Today is National Pie Day. So I bet you are wondering what roasted game hens have to do with Pie Day. Nothing and everything.
As much as we’d love to, you cannot live on Pie alone. Pie is that beautiful, delicious conclusion to a well-executed supper. Let’s face it, if you make a bologna sandwich, chances are you aren’t going to proudly follow that with a slice of Cherry Pie. You might reach into the cookie jar, but a pie – most won’t.
So let’s talk about that supper that needs to come first, about meal planning and shopping smart.
Like most of us, we’ve got a freezer in the garage for stocking up. When something goes on sale, we need to grab it up because what costs a dollar today will be a buck twenty-five tomorrow. While that might not sound like much, those add up. Every few months, when the budget allows, we make a Costco Run. Since there are only three of us, those runs need to be either items with a long shelf life or can be broken down and frozen. Even with a Costco Run, you’ve got to shop smart. Sometimes what appears to be a bargain really isn’t. Costco has a great deal on Spaghetti Sauce. However; it lacks much in the way of flavor. By the time you’re added herbs and spices and tomatoes and onions and everything else, it wasn’t such a great deal after all. However; unless your grocery store is running some special, a case of corn from Costco goes a long way. And while the initial layout can be a bit taxing, when you aren’t paying the higher prices for meats or canned goods each week, there are benefits to big box shopping.
Costco sells their meats in big quantalities. Thin-cut pork chops come 40 chops to a package. Game Hens are in packages of 6 birds. Those two purchases alone equates to enough meat for nine meals. Invest in a freezer, plastic wrap and a vacuum food sealer, and you are set to shop smart. Make room in a closet or put shelves in a room to store dry good, and those cases of can goods and bags of rice are a good deal. It’s not a matter of hording but it is a matter of survival. Not for the end of the world, but to survive the rising cost of basics such as food. Stretching that food dollar as far as it can go is being smart.
When I put together our meal plans, I look at what we have, what is on sale and what is in season. From a Costco Run, we had a couple of game hens left in the freezer. Those birds became the starting point to build a delicious meal for my family’s Sunday supper. The beauty of this particular meal is that it all cooked up in a single roasting pan. Tasty and easy – two of my favorite things.
BBQ-Rub Roasted Game Hens with Vegetables
4 teaspoons Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
5 teaspoons Kosher Salt, divided
2-1/2 teaspoons Black Pepper, divided
2 Cornish Game Hens
3 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1-1/2 pounds small Red Potatoes
8 oz Baby Carrots
Heat oven to 375-degrees. Spray a roasting pan with cooking spray, set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, 4 teaspoons Kosher Salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon brown sugar mixture inside cavity of each hen. Rub 1 tablespoon olive oil into skin of the hens. Sprinkle evenly with remaining brown sugar mixture; rub into skin. Tuck wing tips under the birds. Set aside.
Scrub potatoes, cut in half or quarter depending upon size. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add carrots, drizzle remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the potato mixture. Season with remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat.
Spread potato mixture in a single layer in the prepared roasting pan. Push potatoes and carrots to the outer edge of the pan, leaving the center empty. Place chickens, breast side up, facing in opposite directions into the center of the pan.
Bake uncovered in heated oven for an hour or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion of thigh registers 165-degrees.
Switch oven to broil, open the oven door slightly. Broil hens until the skin begins to blister. Remove from oven, tent to keep war and let rest 10 minutes before carving.
Serve chicken with vegetables, drizzled with a little pan drippings.
So where is the pie? After this beautiful meal, who wants to spend more time in the kitchen? So pick up a pie from your neighborhood bakery or find one in the frozen pie section of your grocery store. My personal favorite to serve at the end of a chicken supper is Dutch Apple.