Cookbook Club & The Most Amazing Roast Chicken

So this might be a controversial stance but I am anti Halloween. I am a bonafide Halloween Scrooge! I never can think of a good costume. Plus I am kind of scared of the dark and I am not a fan of being scared... I still have nightmares from Ernest Scared Stupid! 

Anyway on Saturday night my girlfriends and I decided to boycott halloween and instead celebrated our inaugural cookbook club! The way it works each month is simple - you choose a cookbook author / blogger and hold a dinner party. Each guest brings a dish created by your chosen author! For our first meeting we decided it was only proper that we honor the Barefoot Contessa herself Ina Garten! 


I don't know about you but I pre-ordered Cooking for Jefferey MONTHS ago and let me tell you it does not disappoint! Not only is it full of delicious and tasty recipes -- it adorable stories and anecdotes about their life together. And lets be honest -- you all watch Barefoot Contessa for not only the food but those glimpses of Jeffrey. Plus in a day and age where divorce is so common (Brangelina anybody?!) it is pretty amazing to see two people so in love. 

Anyway... since we decided to host our first cookbook club on the Saturday before Halloween we had a smaller group. See below for our menu and links to what my friends and I created! 


- Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese 

- Herb Dip & Crudités


- Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

- Arugula Salad with Parmesan

- Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken (Recipe Below & in Cooking for Jeffrey) 


- Icebox Cake  (we subbed bourbon for the mocha -- it was beyond!)

Safe to say based on the above we had an awesome night, lots of delicious food and laughs which is for me at least the goal of cookbook club! The skillet roasted lemon chicken below was amazing and I think my days of roasting a chicken with the backbone are done! Not only was the meat juicy and tender but the cook time was easily cut in half! Which means more tender less dry breast meat! Seriously guys - make this ASAP. 

Do any of you have your own cookbook clubs? I would love to hear about it and feel free to comment below! Can't wait to share who are are going to be cooking with for this month's cookbook club! 



Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken

Recipe by Ina Garten, Cooking for Jeffrey

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 (4-pound) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied (Note - you can ask the butcher to do this for you at the grocery store!) 
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Note: I used a full head of garlic, each clove smashed.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the thyme, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a food processor and process until ground. Pour the olive oil into a small glass measuring cup, stir in the herb mixture, and set aside.

Distribute the lemon slices in a 12-inch cast iron skillet and distribute the onion and garlic on top. Place the chicken, skin side down, on top of the onion and brush with about half the oil and herb mixture. Turn the chicken skin side up, pat it dry with paper towels (very important!), and brush it all over with the rest of the oil and herb mixture.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan (not on the chicken!) and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 to 160 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle it with the lemon juice, cover the skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot with the pan juices, cooked lemon, and onion.