photo by dunham

Chicken again? Sometimes you have to change things up a bit, or meals become dreaded chores. You can make your dinner familiar but offer a new take on it. Everything but the salad is baked in the oven at the same temperature, so you can time it perfectly. You can swap out the broccoli salad with coleslaw or a tossed salad, the potato wedges with rice or mashed potatoes and the rolls with cornbread. Just add dessert.

Balsamic Chicken

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove
1 whole chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, mince together the rosemary and garlic. Loosen the chicken skin from the flesh, and rub the flesh with olive oil and then the herb mixture. Sprinkle with black pepper. Put two rosemary sprigs into the cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken into a roasting pan, and roast for 20 minutes per pound. Baste frequently with pan juices. In a small saucepan, combine the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Heat until warm. Carve the chicken, and remove the skin. Top chicken portions with the vinegar mixture before serving. Garnish with remaining rosemary sprigs. -- Tisha, Canada

Broccoli Salad

1/2 cup mayonnaise (or salad dressing if preferred)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
6 cups broccoli florets, chopped bite-sized
4 cups fresh spinach
1/2 pound bacon, crispy and crumbled
1/2 cup red onion, sliced or chopped
cheddar cheese, cubed
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
1/2 cup craisins
shredded carrot

Mix mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients, and toss lightly. Refrigerate.
Optional: Halve the broccoli, and add cauliflower if desired.

Potato Wedges

4 potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 F. Wash potatoes, and cut into wedges. Place potatoes and oil in a large zip baggie, and shake to coat evenly. Add remaining ingredients. Shake to coat evenly. Place in a baking dish. Bake for 1 hour. Halfway through baking, turn potatoes to prevent sticking.

Sweet Dinner Rolls

1 cup warm water
1 large egg
3-1/4 cups bread flour
4-1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons melted butter, optional
2 tablespoons shortening for hands, optional
1 tablespoon herbs, optional

In a bread-machine pan, place all ingredients as recommended by the manufacturer's instructions. Select the dough option. Check dough after 5 minutes of mixing. If needed, add a tablespoon of water or additional flour. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan. When dough is finished, remove from bread-machine pan. Grease hands, and shape into 15 balls. Place in prepared baking pan. Cover and let rise until double in size. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and brush the tops with melted butter before serving.
Optional: Add 1 tablespoon of your favorite herbs to the dough, such as rosemary or basil. -- Adapted from a recipe submitted by Heather, Idaho