Roasted Garlic, Lemon + Rosemary Chicken

Leave it to me to choose one of the hottest days of the season to cook a huge, hours-long dinner in my AC-less kitchen. But once I made my mind up to spend a Saturday trying out new recipes in honor of a belated anniversary dinner, I simply couldnt be swayed to do otherwise. Fortunately, the centerpiece of the meal was a fairly easy fix, requiring a minimal amount of time spent over a hot stove (or, rather, a hot crockpot).

I saw this recipe ages ago and put it on the back burner (no pun intended) until I found the perfect occasion to try it out. And seeing as last week was the celebration of our four-year anniversary, I couldnt let the opportunity pass me by.

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Somehow, in all my years of cooking, I’ve never managed to prepare an entire chicken at once—until Saturday, that is—so I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to clean, season, stuff and cook such a flavorful dish. Of course, all the flavor came from the roasted garlic, fresh-cut lemons and fresh sprigs of rosemary—ingredients that combined to make a succulent (and slightly tangy) main course that was perfect for an almost-fall meal.

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Try out the recipe below for your next big dinner party or special at-home date (and dont forget to save some of the savory juices to spoon over your side dishes—I recommend homemade garlic mashed potatoes!).

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Roasted Garlic, Lemon + Rosemary Chicken 

Servings: 4 (Recipe adapted from No. 2 Pencil)

5 lemons

2-3 heads of garlic

1 whole 4 to 5-pound chicken

Fresh rosemary (or any fresh herbs)

All-purpose steak seasoning (or salt and pepper)

1. Cut ends off of 3 lemons, then cut lemons and 2 garlic heads in half. Layer on bottom of slow cooker, adding a sprig or two of rosemary.

2. Remove insides from chicken, then rinse chicken and pat dry.

3. Season chicken well, inside and out, with all-purpose steak seasoning or salt and pepper.

4. Lay chicken on top of garlic and lemon slices, then stuff with 1 garlic head cut in half and 1 lemon cut in quarters.

5. Slice 1 lemon, then cover top of chicken with lemon slices and additional rosemary.

6. Turn slow cooker to high, and cook for about 4 hours, or until chicken reaches 165 F.

7. When chicken has reached 165 F, turn off slow cooker and let chicken rest for about 15 minutes.

8. Remove chicken from slow cooker, carve and serve. Strain slow cooker liquid and serve over chicken.

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Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Are you ready to discover one of the easiest and tastiest side dishes you could ever come across? That’s what I thought. Enter my Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, a side dish I’ve been making so much lately that I could probably whip it up in my sleep (seriously, it’s that simple).

Though you would probably think that means I’ve gotten kind of tired of these crispy little potato treats, you couldn’t be any further from the truth. Just like I could eat fries with practically any meal, I could also devour a nice portion of these roasted spuds every night of the week.

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Perfectly crispy, salty and just the slightest bit savory, this recipe can go with everything from grilled salmon and steak to a hot and juicy burger. And served up with a little homemade lemon aioli (this one is pretty tasty), it’s a total hit on any occasion.

Check out the recipe below:

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Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Servings: 4

1 bag (16 ounces) fingerling potatoes (I use Trader Joe’s teeny tiny potatoes)

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Dried rosemary

Sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Slice potatoes in half length-wise. Arrange face up on a baking sheet.

3. Drizzle potatoes in olive oil, then toss to coat.

4. Sprinkle potatoes with rosemary and sea salt.

5. Bake potatoes at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly browned on top. Sprinkle with additional sea salt, if desired, and serve immediately.

Banana Nutella Swirl Muffins

You know that phrase that starts, “Even the best-laid plans… ?” Well, I was living that adage on Saturday when I got ready to bake these beautiful and extremely yummy muffins. First, the bananas I had set aside turned out to be much too ripe to use for the recipe. Then, I opened my jar of Nutella only to discover that I just barely had enough left to cover the amount that’s called for (I guess that’s what happens when you can’t resist the yummy spread).

But I managed to push through the hurdles and bake these goodies just in time for my mother’s long-awaited arrival Saturday evening. And boy, am I glad I did. Not only do they smell amazing and look gorgeous, but their sweet, ooey-gooey taste isn’t too shabby either.

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I would typically consider banana muffins a breakfast item, but as indulgent as these little babies are, you could definitely serve them up for dessert or a sweet treat, too. Paired with a cold glass of milk, a hot espresso and even a little extra Nutella on the side, I can’t think of anyone who could pass them up.

Ready to try ’em yourself? Then check out the recipe below.

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Banana Nutella Swirl Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins (recipe via Alaska From Scratch)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

4 ripe bananas, mashed

½ cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 egg

¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup Nutella

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners.

2. In large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, stir together mashed bananas, sugar, brown sugar, egg, vegetable oil, buttermilk and vanilla extract.

4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir until completely combined. Divide batter evenly into muffin cups.

5. Place Nutella in microwave-safe bowl, then heat 15-30 seconds, or until smooth and stir-able. Spoon about 2 teaspoons Nutella on top of each muffins. Using a toothpick, swirl Nutella into top of muffin batter in a circular motion.

6. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until baked through and set.

Bacon + Apple Brussels Sprouts

Judging by my last few weeks of food posts, you’d probably think that I’m obsessed with two things: peanut butter and Brussels sprouts. And that would be true (and I’m not even ashamed of it!). Which is just one reason why I’m sharing yet another Brussels sprouts recipe with you. The other reason: It’s absolutely delicious.

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Seriously, if I can get my (secretly) picky boyfriend to talk about how much he loves this recipe, then I know it’s a definite keeper. With the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, savory and nutty flavors, this is one side dish recipe that even the most difficult-to-please diners won’t be able to resist (because, duh, it has bacon in it!).

Check out the recipe below, then start planning your next dinner party around it now.

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Bacon + Apple Brussels Sprouts

Yield: 4 servings (recipe via Back to Her Roots)

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1 large tart apple, cored and diced

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. In large bowl, combine sprouts, apple and bacon. Stir to combine.

3. In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. Pour oil mixture over sprouts mixture, and toss to coat.

4. Pour sprout mixture in single layer onto greased baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

5. Roast in oven 10-15 minutes or until sprouts are tender and brown, turning halfway through cooking.

Peanut Butter Popcorn

Do you have those recipes that—no matter how old you are when you eat or make them—vividly remind you of your childhood? For me, it’s Peanut Butter Popcorn, a tooth-achingly sweet and addictive snack recipe that my sister-in-law used to make for movie nights and sleepovers when I was a little girl. After she moved to Minnesota years ago, I went a long time without having a single bite of this delicious snack—until two Mother’s Days ago when I whipped up some as part of a homemade sweets basket for my mom.

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This past weekend, I got a sudden craving for the sweet and easy-to-make snack and decided to make it for Harrison and I to munch on. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that we ate it all in just a matter of hours (yes, I was definitely the biggest culprit in that situation). And though my blood sugar probably wasn’t too happy about it, my sweet tooth definitely was.

Check out the recipe below, then prepare to be addicted!

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Peanut Butter Popcorn

Yield: 6-8 servings (recipe via Food.com)

6-8 cups popped popcorn

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. In small pan, melt together corn syrup and sugar. Add peanut butter and melt, being careful not to burn peanut butter mixture.

2. Remove mixture from heat, then stir in vanilla.

3. Pour mixture over popped popcorn, stirring to coat. Eat immediately or store in air-tight container.

Summer Tomato Salad

What a wonderful weekend it was! I got to catch up with a friend who was in town on Saturday, which involved some shopping in Soho and an amazing Italian dinner in the West Village. Yesterday was all about relaxation (and World Cup Final watching, of course), with Harrison and I setting up a really nice afternoon picnic in Morningside Park. The weather was just right, and we had the perfect mix of meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies and sweet treats to indulge in.

That lineup even included an amazing summer tomato salad that I whipped up yesterday morning. You may remember this salad from a few Friday Fours ago; after hearing from a friend who tested it out and gave it the stamp of approval, I knew I had to make it for our summer picnic. And it couldn’t have been any more perfect. Not only was it easy to make, but it was also light and just the slightest bit sweet + tangy—ideal for a summer afternoon snack.

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Aside from the little bit of olive oil (which isn’t too bad for you anyway), this recipe is really healthy and is still insanely flavor packed. I made it and ate it within 30 minutes, but I imagine it would be so yummy if you let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or an hour before eating it. Also, the recipe I adapted this from called for fresh basil and pine nuts for topping, but I only had dried basil (and no pine nuts) and it was still incredibly delicious.

Check out the recipe below:

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Summer Tomato Salad

Servings: 2 (recipe adapted from A House in the Hills)

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 small garlic clove, finely minced

1 sprig basil, sliced into small strips

Salt and pepper

1 medium zucchini

1. In small bowl, combine tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, basil, and salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to combine, then set aside for 10 minutes.

2. Using julienne or vegetable peeler, slice zucchini into long strands. Place in separate serving bowl, then toss with additional splash of olive oil, salt and pepper.

3. Spoon marinated tomatoes on top of zucchini, then garnish with additional basil and nuts, if desired.

12 Homemade Ice Cream Recipes to Beat the Heat

My love for sweets isn’t very discriminating. Cakes, cookies, brownies, doughnuts, macaroons: You put them in front of me and I’ll totally devour them. However, there’s one sweet treat that I typically don’t go crazy for: ice cream (milkshakes are a whole other story …)—unless it’s homemade ice cream, of course. To me, there’s just something undeniably amazing and indulgent about a sweet, creamy batch of homemade ice cream on a hot summer night. And though I love basic flavors like chocolate, strawberry and peach (my favorite!), it’s also fun to play around with more creative (and even more delicious) flavors, too. That’s why I’ve rounded up 12 super-sweet and sure-to-cool-you-off homemade ice cream recipes to try out this summer:

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Clockwise from top left:Honey Ricotta Ice Cream from Wonky Wonderful; S’mores Ice Cream from The Gunny Sack; Caramel Pecan Chocolate Ripple Ice Cream from Kitchen Simplicity; Oatmeal Cookie Chunk Ice Cream from Dinner or Dessert; Bacon Ice Cream from Bacon Wiki; and Brown Butter Maple Nut Ice Cream from Country Living.

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Clockwise from top left: Creme Brulee Ice Cream from CompleteRecipes.com; Key Lime Pie Ice Cream from MyRecipes; Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream (photo via Creature Comforts); Snickers Ice Cream from Lauren’s Latest; Hazelnut Praline Ice Cream from The Sugar Hit; and Lemon Meringue Ice Cream from Sifting Focus.

You guys, these all look so delicious that I hardly know where to start with picking my favorites. I really love rich, indulgent flavors, so the Brown Butter Maple Nut, Bacon, Peanut Butter Cup and Snickers recipes all sound amazing. But I also love a lighter, more savory flavor come summer, so the Lemon Meringue, Honey Ricotta and Key Lime Pie versions might be a good place to start, too. If I had to pick a favorite though, I think that Hazelnut Praline recipe is definitely taking home the prize.

Do you make your own ice cream for summertime? If so, what’s your favorite flavor to whip up?