Monday, November 18, 2013

Dining with Kids + Maple Roasted Chicken

We often get comments about how well-behaved the kids are when we go out to dinner with them.  Which is amazing to me since everywhere else they are ANIMALS.  

They know how to put on a good show.

I think we have three tried and true tricks to keep them all in order.  First, we know their limits. They can handle two courses and that's it before the ants get in their pants.

Second timing is everything.  Get them too early and they don't want to be there. And heaven help us if we get them too late and they are dying of hunger.  OMG, I can't explain the drama that ensues in that scenario. 4:00 seems to be our magic number.

Get It Done Tip: The third isn't a new concept to anyone, but the means may be new for some - it is to have some planned entertainment for them.  My tip is head to your dollar store and stock up on disposable, cheap arts and crafts.  
My side of the table had a glass of wine so this mess didn't bother me!
I went to a local junk store by my house called amazing savings. And stocked up on cheap arts and crafts that they can play with and we can toss after. For example, these Spongebob kits were 99 cents each and contained a coloring book story, stickers, stencils and crayons.  As soon as we got to the restaurant I whipped them out and the kids were so excited. They were quiet and happy with some bread and coloring. Dinner came not a moment too soon and then we ate and talked like a normal family. ;)  

We enjoyed appetizers, entrees and then left a trail of mud (post-football yesterday) and crumbs in our wake.  My boys always make their presence known!

Tonight's dinner (made in advance) was Maple Roasted Chicken from Gooseberry Patch's Farmhouse Christmas.  Such an easy all in one meal.  The leftovers are on the stove now being made into Winter Chicken Stew for tomorrow's dinner.

Maple Roasted Chicken

7-lb. Roasting Chicken (mine was much smaller)
1 large onion, peeled and cut into wedges
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
6 carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
3 parsnips
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 T. Butter

Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper.
Spread the vegetables in the bottom of a deep roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
In small saucepan, over low heat, mix together syrup and butter until butter melts.
Roast the chicken 2 1/2 -3 hours basting with syrup and pan juices. (the cookbook didn't give a temp - I baked at 350 until cooked through)
Chicken is done when the breast is pierced and juices run clear.
If chicken becomes too brown before cooking time is complete, cover loosely with foil.

What's not to love about simple comfort food like this.  Filled the bellies of my growing boys and gave some leftover for another meal tomorrow.

Off to do my holiday cards and catch up on work.  Goodnight!

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