Apricot Sage Honey Glazed Drumsticks with Young Carrots

Recently Hubby, Kiddo and I spent a day at a Flea Market (of sorts) on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay. The Flea, as it is called, is a mixture of vintage peddlers, and local craftsmen. There is everything from recycled art to small cottage-kitchen homemade goods. We found a vendor peddling her homemade marshmallows in a variety of flavors (our favorites were the salted caramel and peanut butter mallows). We sampled some wonderful, creamy goat cheeses from a nearby farm (bought four different flavored cheeses), various honey from local keepers, balsamic vinegars, and bottles of the most flavorful olive oils. These vinegars and oils are lovingly made in small batches – a bit pricey, but well worth the extra costs. If you are ever in the San Francisco area on the last weekend of the month, I highly recommend a side trip to Treasure Island. The views of the bay are spectacular, the merchandise offered is unique and the endless assortment of food trucks (the best in the bay) are sure to satisfy whatever craving you may have. Get there early, as the crowds grow throughout the day. And plan for a lot of walking.

Needless to say, we were in hunter’s heaven. Hubby bought a great hand-crafted leather belt. I found vintage dishes, hand-painted serving bowls and all sorts of honey, cheeses, vinegars and oils to stock my pantry. The Cherry Balsamic Vinegar was a great update to my Refreshing Compressed Watermelon,Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad. I’ve got big plans for the Lemon-Goat Cheese (for a creamy sauce to add with chicken – but that’s a post for another day).

The sage honey was awesome in this glazed chicken recipe. So golden, so delicate, so down right delicious. Both the apricots and young carrots came from a visit to the farmer’s market. While large carrots can be used, or the baby carrots in a bag, there is something sweet about the young, tender carrots with their tops that add to the dish (just be sure to cut off the green tops before using!)

Valley End FarmNeedless to say, the quality of your chicken will greatly impact the flavor of your dish. Whenever possible, look for hormone-free, antibiotics free, all natural chickens. The “brands” that I prefer are Rocky or Rosie Chicken – both from the same company.  Their chickens come from Sustainable Farms in and around the Sonoma area of California. The chickens are then packaged in nearby Petaluma. Beautiful country – great farms, vineyards and awesome foods abound throughout the Sonoma Valley.

Apricot Sage Honey Glazed Drumsticks with Carrots
Chicken Drumsticks
10 drumsticks
Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 fresh apricots
10 young carrots

To prepare Chicken: Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Pit the apricots, then slice into strips. Set aside.

Wash carrots, trim tops and ends. Cut as necessary into 2″ long sections. (Mine were perfect, needing almost no cutting beyond the trimming stage). Set aside.

Heat oil in heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, brown the drumsticks on all sides, about 8-10 minutes, turning as needed. While chicken is browning, make apricot glaze.

Apricot Sage Honey Glaze
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sage honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon salt or to taste

To Prepare the Apricot Glaze: Combine apricot jam, red wine vinegar, sage honey, mustard, garlic and salt in a small bowl. Whisk mixture thoroughly to combine. Reserve 2 heaping tablespoons of the glaze and set aside.

Using a pastry brush, brush the remaining glaze over the drumsticks on all sides. (You will not use all the glaze in this application).

To the remaining glaze in the bowl, add carrots and apricots. Mix to coat well. Set apricot/carrot mixture aside.

Arrange drumsticks in a large casserole dish. Spoon carrot/apricot/glaze mixture over legs, spread evenly.

To Bake the Chicken: Place chicken in the oven to bake. After about 20 minutes, remove dish from oven, close door to retain heat, Rotate legs, and brush with reserved glaze. Return dish to oven for another 20 minutes.

Check for drumsticks for doneness. If more time is needed, rotate legs once more and return to oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes of baking.

To serve: Plate legs and carrots, drizzle with juices from the casserole dish. Serve with fluffy rice such as Rice  Pilaf.

One Pan Chicken and Rice-A-Roni

One of our favorite, quick one-pot suppers is my Beefy Corn Rice-A-Roni – When “Quick” is All That Matters. Using one large non-stick skillet and a few simple ingredients, supper can be on the table in about 30 minutes. My family loves it. I began to think about other flavors of Rice-A-Roni and different types of ground meat to see what else could be created. The Chicken and Rice-A-Roni is a dish still in the creative stage – it needs a little tweaking. Unlike its beefy counterpart, this dish is very mild in flavor. Next time, I’m going to add finely chopped red onion for a little extra flavor. Still, the family liked it. The perfectionist, gotta have tons of flavor home cook that I am found the dish nice, but without enough mouth-watering flavor. That surprised me because Chicken Rice-A-Roni isn’t exactly bland. Red onion should do the trick. I’ve added it to the recipe for next time.

While this is a great base, please feel free to add whatever you like to the dish. I’m always open to suggestions.

One Pan Chicken & Rice-A-Roni
1 lb ground chicken
1/4 Cup Red Onion, finely chopped
1 Box Rice-A-Roni Chicken
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 Cups Water
1 Can Corn
Salt to Taste
Pepper to Taste

Brown ground chicken and onion together in a large pan. Drain well and set aside.

Brown rice according to package in butter. Put chicken back in pan with rice. Add water and seasoning package. Stir to blend seasoning into mixture.

Drain corn of canning liquids. Stir into pan. Cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.

Serve with a simple salad for an easy week-night supper.

Buttery Panko Baked Chicken

You know what they say about best laid plans and all that jazz. On my meal planner this week was a recipe from Cookiesandcups.com for Butter Chicken. The recipe called for 1 sleeve of Ritz Crackers for breading the chicken. I’ve used Ritz Crackers before, but unlike my method, this recipe had the chicken breasts dipped in egg, rolled in crushed crackers and baked in the oven with pats of butter scattered around the pan. When I’ve made my Ritz Cracker chicken, I brush my breasts with Miracle Whip (for a little “zip” while creating a thermal blanket to hold in the moisture), then rolled the chicken in crackers and baked on a pan lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

The night before making my chicken, I thawed the breasts in the refrigerator. The next night, when we returned home, I was ready to make dinner. My mouth was all set for the buttery breasts with salty-crushed crackers. That’s when I discovered we did not have any Ritz crackers in the pantry, or any other kind of cracker that would suffice. Time to improvise. We had butter, panko crumbs and a wide assortment of seasonings to choose from. I rolled up my sleeves, put on my creative thinking cap and made an awesome, flavorful chicken supper for my hungry guys.

Buttery Panko Baked Chicken
4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 1/2 Cup Panko Crumbs, Plain or Italian
2 Tablespoons Mrs. Dash Original Blend
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) Butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small casserole dish (Just large enough to dip and roll chicken one  piece at a time), place panko crumbs and mix with Mrs. Dash Original Blend. Set aside.

In another casserole dish, melt 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons) in the micro wave. Heat butter in intervals of about 20 seconds until just melted but not heated. Set aside.

Slice breast lengthwise to create two thin breasts. Repeat with remaining breasts. Rinse sliced breasts under cold water. Place in a single layer on sheets of paper towels over a cutting board. Place more paper towels over the chicken breast and pat dry. Season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides.

Dip each breast into the melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the dish. Press and roll the breast in the panko crumb mixture and place on a rimmed baking pan. Repeat with remaining breasts, allowing about 1/2 inch between them.

Place baking pan into the pre-heated oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until done, turning breast over about mid-way through the cooking time.

Remove from oven and serve with your favorite sides. (This is great with Stove-Top Boxed Stuffing with a Home-Made Twist. Just make the stuffing while the chicken bakes.)

Barbecue Chicken and Vegetable Foil Wraps Two Ways

The beauty of these moist barbecued Chicken Breasts (besides cooking up with the veggies) is that you can grill or bake your little packages of flavorful delights. The prep work is minimal, a little chopping, slapping on the sauce and folding the foil packets. Then it’s just a matter of cooking indoors or out.

grill-panTalk about easy clean up! A cutting board, a grill pan, a knife and some dinner plates to rinse. What could be easier?

If you don’t own a grill pan, it’s a worthwhile investment. Food cooks up nicely, with beautiful markings. Great for all sorts of things such as grilled sausage, vegetables and just about anything that needs markings. The beauty of a grill pan is that you need not worry about food falling through the grill and into the fire. I love my pan.


Barbecue Chicken and Vegetable Foil Wraps Two Ways
8 aluminum foil sheets large enough to wrap around one chicken breast with Vegetables
4 (4-ounces each) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2-cup barbecue sauce (use your favorite)
1 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
1 red, green or yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
8 asparagus spears
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
extra virgin olive oil

For each foil pack, prepare two sheets of aluminum foil; place the sheets one on top of the other for durability.

Heat Grill Pan over medium heat. Lightly oil pan to prevent food from sticking. Grill vegetables for a few minutes, just enough to sear vegetables and give them some nice grill marks. Set aside until ready to use.

Brush Grill Pan with a little more olive oil. Sear and mark chicken for that nice presentation.

Place one chicken breast on each stacked pair of foil sheets; season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Brush each chicken breast with 1 to 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce.

Divide equally and arrange vegetables around each chicken breast; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle chicken and vegetables with little olive oil.

Fold the sides of the foil over the chicken, covering completely; seal the packets closed. While chicken cooks, heat barbecue sauce over low heat to serve with finished packets. When ready to serve; place warm barbecue sauce in a small bowl and serve with chicken for additional sauce as desired.

To Cook on a Grill:
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Transfer foil packets to the preheated grill rack and cook for 30 minutes, or until done, turning once.

Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes. Open packets at one corner to create a small spout. Drain excess liquid, seal shut.

Serve while still wrapped in foil.

To Cook in the Oven:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Transfer foil packets to a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until done.

Remove from oven and let stand few minutes.  Open packets at one corner to create a small spout. Drain excess liquid, seal shut.

Serve while still wrapped in foil.

Baked Garlic Caramelized Brown Sugar Chicken

Lately we’ve been eating a lot of chicken – thanks to Costco and a freezer in the garage. It’s getting to be time for another big run. Hubby and I have decided to wait and stretch things out another two weeks. Have you ever been in a Costco on a Saturday of a 3-day holiday weekend? Oh you can just shoot me now. I cannot think of a single thing that I need that badly from Costco that I cannot get at my local grocery store or nearby farmer’s market. Okay, the big bulk and the overall savings. But you need to ask yourself what is your sanity worth? If possible, we’ll even avoid the local grocery stores, unless you are shopping early in the morning. Am I right?

This chicken is delicious! It’s sweet, with a subtle kiss of garlic. The meat is very moist and there are pan drippings so packed with flavor – wow. It is unlike any chicken I have tasted before. Not a whole lot of prep work for a resulting dish that is delightful.

Baked Garlic Caramelized Brown Sugar Chicken
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and lightly grease a casserole dish. Set aside until ready to use.

Cut chicken width-wise to create 4 smaller breasts.Season chicken with a little salt and pepper. Place chicken breasts in a prepared baking dish.

In small sauté pan, sauté garlic with the oil until tender.

Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over breasts. Press down to hold sugar in place.

Bake uncovered for 15-30 minutes, depending upon size of breast. After 15 minutes, keep a sharp eye on breasts to avoid burning or over-cooking. If necessary, cover with foil and reduce temperature to about 425 to degrees.

Breasts are done when internal temperature is 165 degrees, the juices run clear and the meat is moist and tender.

Garlic and Rosemary Cornish Game Hens

There is something about roasting chickens and Sundays that seem to go hand in hand. Growing up, it was always a big, fat hen. We didn’t do Game Hens. Maybe because there were so many of us, it made more sense to roast a big, fat chicken for Sunday Dinner rather than a small game hen. When asked, Dad said he did not particularly like game hens. He thought the meat of the game hens was too dry.

live game henOne thing I have always done with game hens is to let them sit for several hours in a pot of cold water with some salt and a little liquid smoke or mesquite seasoning. It really did not matter how the recipe said to “roast” the hens, a bath in seasoned water has always come first. I don’t know if this truly prevents the meat from becoming too dry, it’s just what I do. Always have. So as I sat down to write this post, I decided to surf the web – see what others have to say on the subject. The answer? Some do, and swear it makes the meat more juice, others don’t and swear brining  alters the natural flavor of the hens. No definitive answer. (By the way, you know how google tries to “guess” what it is you are searching for? I typed “Do game hens . . .” and what popped up was “lay eggs” – a subject I had never really thought about before. Turns out they do, but they aren’t very good at it).

You will notice that the recipe that follows calls for 4 hens. In our house, we generally roast two. Hubby has his fill of dark meat from two birds, with Kiddo and I find that the breast of one hen is sufficient for us to be satisfied. After all, it’s not as though we aren’t having more – there’s always a potato or rice dish and a vegetable.

Tonight is no exception. Our yummy sides consist of Garlic Mashed Potatoes with a Twist and Browned-Butter and Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots with a Kiss of Kahlua.

Here’s to Sundays and Sunday Suppers!

Garlic and Rosemary Cornish Game Hens
4 (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-pound) Cornish game hens, giblets removed
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
4 large fresh rosemary sprigs
3 tablespoons olive oil
24 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup chicken broth
Additional rosemary sprigs (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat hens dry with paper towels. Season cavities lightly with salt and pepper. Place 1 lemon wedge and 1 rosemary sprig in cavity of each hen. Rub hens with 1 tablespoon oil. Season outside of hens lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange in heavy large roasting pan. Scatter garlic around hens. Roast hens in hot oven 25 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Pour wine, broth and remaining 2 tablespoons oil over hens. Continue roasting until hens are golden brown and juices run clear when thigh is pierced at thickest part, basting every 10 minutes with pan juices, about 25 minutes longer.

If birds are not cooked through, add about 1/2 cup more chicken broth, cover and continue to cook 15  minutes longer.

Lift hens to transfer to a serving platter, pouring any juices from cavity into roasting pan. Tent hens with foil to keep warm. Transfer pan juices and garlic to heavy medium saucepan. Boil until reduced to sauce consistency, about 6 minutes.

Cut hens in half lengthwise. Arrange on plates. Spoon sauce and garlic around hens. Garnish with additional rosemary sprigs and serve.

Fried Chicken with Creamy Gravy

Have you ever had a craving for something old? Something that once was a part of Americana – especially on Sundays in the summer? I can remember my mother frying up chicken – Dad would cut up a broiler chicken or fryer and Mom would fry it up. We always had our fried chicken with biscuits that Dad made and fresh corn that we picked that day from the small patch of corn growing out back. I hadn’t made fried chicken in years. Oh sure, “oven-fried” is one thing, but it’s not the big-skillet-real-deal fried chicken. And I wanted some. I wanted the chicken I remember as a child, only without the bones. For one thing, Kiddo won’t eat chicken that is cooked with the bones. I guess that’s because he’s grown up eating the boneless, skinless variety of chicken that is “healthier”. With a good, double-coating of breading, you almost achieve that outer “crunch” of the skin-on fried chicken. And that’s what we are really after – that bite into a crisp fried chicken with a tender, moist piece of meat. Yeah, that’s the good stuff!

Fried Chicken and Gravy
Ingredients – Chicken
10 Boneless Chicken Thighs (or 5 boneless Breasts)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Cup Crushed Ritz Crackers (finely crushed)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
oil for Frying

Open thighs flat and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. (Note: If using breasts, cut in half width wise for faster cooking)

Combine cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, remaining salt and pepper in a pie pan. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups milk and eggs in another pie pan.

Dredge chicken in cracker crumb mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge in cracker mixture again. Place chicken pieced on a wire rack and let sit for the breading to adhere to the chicken.

Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a 12-inch cast iron skillet (do not use a nonstick skillet). Heat oil over medium high heat (more on the high side). Once the oil is hot, fry chicken, in batches, 10 minutes, adding oil as needed. (If chicken begins to burn, adjust temperature).

Turn and fry 4 to 5 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Keep chicken warm in a 225-degree oven.

Carefully drain the hot drippings, reserving cooked bits and 2 -3 tablespoons of the drippings in skillet.

Ingredients – Pan Gravy
1/3 – cup flour
2 – 3 tablespoons pan drippings
3 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Chicken Bouillon

Carefully drain the hot drippings, reserving cooked bits and 2 -3 tablespoons of the drippings in skillet. Add 1/3 cup flour to the skillet with the drippings. Cook over medium high heat.

Using a whisk mix the flour into the drippings until it starts to brown, creating a roux. If the roux looks to oily and runny you can add another tablespoon or so of flour and mix again. Whisk constantly until the paste becomes nice and brown.

Slowly add the milk whisking constantly and blending the liquid with the flour mixture until combined. Add seasoning.

Let the gravy come to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the gravy thickens up. If the mixture thickens too much add more milk as needed until the gravy is the consistency that you want. This could end up being more than the required 3 cups.

Taste and generously season again with salt and pepper as needed.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme Roasted Chicken

Are you going to Scarborough Fair:
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there.
She once was a true love of mine.

I grew up listening to Simon and Garfunkel – brings back such memories. Such a haunting melody. Scarborough is a small coastal town in England, and Scarborough Fair was a popular Medieval gathering held in mid-August that lasted 45 days. The song itself actually dates back to Medieval times (a little fact I did not realize). I remember when “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” was the popular song of the day. My cousin had it played at her wedding. It was the first wedding we (my siblings and I) were actually able to attend. I think Mom and Dad felt we would be okay at a “hippie” wedding set in a park. (As dad put it a gathering of long-haired, barefooted college kids). It’s not that we would have misbehaved, it’s that in general traditional church weddings would have bored the pants off even the best behaved children. On the ride home, my youngest sister questioned why we had not attending a wedding before since weddings were so much fun! What does all this have to do with roasted chicken? Nothing, except the title of the recipe, Simon and Garfunkel music and my thoughts wandering about.


Scarborough Castle

Wouldn’t it be fun to serve up this beautiful chicken in a casual setting, with Simon and Garfunkel playing in the background? I can envision sitting down to a table with bottles of wine, baskets of warm bread and beautiful grilled vegetable platters surrounding this beautiful herb infused chicken. Good company, good food and good conversation. Now that’s what I call a party!

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme Roasted Chicken
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 (5-to 6-pound) chicken
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 teaspoon Hungarian Sweet Paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, season with salt and pepper. Using your hand, gently separate skin from chicken. Rub seasoning mixture under skin and inside cavity, reserving some for the outside.

Place the herb-rubbed chicken onto a rack over a roasting pan. Pour a little Olive oil over the chicken, rub the remaining herb mixture into the oil and sprinkle with paprika.

Cover roasting pan with aluminum foil and place chicken in the oven for 2 hours.

Remove aluminum foil and roast the chicken an additional 25 to 30 minutes, or until no pink remains and juices run clear.

Remove from oven, tent to keep warm and let rest for about 10 minutes. Split chicken in half, transfer to large serving platter and garnish platter as desired with additional fresh herb sprigs.


Chicken Francese – An American Dish

While preparing my meal planner for the upcoming weeks, I came across a recipe I had not yet tried; Chicken Francese. As a house filled with lovers of chicken cooked in a lemony-buttery sauce, this simple yet elegant dish seemed right up our alley. I wasn’t sure if the origins of this dish were French (as the name seems to suggest – Francese means “in the French manner”) or Northern Italian as the clean simple ingredients seems to indicate. Naturally, I turned to the internet in search of answers. While there has been some debate on the subject, it turns out neither is correct. Chicken Francese is a native of New York – as in Brooklyn, New York. The first documented mention of Chicken Francese appeared in a restaurant review published in the New York Times back in the 1970s. Prior to that publication, the dish simply did not exist in print. There are those who insist the dish is actually older by some twenty years, at least on a local level in Brooklyn. As the story goes, back in the 1950s the Italian eateries of Brooklyn were loosing patrons to their French bistro counterparts as the lighter, buttery sauces of France gained popularity with the masses. To lure customers back, a buttery-lemon sauce was created to be served over fried chicken cutlets. At least that’s how the story goes. So while the creator of the dish may have been Italian, the dish itself was born in America. Another less intriguing reason this dish is considered “American” is because the chicken is floured, dipped in egg and then pan-fried – all American traits in the culinary world. Some argue that all of this “history” very well may be true for the “Chicken” variety, but that the dish itself was actually inspiration by a dish deeply rooted in Northern Italy, made with breaded veal. Call it whatever you like, so long as you call it delicious.

Chicken Francese
3 Chicken Breasts, split lengthwise
1 cup all-purpose flour; for dredging
1 or 2 pinches of garlic powder
1 or 2 sprinklings of paprika
salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup olive oil

Lay chicken breast on a cutting board and split breasts lengthwise to create two thin breasts. Set aside until ready to use.

In a shallow platter, season 1/2 cup of flour with paprika, garlic powder, pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk well to distribute seasoning evenly.

In a wide, flat-bottom bowl or small casserole dish, whisk eggs with water to create an egg-wash.

Heat a large, flat-bottom pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot add 1/4 cup of olive oil and swirl to coat pan. When the oil is hot, dredge chicken cutlet one at a time in the seasoned flour, then dip them into the egg wash coating completely, letting the excess drip off. Dredge one final time to give a nice battered coating to the chicken. Dredge, dip and dredge only enough chicken that will fit into the pan without over crowding it. Work in batches if necessary.

Fry cutlets for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown turning once. Move chicken to a serving platter large enough to hold chicken in a single layer. Place platter into a warm oven and cover with foil to keep warm.

Buttery-Lemon Sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 Lemons (for juicing)
3 tablespoons butter
1 Splash White Wine (slightly less than 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons Wondra (to thicken sauce)

Once all the chicken has been fried, carefully blot pan with paper towels to remove excess oil white leaving the browned bits at the bottom of the pan.

Pour chicken broth into the empty pan, bring just to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until broth is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes or so. Scrape bottom of the pan to bring browned bits into the broth.

Add lemon juice and return to a gentle simmer. Whisk in the butter until fully incorporated. Add a splash or so of wine, whisk again.

Thicken sauce with about a tablespoon or so of Wondra, stir/whisk until thickened and smooth.

Remove pan from heat, return chicken to pan. Turn chicken to coat in sauce.

For Serving
1/2 lb Spaghetti Pasta
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Lemon
2-3 Tablespoons Italian parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil. Start pasta at the same time as the chicken cutlets are added to the pan to fry. Cook pasta al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

Drain pasta well. While pasta is draining, add butter to the pot used to cook pasta. Return pasta to the pot and pull through butter to coat.

To serve; spread pasta out on serving platter. Lay chicken on top of pasta and pour pan sauce over chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon as desired. Serve immediately.

Tips: Fill large pot with water for pasta and bring to a boil. As water heats, season flour, prepare egg wash and juice lemons. Once skillet is heated for cutlets, begin cooking pasta. While cutlets are frying, chop parsley and slice lemon for garnish. Everything should come together at the same time for serving.

El Paso Buffalo Ranch Chicken Strips

Today is one of those pack as much activities as possible into a single day. It’s Saturday – and as with all our Saturdays, that means a morning trip to the market to pickup all the makings for this week’s planned meals. Notice how I stress planned, because what I plan and what I make aren’t necessarily the same – life and all it brings often change my well-laid plans.

Hubby wants to go Antiquing – Kiddo and I have no objections. Last weekend, we stumbled across a wonderful indoor Antique Shop bursting with miles and miles of things to look through. Last weekend we managed to see about half of what they had to offer, so we are anxious to head back. I adore serving pieces, especially crystals and sterling silver from bygone days. Some items are pricey, but if you take your time, you can find a few surprises that don’t break the bank. Besides, I don’t “collect”, I use my finds. One of the best roasting pans I own we picked up at a street fair under the freeway. The first time I used it was to cook up my Golden Perfection Oven-Roasted Capon – and it turned out beautifully. While I like Victorian pieces best for their elegance, from a practical gonna-cook-with-it standpoint; things made in the 1930s and 1940s are awesome. My soup tureens, footed cake platters and pastry forks are all treasured finds that have a useful purpose.

And then there’s the usual weekend chores – dusting, vacuuming, laundry – all those things that are put off until the end of the work week. On days like this, I still want to whip up something yummy for dinner. Something that either won’t take long once we return from our day’s adventure or something that will slow-cook without needing much attention.

It’s been a while since I last whipped up Chicken El Paso. These are yummy strips of chicken – great for “snacking” or serving as a meal. While this might not be your company is coming for dinner Chicken recipe, it’s great for a laid back, let’s put our feet up at the end of the day meal. These would also make a great addition to a finger-food buffet tables – the recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled if need be. And hey, Super Bowl is only a week away.

Chicken El Paso
1 cup dried Breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon New Mexican Chili Powder*
2 large skinless, boneless Chicken Breast halves cut into strips
¼ cup Buffalo Ranch Salad Dressing (more if necessary)*
1 Cup Spicy Salsa, if desired, for dip
1 bag Seasoned Potato Wedges or Steak Fries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a shallow baking sheet with foil, spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside until ready to use.

Lay chicken on a cutting board, smooth side down, under side up. There will be a small “extra” flap of meat, trim this and set aside. Turn chicken over, smooth side up. Find the middle point to butterfly breast into two thinner breast pieces, thus creating four thin breasts from the two.  Cut breast into strips, three or four per breast depending upon size. Set aside until ready to use.

On waxed paper, combine crumbs and chili powder.

In a bowl, pour out about 1/4 cup of dressing. Using a brush, paint a chicken strip, roll in chili-seasoned breadcrumbs and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the strips are arranged on the sheet.

Bake chicken strips for 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning once halfway through baking time.

Serve with salsa as a dip (if desired) and Potato Wedges or Steak Fries.

* For a less spicy, kid-friendly version, use a less-spicy chili powder or omit completely. Substitute regular Ranch Dressing for the Buffalo Ranch. I’ve made this with regular chili powder and Ranch Dressing, it is still delicious although be it milder.


And now extra little share just for the heck of it . . .

Hubby loves birds. He has a collection of bird feeders just outside our bedroom window. Early one morning not very long ago all the visiting little winter birds were gone – poof – the yard was hauntingly silent. From past experience, we knew we had another visitor. When he makes his appearance known, all the other backyard visitors – from the turtle doves to the bushy-tailed squirrels – all scatter. Gee, I wonder why . . .