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Fall Fest 2010: Happy Autumn!

Posted Sep 22 2010 7:08pm
Note: If you're visiting from Amy's Finer Things or the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom, Welcome! Thanks for stopping by! This post is the start of my Fall Fest 2010 - if you like what you see here, be sure to follow along via RSS, email, FB or Twitter, and check out all the other great Fall Fest posts here . Thanks again for visiting, and we hope to see you again soon.
Today is the Autumnal Equinox, otherwise known as the first day of fall, although you wouldn't know it, because around here the temps were in the upper 80s, low 90s. That's OK, though, it happens every year - in a short time, it will definitely be autumn weather that will last.... who knows how long?! Weather around here is kind of unpredictable in some ways.

At any rate, the harvest proceeds no matter what the weather, and that is one of my favorite things about autumn anyway: pumpkins, squash, apples, and more, but especially the pumpkins. You'll be seeing a lot of pumpkin around this fall, provided I can buy it! (Apparently, last year there was a canned pumpkin shortage that is just now hitting our area. However, I noticed that Harris Teeter has pumpkins - real live pie pumpkins - on sale 2 for $3, so I'll get at least a couple pumpkins in! ) Throughout the autumn, I will be sharing with you all the various fun things I'll be doing with all this marvelous autumn produce. I'll try new recipes, share my favorites, show you how to prepare them, and more! I'll also be browsing the blogosphere and bringing you some of the best ideas as I find them. Hopefully, there will be some even more fun things in store, so be sure to follow along if you don't already! Not every post will be a "Fall Fest" post, but you'll find them popping up probably at least once a week throughout the fall.

Right now, all I have are 2 acorn squash that I haven't had time to deal with because I have been fighting the mother of all sinus infections. Thank goodness they last a long time! (The squash, not the sinus infection, although that has certainly outstayed its welcome!) I will deal with them soon, trust me, but in the meantime, I'll share with you this recipe I concocted the other day that features a great autumn classic, the apple.

Apples are so flexible: they shine in the foreground or provide a steady background; they star in desserts, main meals, and side dishes alike; they range from sweet to sour and soft to crunchy. And what's more, this time of year, they are very inexpensive, which is perhaps the most compelling reason to take advantage of them.

In this particular recipe, the apple plays a supporting role, but is essential nonetheless. It adds flavor and moisture to the main ingredient, a boiler/fryer chicken. I cooked it with potatoes and carrots so that I had a whole meal in one pot, but you can cook it on its own. In that case, you may consider propping up the chicken in the slow cooker with some balls of foil or a small metal cooling rack.

Apple Ginger Chicken
3-4 medium potatoes
4 medium carrots
1 2-3lb boiler/fryer chicken
1 small-medium apple
2 cloves garlic
1 1" knob ginger
salt and pepper

Wash and cut the potatoes into wedges and place them in the bottom of a slow cooker. Wash, peel and cut the carrots into thick sticks about 2-3" long; place in slow cooker. Wash and rinse chicken and remove innards. Pat dry and place breast side down (I find it is more moist this way) in slow cooker on top of vegetables. Core the apple and cut into wedges to fit into cavity of chicken. Peel and chop the ginger into chunks, then place apple, garlic and ginger into chicken cavity. (If you can fit celery in there, a stalk or two would be the perfect addition.) Sprinkle the top of chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Set slow cooker on High for one hour, then switch to Low for 6-8 hours.

This is a great, QUICK, weeknight recipe. Place everything in the crockpot in the morning and dinner is ready when you get home. Add some fresh bread, and you're all set!

It's so EASY, too. There's some prep to be sure, but all in all I'd say it takes about half an hour give or take a few minutes to get it all set in the crockpot.

Whole chickens are so CHEAP for dinner, mostly because they go so far. With this one, we had dinner for 3, plus some leftovers for lunch. Then I made a casserole using some of the cut-up chicken for another family, and still have some more chicken left to make into a pasta salad or chicken salad. On top of that, I made some great broth with the bones and skin of the chicken, so I definitely got my money's worth on this one!

It's very HEALTHY, too. I don't think anyone could argue against such a well-balanced, healthy meal. Maybe throw in another veggie or fruit as a side dish for extra nutrients, and you're good to go!

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