Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Eve Quick and Easy Suppers

Yum It's the night before the big holiday and you have loads of preparation for guests coming on Thanksgiving but you still have to feed your family dinner in addition to all of the holiday prep. I have put together four absolutely delicious and easy recipes that you can make, cook or bake and have dinner on the table in an hour or less.

My recipes are easy to follow so have one of the older kids come in the kitchen and help you out and dinner will be even more of a breeze!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Kid-Friendly Stuffing Muffins

A short time ago I made this easy little stuffing mix to go in my Easy Chicken Roulades. As I told you my husband has detested stuffing his entire life but he loved this recipe. He explained that any stuffing he'd ever had especially at Thanksgiving was way too savory; it was chocked full of savory pork, onions, celery and spices and that he claims is the reason for not liking stuffing up until this recipe.

This stuffing is not only easy to prepare it isn't heavy loaded with spices and vegetables or meat. It has a mild savory flavor and a light apple taste derived from the apple sauce. I think kids will love these little gems.
  • 1 box Stove Top Sage Stuffing Mix
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Simply combine all of the above ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix well with your hands.
  2. Scoop into muffin tins that have been sprayed with cooking spray or in paper liners.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 20 minutes until warmed through and the tops are lightly browned.

The yield is about 8-10 servings depending on how much you fill each one. The kids will love these. They are lighter, more to a young one's palette and totally yummy.

What ever you do, please don't forget about the Cookie GiveAway. Eight bloggers contributing one dozen cookies and when the winner is announced you'll receive eight dozen delicious home made cookies. No nuts and we'll provide you with our recipes just in case an ingredient doesn't agree with some one.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Card Night Tea Sandwiches

Way back when there was a group of us that gathered at our local club and watering hole for "ladies night". There were about 7-8 of us that assembled one night a week and that lasted a few years. Babies came and ladies night became a thing of the past. However this past fall we decided that all of us needed a night out and it would be fun to have a "ladies night reunion". At that point what with some of the gals still with young children it was agreed that a weekly night out was out of the question, but perhaps once a month could be easily done by all.

So each week we all bring some sort of snack food and weekly dues collected so that we can have an extra special occasion during the year. When we first started and met weekly we had full dinner celebrations or went on a "field trip" because there was enough money in the kitty to enjoy something like that.

For my contribution this week I am making tea type sandwiches but calling them Card Night Tea Sandwiches because most likely that is what we will be doing - playing setback which we all love to play. And, I am cutting the bread using various cookies cutters to match the deck of cards. The only cutter I am missing is for clubs. I have a diamond, heart and spade cookie cutter.

These are easy and you can put any kind of filling in you like. I am making tuna salad to fill them. You could also do chicken or egg salad; just about anything you can think of for a sandwich filling. You end up having bread that isn't used in the sandwiches and depending on what type of bread you use the left overs pieces can be ground for breadcrumbs or as they say, "feed the birds".

This was just my way of trying to be fun and creative and make the food I was bringing unique to our type of gathering.  My point is make any occasion special in the ways in which you can because bringing your heart into anything makes it so much better.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Holiday Cookie Give A Way

Imagine being told your the lucky winner of 96 delicious home made cookies that you can share with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors or the local senior center? Cookies will be NUT free since that is the number one food allergy. Also you will be provided the list of ingredients from each blogger just in case there is something in there you or some one you love can't eat. Good deal, right?

ONE LUCKY WINNER - will receive one dozen cookies from each of these bloggers:
You can enter to WIN right here or enter at any one of the above web sites until December 7, 2014. The WINNER will be notified on December 8th.

You can't win if you don't play, so take a moment and enter.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chicken with Lemon, Thyme, Garlic and Marsala Sauce

With our budget chicken can often be the least expensive protein to work into a dinner meal. That being said someone here quipped the other night that he was going to start laying eggs soon. It took a couple of seconds to realize just what he said that he was not saying. In other words, "chicken again?" So I gave a break in between chicken meals and decided the next chicken dish I make better be totally delicious and totally different from what we've ever had before.

The one protein I don't mind freezing is chicken and the $1.00 per pound chicken thighs I took out of the freezer need to be used in a very clever way and with ingredients I have available without making another run out to the grocery store. That's how this recipe came to fruition.

My goal was to prepare the chicken thighs with a nice crispy skin and make a tasty sauce to go with, yielding tender, juicy and flavorful chicken.
  • 4 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 4 garlic cloves - smashed
  • 1 bundle fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • granulated garlic to taste
It was not a disappointment, in fact this chicken dinner is ranked right up there with some of my other great chicken dishes. The sauce has a pungent flavor from the garlic and lemon juice that gets tamed down with just that touch of heavy cream at the end resulting in a well-balanced, flavorful jus.

  1. Start out by preparing your chicken. That means wash under cold water and thoroughly dry with paper towels. If the chicken is wet it doesn't stand a chance to brown up. Then season liberally with salt and pepper and granulated garlic to taste on the skin side. You'll season the underside after you place it in the hot pan skin side down.
  2. Have your thyme bundle and smashed garlic cloves ready and all your measured ingredients: Marsala wine, chicken broth and lemon juice. 
  3. Get a skillet large enough to hold the chicken and heat it over medium high heat. Once the skillet is hot add in the olive oil and butter. Let the butter start to turn slightly brown and add in the chicken skin side down. Immediately season what is now the top side with salt and pepper and granulated garlic to taste.
  4. Sear and brown for about 4-5 minutes, turning the heat down to medium. You want nice dark skin color. Flip over and brown the second side for 1 minute. Remove to a waiting plate.
  5. Add in the crushed garlic cloves, stirring around the pan.
  6. Add in the thyme bundle and de-glaze the pan with the Marsala wine. Cook down for a minute or so to reduce the Marsala. Add in the lemon juice.
  7. Turn the heat down to low, add in the chicken and simmer for 40-45 more minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165° and still be moist and tender.
  8. When the chicken is done remove to a waiting plate. Take out the thyme bundle and the garlic cloves. Add the heavy cream, mixing well to incorporate. You are ready to serve the chicken and the fabulous sauce!

The chicken thighs I purchased are fairly large so one per person is a good estimate. Two per person if someone has a large appetite. Serving with a side vegetable and say mashed potatoes you can still keep the cost of this dinner on the low side. For us the chicken alone (and I figured for four thighs not three) came to approximately $7.16. To save yourself money make sure you take advantage of the thighs at the $1.00 per pound sale price as they freeze well and you can split a family pack into multiple dinners. We got our egg noodles at $1.00 per bag and with the broccoli this entire meal costs $10.35.