Sheet pan harissa chicken with chickpeas and sweet potatoes.

Sheet pan harissa chicken with chickpeas and sweet potatoes.

So excited about this Sheet Pan Harissa Chicken with Chickpeas and Sweet Potatoes.

I know it is only Wednesday, but this week has already flown by. I hit the ground running on Monday with meeting after meeting and it was the best way to start my week. It’s odd, some weeks can be full of meetings (either on the phone, or if traveling, in person) while other weeks are full of testing and photographing recipes in the kitchen and talking to almost no one accept the people I work super closely with. So my mom, my brother, and my dad, aka the family. Both scenarios are great, but I always love having productive meetings that leave me feeling excited, and motivated to keep my butt working! Between some fun new projects, finishing up the studio (cannot wait for this to be done!), a little traveling, and of course, new content for HBH, we have so much to look forward to.

…and a lot of work to do. It’s both amazing and a little nerve-racking, especially looking at the to-do list, but at this very moment in time I’m feeling happy for it all. That said, let’s check in again about this all on Friday. I might be singing a different tune…

Sheet Pan Harissa Chicken with Chickpeas and Sweet Potatoes | halfbakedharvest.com #sheetpan #easy #dinner #chicken

Since things are semi busy these days, I’ve been relying on easy, healthy dinners like this sheet pan harissa chicken. It’s a complete dinner made all on one sheet pan and I could not love it more.

Full disclosure? This is one of those recipes that I didn’t actually think I was going to post on HBH, but it turned out so good that I had to share. I made this one night after typing away on my computer all day. Pretty sure I didn’t even start making it until nine or so, but I just threw what I had from the fridge and the pantry onto a sheet pan and it turned into this killer meal.

At this moment in time, my pantry is stocked with Harissa seasoning (which I buy at Whole Foods or from Amazon), sweet potatoes, and chickpeas. Before leaving for South Korea, I made sure to stock up on all the pantry essentials so that I would have a fully stocked pantry when I returned home. Basically anything that would not go bad in a weeks plus time I stocked up on. I know it seems weird to stock up on groceries before leaving for a big trip, but trust me, it is the best having a pantry full of ingredients upon returning home. No one want’s to come home to zero food in the house. Plus, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, then you know how much I hate going to the grocery store…SO glad my dad is back!

Anyway, point is, I was happy to have so many great ingredients on hand. It’s how I created this recipe, which if you can’t already tell, I LOVE.

Sheet Pan Harissa Chicken with Chickpeas and Sweet Potatoes | halfbakedharvest.com #sheetpan #easy #dinner #chicken

Here’s how this works. Season the chicken generously with that harrisa spice. Then add your veggies, chickpeas, and lemons. Give everything a good toss and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until the chicken is golden, the sweet potatoes tender, and the the chickpeas are crisp.

When the chicken comes out of the oven, finish off with olives, feta cheese, yogurt, and mint. Serve with fresh naan.

And DONE.

It’s simple, quick, healthy, so easy, and even more delicious. If you like middle eastern and Moroccan flavors, you will love this chicken recipe.

Sheet Pan Harissa Chicken with Chickpeas and Sweet Potatoes | halfbakedharvest.com #sheetpan #easy #dinner #chicken

I actually ended up making this last night…for like the fourth time in two weeks, for my parents who returned home from South Korea on Monday night. I was dying for them to try this because I knew they would love it. Mom loves roasted chicken and my dad loves anything with some good Moroccan Harissa.

They said it was the perfect welcome home dinner and loved every bite.

Also, all of the Gerard’s are now back on US soil. YEAH! While we all loved South Korea, it’s always nice to come home, and I think my parents, who were in South Korea for almost three whole weeks, are especially happy to be back. Mom is happy for breakfast bread and hot chocolate, and dad’s just happy not to have use chopsticks for every single meal…the chopsticks were a bit of a challenge for him.

And of course, they’re happy to be eating my meals again, meals like this chicken, which you should consider making tonight. Again, because it’s so delicious. For more recipes just Click Here..!

Sheet pan harissa chicken with chickpeas and sweet potatoes.
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Roasting the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Roasting the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

This time of year I get hungry for a juicy turkey dinner!  It’s no wonder, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  It’s about the only time of year that I roast a whole turkey.

I still remember my first time roasting a turkey, I had no idea what to do.  Over the years I’ve perfected it, and my family expects a Thanksgiving feast every year.

In recent years deep frying turkeys have been real popular.  I’ve heard deep fried turkeys are delicious, but in our family you don’t experiment on a Thanksgiving turkey.  So I’ve always roasted my turkey in the oven using the brown bag method.  I’ve been roasting my turkeys this way for over 30 years.

It’s easy, no basting involved. You just place the turkey, roasting pan, and rack, in to a brown paper bag, slide it in to the oven and roast for the required time. You tear off the bag about 30 minutes before it’s done to get the nice golden brown color.  When the timer rings take the turkey out of the oven and let rest for 15 – 30 minutes before carving.

Trust me you’ll end up with a delicious juicy turkey everytime.  You’re family will love it!

Here are instructions for Savvy Nana’s Brown Bag Roasted Turkey!  Psst!  There’s a roasting chart on that post too!  Believe me it will come in handy!

My 24 pound bird last year.  Perfect!

Last year’s Thanksgiving feast at my house.

Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house in Colorado.  Smaller bird cooked the same way, perfect every time!

15 Cheap Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

15 Cheap Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

Thanksgiving is in a couple of weeks, that means the kids will be out of school for the very long weekend.  Keep them busy making fun inexpensive Thanksgiving crafts while you’re busy in the the kitchen preparing that delicious Thanksgiving Day meal.   You can also set a kids’ Thanksgiving table for your little guests and keep them entertained making their own craft projects to take home.

Many of these kid’s crafts are made using things you have at home or inexpensive supplies you can pick up at any discount or dollar store.  Recycle toilet paper and paper towel rolls, paper plates, baby food jars, and bottle caps for these crafts.

Paper Roll Turkey from Arstsy-Farsty Mama is a great way to recycle toilet paper and paper towel rolls.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

These Turkey Glitter Globes from ilovetocreate.com uses empty baby food jars.

Instructions here![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

This Pilgrim Hat crayon holder by The Moody Fashionista would look great on the Kids’ Thanksgiving table.  Make one for each place setting and add a blank rectangular piece of brown Kraft paper.  Kids can make their own placemat!

Instructions here![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
Take a tip from Martha Stewart.  Kraft paper placemats on the children’s Thanksgiving table will keep your little guests entertained.  Add the Pilgrim Hat crayon holder and you’ve got a cute and practical table setting.  Kids can take home their crayons and palcemats as party favors!

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Take a break from making turkeys and make a Paper Pumpkin from All Kids Network.  It uses toilet paper rolls, constructions paper, and tape.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

I love this idea from Alittletipsy.com!  Handprint trees!  My grandson made me one for mother’s day using different colors.  My daughter added a poem and had it framed.  It proudly hangs in my family room!

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

A variation on the handprint trees are handprint turkeys!  This craft from Terrific Pre-school Years makes a turkey placemat.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

More Turkeys!  Make a turkey hand puppet using a paper bag.  Great craft from Learn Create Love.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

Another puppet craft from Crafty Morning recycles plastic water bottles.  This craft takes a bit more time as it needs time to dry.

Instructions here!  [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

Paper plate turkey from I Heart Crafty Things.  Easy, Fun, and Cheap!

Instructions here![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

Thanksgiving head gear!  Love these Pilgrim Hats from MPMK.  Grandparents can help kids make this!

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

Take the head gear one step up and make this Turkey Pilgrim headband by BigKLittleG. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

Done with Turkeys?  How about this Native American Headdress by Ankle Biter Art.  Your little Pocahontas will live it!

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

Or forget Pilgrims and turkeys all together and make this Harvest Crown by Dana-Made-It.

Instructions here! [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

Gum drop turkey by Celeste Rockwood-Jones.  Yummy!

Instructions here!

For Easy Toddle Thanksgiving crafts click here!

For 12 FREE Thanksgiving printables click here!

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade View Tips

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade View Tips

 

Anthony Quintano/Flickr Creative Commons

The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade heralds in the Christmas Holiday season.  It’s one of the most famous holiday events in the world. Over three million people line the parade route to get a glimpse of celebrities, marching bands, floats,  and the huge floating balloons—Snoopy, Spiderman, Big Bird, Hello Kitty,  and friends.  50 million people are expected to watch it on TV as part of their annual Thanksgiving tradition.

This parade has been a part of my life forever.  I watched is as a child perched high atop my father’s
shoulders.  When we relocated to Hawaii we woke up early Thanksgiving morning to watch it on TV, when I had my own kids we did the same, and now the grand kids watch it every year.  When my youngest child was in her high school’s marching band they marched in this parade.  At that time Pearl City High School had a standing invitation to march in the parade every couple of years, they still may.  This parade is definitely part of our family’s Thanksgiving tradition.  It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if we miss the parade, live or on TV.

For those of you who will be lucky enough to watch it live this year here are a few tips to help you out.

1.  The fun doesn’t have to begin on Thanksgiving morning.  A pre-Thanksgiving tradition on the Upper west side in watching the balloons get inflated.  For many kids watching the balloons “come to life” is more fun than watching the parade itself.

This Thanksgiving eve event is on November 26, 2014 beginning at 3:00 p.m.  It takes place
along the perimeter of the Museum of Natural History, on 77th and 81st streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.

2.   The 88th. Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on November 27, 2014.  It begins at 9:00 a.m.

The parade route starts by  heading south down Central Park West from 77th Street, east along Central Park South to Sixth Avenue and then south along Sixth Avenue to West 34th Street.  It ends in front of Macy’s in Herald Square.

3.  Arrive early and bring folding chairs, they will make the wait more comfy.   Crowds start gathering along the route as early as 6am. You’ll want to stake out your spot before 7am if you want the kids to be close enough to be able to see.

4.  Check the weather and dress accordingly.  From the time you stake out your spot until the last float passes by you could be standing out in cold weather for more than 5 hours.  Make sure the kids are dressed warmly and have hats and mittens.  Layering would be a good idea, you can peel them off if it gets warmer as the day wears on.  Bring umbrellas if there is a chance of rain or snow.

5.  Bring essentials such as snacks, camera, extra sweater, a lap blanket may come in handy.  I’d take it easy on drinks, hot or cold, bathrooms may be difficult to get to.

6.  Choose your spot wisely, a spot as far north as possible would be good.  Once the parade starts it takes 90 minutes for the last float to pass by.  If you’re near the beginning of the route you could be done before 11:00 a.m.  If you choose a spot near the end near Macy’s Herald Square you will be waiting much longer and be fighting larger crowds.

There are public viewing spots along Central Park West, on the both sides of the street from 70th Street to Columbus Circle to 65th Street and continuing on the west side of the street down to Columbus Circle. You can try further south along Sixth Avenue between 58th Street and 34th Street

It would be a good idea to stake your spot near a coffee shop or department store, this is a definite must with young kids, you can nip into the shop for a bathroom break when needed.

7.  Know your kids limits.  There’s no harm in bailing out early if it gets too cold or the kids get cranky.  Watching part of the parade is better than nothing, and better than bringing home sick or upset kids.

8.  Treat yourselves to a Thanksgiving Feast, after standing out in the cold for hours you’ve definitely earned it.  For NYC restaurants offering special Thanksgiving meals click here!

9.  Enjoy the other sights and events this city has to offer.  The Christmas Season is one of the most wonderful time of the year to visit the Big Apple.  For a list of NYC Christmas events click here!

 

Best-Ever Spanish Rice

Best-Ever Spanish Rice

Tomato sauce, red bell pepper, and the perfect combo of spices elevate ordinary white rice to a restaurant-worthy side. (It pair perfectly with our chicken fajitas!) Don’t skip toasting the rice! It adds a ton of flavor.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 c. long grain white rice

2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1 c. tomato sauce

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and pepper and cook until softened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, tomato puree, lemon juice, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, and cumin. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

2. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until all liquid is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove lid and fluff rice with a fork. Top with cilantro and serve immediately.

 

 

Best-Ever Spanish Rice
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DIY Thanksgiving Buffet Table – Free Printables

DIY Thanksgiving Buffet Table – Free Printables

The Thanksgiving table can get very crowded.  What with the turkey, side dishes, gravy, and sauces, there’s no place for anyone to actually sit down and eat! I solved this problem long ago by setting up a Thanksgiving Buffet Table for all the food and having an adult table as well as a kids’ table.

Depending on the space you have and the number of guests you are expecting this could take some doing. You might consider setting up different stations or bars; appetizer, sides, desserts, and drinks; or any combination there of.  If you’re limited on space your stations may have to do double duty after dinner; appetizer station can be converted to dessert bar.

You may have to think out of the box and re-purpose furniture pieces to hold food and tableware. You will more than likely have to rearrange furniture to accomplish your goal.  However you decide to set up the meal it will require advance planning, so much easier to move furniture without a ton of guests milling around.

Here are a few tips to help you set up a Thanksgiving Buffet Table.

1.  Plan your serveware.  Know ahead of time what dishes you will be using.  I usually do this as soon as I’ve planned my menu, making a note beside each dish what I will be serving it in.  Be creative, make your buffet interesting by adding height, this also creates space.

I love tiered stands and racks, but you don’t have to spend a fortune buying them.  Stands can easily be made from dollar store items with very little time and effort.  Check out Savvy Nana’s DIY Hurricane Vases & Lamps to learn how to make your own tiered stands.

You can also stack platters on upside down stemware or bowls to create height.  Or use books or boxes wrapped in pretty paper.  If you don’t have time to wrap books or boxes, just place them where you want them on the table and cover everything with a large tablecloth. You can even set Plates on pumpkins to create varying heights
For some great ideas on how to set a buffet table watch Kid’s Smart Living‘s video tutorial

A table in the middle of the room allows several guest access to the table at the same time, in this case taller dishes should be placed in the middle of the table.  If the table needs to be set up against the wall meaning it will be front serving then taller dishes should be in the back.

2.  Once you know which serving pieces you will be using you need to decide what you’re going to put them on.  Breakfast tables, sideboards, baking racks, kitchen islands and counters work well as long as at least 2 people can serve themselves at the same time without blocking the way for everyone else.  You may have to move furniture to accommodate the this traffic and arrange your serving ware accordingly.

Consider setting out trays of appetizers on coffee tables and end tables in the living or family rooms.  This frees up space on the buffet table for the main event.

If you don’t have enough room on the table for plates and eating utensils consider setting up another table, shelf or rack to place them on.

Dinner plates stacked neatly on a chair will work![spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]


Make use of all the flat surfaces in your house.  Setting up a bar on the mantle works well![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

3.  Keep eating utensils neat and within reach by placing them in mason or apothecary jars, or on trays.

    

 

Free Printable

4.  Decorate your buffet or bar with centerpieces and even a backdrop.  You don’t need table cards but they’re a nice touch as is a framed photo or sign.   You can hand write your own on card stock or use one of these printable.

 

Click here for this free printable from Home Cooking Memories.
Click here for this free printable The Tom Kat Studio