Chicken Thighs with Maple Roasted Rutabaga

Wintertime is a rough season in the Midwest. Fresh, seasonal produce is limited. We’re left with mainly root vegetables, some leafy greens and core fruits like apples, pears and bananas. You really need to become creative and innovative with your cooking simply because it can get repetitive quickly. An easy way to do this is branch out of your comfort zone. Rutabaga is one of those veggies that many people have no idea what it is. If you approached one at the store, they look like overgrown turnips but they’re waxy and all oddly shaped. It doesn’t seem appetizing and it doesn’t seem easy to cook with.

The rutabaga is just as easy to cook with as a potato. Once peeled, you can do the same thing with a rutabaga as you can with a standard baking potato. Dice it and roast. Dice it, boil them and mash. Cut into sticks and fry them up. Rutabaga is good for you too with high levels of Vitamin C and B6 so it gives you a nice boost in the dead of winter. I generally like to dice it up and play with flavors as I roast them. The texture, once cooked is soft and the flavor has a little bit more of a bite to it, similar to a turnip.

This meal takes a few minutes to prepare but it’s one pan and it’s low-labor. Toss the rutabaga with oil and spices, pop it in the oven and roast halfway through. Remove from the oven, toss with the maple-honey mix, add the chicken and green beans up top and call it a day. It’s a great option when you have a lot of chores to get done. While the dinner is baking, get a load of laundry in or clean the bathrooms. Clean up is simple as long as you use tin foil and after you cut up the rutabaga, you really don’t have any work left to do.

1 medium Rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tbsp. + 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp. Paprika
2 tbsp. Maple Syrup
1 tbsp. Honey
6-8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
2 cups Fresh Cut Green Beans
Salt & Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2. Toss cubed rutabaga with 2 tbsp of the olive oil, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on the prepped baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.

3. While the rutabaga roasts, mix together the maple syrup and honey. When the 20 minutes is up, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Give the rutabaga a little toss with a wooden spoon or spatula. Pour the maple syrup and honey mixture over the rutabaga and mix lightly to coat.

4. Drizzle the chicken thighs and green beans with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the chicken on top of the rutabaga and spread the green beans around. Finish baking 20-25 minutes until rutabaga is fork tender and chicken is cooked through. Serve.

Yields 4 servings
Prep Time; 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40-45 minutes
Total Time: 45-50 minutes

What do you whip up on weeknights?

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