Lately at Lunch with Lauren ~ Roasted Chicken + Beets & Goat Cheese + Crab Cake Sandwiches + Muffins and More!

Recent excerpts from our Lunch with Lauren Facebook Group by Lauren Townsend for The Aha! Connection

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A perfectly roasted chicken is a thing of beauty. Not only is it pure comfort food (tender meat, crunchy skin, buttery drippings) but there are so many other meals you can turn it into.
Rinse and dry a 5 – 6 lb. chicken. Salt in inside and add a cut lemon or onion, herbs and garlic then tie the legs together. Melt 1/4 cup of butter and brush the outside and salt and pepper. I place on a bed of veggies like carrots, onions and fennel. Roast breast side up at 425° for an hour and a half.
Fresh Market Dunwoody

– Crab Cake and Chicken Sandwiches

Choose between breaded chicken cutlets and savory crab cakes. Add soft brioche hamburger buns, Terrapin Ridge Aioli, deli salad and cookies, and you’re in for a delicious lunch or dinner.
What’s included
CHOOSE ONE: 4 ct Crab Cakes or Breaded Chicken Cutlets
CHOOSE ONE: 7.75-9 oz Terrapin Ridge Farms Aioli, Select Varieties
CHOOSE ONE: 1 lb Dilly Cucumber Salad or Bowtie Pesto Salad
CHOOSE ONE: 8 ct Crispie Cookie, Select Varieties
GET ONE: 4 ct Brioche Hamburger Buns
Until 2/23
Yesterday was National Muffin Day 🤷‍♀️🤦‍♀️ but more importantly, my 8 year has been running a coffee shop out of her room ever since she got a keurig for her birthday. I was against it at first, but she’s the only person to offer to make and bring me coffee. In support of her “business,” we busted out this old family recipe for blueberry muffins.
Just kidding, it’s a box of Duncan Hines, but we did spruce it up with some cream cheese filling. 4 oz of softened cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 3 tbl flour. Beat with hand mixer or paddle in standing mixer. Use a piping bag or turn a gallon ziploc into one, and pipe into the center or each muffin cup that has been filled with batter.
Additionally, optional, we added streusel topping for a sweet crunch. 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/4 cup cold butter cut in teeny tiny pieces. You can cut the butter in if you have a pastry cutter, but I just use my fingers to mash it all together. You want to to be the consistency of kinetic sand, maybe more clumpy. Cover muffins and bake.
Use leftover streusel on baked sweet potatoes, etc. It can also be noted that my husband’s favorite way to eat a muffin in sliced in half and griddled with butter. He really is so lucky to have me.



I get that people have strong opinions on both beets and goat cheese. I love both and I don’t have to share with anyone in this house. For the beets, I cut off the bottoms and place that side down in a baking dish with a little water, cover with foil and roast at 250 until fork tender. If you are roasting different kinds of beets and don’t want the colors to bleed, roast in separate pans.
Once done, peel, dice, toss in vinegar and store in the fridge. Then add goat cheese or feta, honey and I like candied nuts. If you want to take it up a level, I shared a brief tutorial in my Instagram reels.


Chicken Shawarma is a family favorite and pretty easy, just some prep work.
Marinate chicken thighs in 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp cardamom, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 3 tsp salt, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 3 olive oil. Between a few hours and overnight. Grill for 5 minutes on each side depending on size.
I like to serve with warm pita, tomatoes, red onion, pickles, friend eggplant, and a tzatziki style sauce made from a small cup of plain Greek yogurt, cucumbers, dill, cumin and garlic.


I made some chocolate shortbread cookies for a friend’s birthday, but it’s too dang cold for this Texas girl to leave the house, so I’ll have to figure something else out.
This shortbread is not a sweet cookie. It does melt in your mouth. It would be perfect with clotted cream or mascarpone or just with coffee or tea.
Sift 2 cups AP flour, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1/8 teaspoon very fine sea salt.
Cream 1 cup of room temp unsalted butter, 1 yolk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Totally optional, but I also grate 1 hard boiled yolk in.
Once the butter is creamed, slowly add dry ingredients. I plop it onto parchment paper and roll into a tube so that I can slice. You could wrap it tightly and roll later. You need to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24. If you are rolling, make sure you don’t let the dough get too soft. Sometimes, while it is still in tube form, I will roll in chopped pistachios or coarse sugar.
Bake at 325° for 20 minutes.