After a wonderful whirlwind weekend in NY I arrived home late Sunday afternoon after the New York Cookie Swap. A couple of hours later I was hosting dinner for six. How did I do it?

Before leaving for the city on Friday I made a big roasting pan of Sausages and White Beans, Cassoulet-Style. If you‘ve ever made it, you know just how easy this dish is. You simply throw Italian sausages, aromatics, herbs, and a little olive oil and vinegar in a roasting pan and shove it in the oven. Forty-five minutes later you add 3 cans of white beans and heat it through. It just doesn’t get any better or simpler than this dish.

When everyone arrived that night I set out a dish of nuts and cracked open a bottle of bubbly. I started the meal with baby greens greens apple slices, celery, red onion, and dried cranberries.

After the stew course I put out a little cheese, and then I opened my container of cookies from the New York Cookie Swap and let everyone mine for their favorites.

It was such a nice night, and it took so little effort. I realized I needed more dishes in my life like Sausages and White Beans, Cassoulet-Style.

Chicken, I thought. I need a chicken dish like this. So I bought some boneless skinless chicken thighs, added some yellow potatoes to the mix, and I be darned if I didn’t end up with a dish just as simple and satisfying as the sausages and beans.

I figure we all need a Shove-it-in-the-Oven dish this time of year. It’s my gift to you so you can take time to enjoy a great meal with those you love this month.

Shove-it-in-the-Oven Chicken Stew with Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Italian Seasonings

Serves 6 to 8

Sprinkle with a little chopped fresh parsley, if you like.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large pieces
2 pounds yellow potatoes, quartered
1 large onion, cut into large chunks
1 pint cherry tomatoes
4 large cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken broth

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix chicken, potatoes, onion, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, Italian seasoning, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a large roasting pan.  Set pan in oven and roast until cooked through and juices have released, about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir in enough broth to form a thick stew.