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The Recipe Gals: Welcome the warmth of spring with fresh flavors

Spring is officially here but, when I looked outside my window recently, it looked more like winter. I am not going to be discouraged by a few snowflakes on my lawn. I am in spring mode and with that comes spring recipes. The first recipe is a one-pan meal that really tastes refreshing and is easy to make.

Sheet pan chicken dinner

1 tablespoon ground oregano

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 lemons, halved

salt and pepper

1 4-pound whole chicken, patted dry

1 pound small Yukon gold potatoes, halved

1 cup sliced zucchini

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon garlic

1/4 cup fresh parsley

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 475 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oregano, thyme, 1/2 cup oil, the juice of 2 lemons and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Place a kitchen towel over the top of a cutting board. Place the chicken on the towel breast side down and locate the backbone. With sharp kitchen shears, cut along one side of the spine followed by the other, then remove the backbone and discard or reserve for stock. Flip the chicken over and lay flat. Press down firmly with your hands on the center of the breast. The breastbone should pop and the chicken should sit relatively flat. Season the chicken all over with 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to a rimmed sheet pan and distribute evenly. Place the chicken skin-side up in the middle. Rub the chicken’s skin with 3 tablespoons of the oil and herb mixture.

Toss the potatoes with 3 tablespoons of the oil and herb mixture. Distribute the potatoes around the chicken on the sheet pan. Roast 15 minutes at the 475 degree temperature, then lower the heat to 400 and continue roasting for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, toss the

zucchini, cherry tomatoes and garlic in the remaining oil and herb mixture. Scatter around the sheet pan and roast until the chicken is totally cooked through, an additional 15-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let rest while you arrange the potatoes and vegetables on a platter.

Note: This is a gluten-free meal.

The flavors are so refreshing in this dish. When I take it out of the oven, I let it rest 10 minutes and serve it right on the sheet pan. I put it on the table and you can just tear the chicken apart, it is so tender.

This next recipe is a barbecue sauce I use a lot over the spring and summer months. It is good for barbecue chicken and ribs.

Versatile barbecue sauce

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir until tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, 20-30 minutes — that’s it!

Note: This is a gluten-free sauce. Make sure to check your ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. I don’t add the brown sugar. I find it is sweet enough, but everyone has their own preference.

I usually make a double batch since I use it so much. You can also use it with barbecue chicken in the oven as well as on the grill.

I hope you try these two recipes. Happy spring, everyone!

-Pam Rolley

This easy baked oatmeal is the perfect make-ahead breakfast for busy mornings. Bake it in advance and reheat portions as needed.

Mixed berry vanilla baked oatmeal

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk, plus additional for serving (you can sub regular milk or coconut milk)

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted

3 cups fresh berries, larger berries chopped or sliced (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 2 1/2 or 3 quart baking dish. Set aside.

Combine oats, baking powder and salt. Place half the oat mixture in the baking dish, top with half the berries, and then top with the remaining oat mixture.

Whisk the eggs, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and melted butter/coconut oil. Pour over the oats. Top the oats with the remaining berries. Gently shake the baking dish back and forth from side to side to allow the wet mixture to get down into the oats.

Bake uncovered for about 25-40 minutes, until oats are tender, and the mixture is set.

Serve immediately with a splash of milk, or cool, then cover and refrigerate to reheat later.

Notes: When reheating leftovers add a splash of milk or water to make the oatmeal creamy.

Substitutions: You can substitute frozen berries for fresh berries, reducing the amount to 2 cups. Halve or quarter larger berries. Note that the frozen berries will bleed their color into the oatmeal more than fresh berries do.

May add nuts — sliced almonds or chopped walnuts.

Baked pears are filled with creamy, tangy Chevrot French goat cheese, topped with sweet honey, sprigs of fresh rosemary and pecans for an easy snack or elegant appetizer.

Baked honey and goat cheese pears

4 servings

4 Anjou pears cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary finely chopped

1 Le Chevrot French goat cheese sliced

Good honey

1/4 cup toasted pecans chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the pear slices evenly on the baking sheet. Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with the rosemary. Bake for 8 minutes.

Remove the pears from the pan and allow to cool slightly.

Transfer the slices to a serving platter and top with slices of goat cheese, drizzle with honey and top with pecans.

-Karen Sick

The Recipe Gals, Pam Rolley and Karen Sick, together have more than 60 years’ experience as nutritionists in the public school and university settings. You’ll find their delicious offerings every other week in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette’s section, The Taste.

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