Since the birth of my sweet niece, we’ve been camping out at the family lake house. It’s a beautiful place to watch the trees unfurl their leaves and the sun come up earlier and earlier on the water of Lower Genesee Lake. We’ve also gotten to share this space, hosting a few weekend events for our new church friends. Last weekend we had our small group over for a retreat complete with late night bonfires and morning quick dips in the frigid spring waters of the lake. We also have had quieter dinners with other couples.


whole dinner


While I think good food is a really important part of hosting, I don’t want to spend the majority of my time when people are over in the kitchen. So I want simple and easy ways to let the oven do the work so I can focus on being with people.


butter and lemons


A solid, go-to recipe for us is to roast a chicken and some vegetables in the oven. The Dutch oven is amazing for this. I originally learned to make this with Mark Bitman’s cast iron skillet recipe, and I admit that version does make for a more crispy chicken, but the Dutch oven has a lot less oven clean up since it keeps all the chicken splatters inside the pot. I’m all about simple prep and even more: simple clean up.


severed dinner


Also, there is something about a whole bird that seems fancy, like a mini thanksgiving meal. It’s great to save all the bones (and giblets) and make chicken broth later. We love to advocate for eating Paleo by feeding our guests great food that leaves them feeling good afterward. You need to eat other meat beside just poultry, but not everyone is ready for liver in their meatloaf, so a whole roasted chicken is a nice way to introduce friends to grain-free eating.


lemon, chicken, and butter


Easy Dutch Oven Buttered Lemon Chicken:


dutch oven in oven


1.) Preheat the oven to 400 with the Dutch oven and lid inside to get hot as the oven heats up.


butter on chicken


2.) Rub the whole (giblets removed) chicken with 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and 1/2 tsp salt and pepper.


lemons into cavity


3.) Put 1 quartered lemon inside the cavity of the chicken.


chicken into dutch oven


4.) Carefully put the chicken with the lemon in the Dutch oven and cover.


preheat oven


5.) Cook the chicken 17-20 minutes for every pound (a 4 pound chicken 1 hour & 20 minutes etc.)


severed dinner 2


Roasted Sweet Potatoes


fork to poke sweet potatoes


1.) Option One: slice whole sweet potatoes into slices with 1 TBSP butter, coconut oil, or rendered bacon fat and sprinkle with salt and cinnamon or

     Option Two: keep them whole with a dozen knife or fork punctures (and wait to put butter, coconut oil, or bacon fat and salt and cinnamon on until they are cooked)


poked sweet potatoes


2.) Put on baking rack or in glass Pyrex pan


everything in the oven


3.) Bake for about 45 minutes @ 400 degrees (suggestion, put them in 45 minutes before the chicken should be done)


Roasted Broccoli


broccoli in pan


1.) Rub butter or rendered bacon fat on a pound of fresh or frozen broccoli florets and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and garlic powder


broccoli in pan with butter


2.) Put in cast iron skillet or glass Pyrex pan


everything out of the oven


3.) Bake for about 20-25 minutes @ 400 degrees (a little longer if frozen)
mini thanksgiving


I aim to have everything done about when the company arrives, and then a few minutes (10 maybe) before I turn off the oven and just let things sit inside the warm oven until we’re ready to eat. Chicken, sweet potatoes, and roasted broccoli are fairly forgiving. I serve everything with a big salad, and when people ask what they can bring we suggest dark chocolate and berries.


 What is your go-to, easy company meal?


2 Responses to Simple Company Dinner: Roasted Chicken, Broccoli & Sweet Potatoes

  1. Alicia says:

    This meal looks great, Amy! I love sweet potatoes and broccoli and your roasted chicken is some of the best I have tasted. I will have to make this meal soon! Hope you and Evan are doing well. Miss you!

    • Amy Rogers Hays says:

      Thanks Alicia! I’ll always remember when you came over right after the great chicken broth debacle, after we had that great roast chicken with Em and Jon. You are a such a good friend, there when it’s easy and when it’s horrible! We miss you. We’re doing well, hopeful that we’ll hear on some jobs for Evan soon. Keep us in your prayers! Love you, Amy

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