actual birthday. We brought in some Sea Glass Jello for the kids. The girls who were at the party loved it since they received the Sea Glass Rock Candy as well and the boys thought it was supposed to be Mine Craft so they thought it was cool as well. I’ve listed recipes and sources below and if you have any questions or want to chat kids parties or mermaid themes, leave a comment below! If there is interest, I believe I have enough pictures to do a tutorial on the cake process as well.

A Mermaid Party ~ Caroline's 6th Birthday ~ The Way to His Heart #kidsparties #rachaelscraftshack

Menu

Peanut Butter & Jelly Fish Sandwiches

Ham & Cheese Hermit Crab Croissants

Seaweed Grapes

Shell Cookies ~ Shortbread cookies with raspberry buttercream and white M&M’s

Pirate Booty

Goldfish

Cheese sticks

Watermelon

Veggie Platter with Ranch Dressing

Mermaid Cake ~ Three layer Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting covered in marshmallow fondant

Favor Bags

Shell necklaces ~ Shells we found on vacation with some glitter and jewels attached

Sea Glass Rock Candy

Invitations, Happy Birthday banner, Favor Tags, and Cake Topper made by the incredibly talented Rachael’s Craft Shack

Classroom Treat 

Sea Glass Jello