Chicken and Dressing Country-Style

Chicken and Dressing
Unabashed comfort food

This is ideal if you have only 4 or 5 people for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and aren’t up for all the rigmarole that goes with roasting a whole turkey, especially the cleanup. Roast and serve this in one dish.

1 large chicken, cut up
Salt and pepper
2 tsp. ground sage
½ c. onion, chopped, lightly saute’d in butter
½ c. chopped celery (optional)
1 loaf plain white fresh bread, torn into small pieces
2 cans cream of chicken soup
½ c. chicken broth
1 c. water

Lightly brown chicken and set aside (don’t cook through). Saute’ the onion (and celery if you’re using it). Tear loaf of bread into pieces. Add a sprinkling of salt and pepper, sage, onion, chicken broth, and 1 can of cream of chicken soup (reserve 2nd can). Mix to form a dressing and mound in the center of a large baking dish, leaving room around the edges to surround it with chicken pieces. Place chicken pieces in the dish.

Mix reserved can of cream of chicken soup with 1 c. water and pour over chicken and dressing. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or more.

Note: cream of mushroom soup can be substituted in this recipe. We have also used cream of celery soup in the dressing. This recipe came from my ex-mother-in-law, Grace Reynolds and she didn’t use celery. (When I make this for my husband, I  add the celery and also sometimes mushrooms.)

Here’s a thought: Why not arrange this in a slow-cooker and cook it that way? I will update this post once I do that. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.

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Bread Stuffing for the Holidays

bread stuffing
Do you call it stuffing or dressing?

Whether you call it dressing or stuffing, this is the basic recipe you can start with.

9 cups bread cubes (use a combination of white and wheat)
1½ cups chopped celery
¾ cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
¾ cup butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground sage
½ teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 egg, beaten

In a medium skillet, sauté celery, onion and mushrooms in butter. Add salt, sage, thyme, poultry seasoning and pepper.

In a large bowl Toss bread cubes with sautéed vegetables/seasonings until bread is well coated. Mix the egg with the chicken broth to moisten and stir into bread cube mixture. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

What I like about this recipe, is the bread cubes stay light and fluffy. This recipe works well baked on the side and also made ahead and microwave-warmed when you get to grandma’s house. Oh wait, I AM Grandma 😀

VEGETARIAN Version: substitute about 2/3 cup olive oil for the butter and vegetable broth for chicken broth. When I do this I usually use rosemary as the herb, but sage is okay too.

English Muffin Toasting Bread

loaf of white bread
Quick and easy, no kneading.

5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 T. dry yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 cups warm milk
Cornmeal for dusting

Grease two glass loaf pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix together the yeast, sugar and warm water in a large mixing bowl

In another bowl, sift together 5 cups of the flour with the salt and baking powder, reserving ½ cup flour (you may or may not need it later).

Mix 1 cup of the flour mixture into the yeast mixture in the large bowl and stir. Finish by adding the rest of the flour mixture and stir well with large spoon. This should be a wet, sticky dough. If it is too wet, add the reserved flour. Your dough will be thick, wet, and too soft to knead. It’s nothing like regular bread dough.

Spoon dough mixture into the prepared loaf pans and sprinkle the tops with cornmeal. Let rise in a warm place until double, or at or a little above the loaf pan top (30-40 minutes).

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when thumped.

When done, remove from oven and cool in the pans on racks before removing. Slice and toast to serve.

Kale and Potato Soup

Kale and Potato Soup

Serves 4
1 or 2 slices bacon, fried, chopped
1/4 c. finely chopped celery
¼ c. grated carrot
½ c. chopped mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups chicken stock
1 ½ c. finely chopped kale
½ tsp dried onions
1 medium (8 ounce) yellow or russet potato, scrubbed clean and chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
1 sprig rosemary or ½ tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese (opt.)

Cook bacon in medium saucepot, remove, chop and return to pan. Add celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook 5 minutes, then add chicken stock, kale, dried onions, potatoes, rosemary (or oregano). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. If you like, you can use a potato masher in the soup to break up the potatoes a little.

Cook 15-20 minutes. Soup is ready when potatoes are tender, but this soup is good/better made a day ahead and reheated. Serve with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Vegetarian? Omit bacon, use olive oil, and vegetable broth.

Health-ier Monster Cookies

cookies with M&Ms on top
Health-ier Monster Cookies

1 c. creamy peanut butter
½ c. brown sugar
¾ c. rolled oats (the kind that cooks in 5-minutes, not instant)
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. vanilla
1 egg, large
1/3 c. chocolate chips
1/3 c. M&Ms

Makes 9 monster cookies. Recipe can be doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease one large cookie sheet.

Using a mixer, blend the peanut butter and brown sugar until creamed. Mix in salt, baking soda, vanilla, oats, and egg. Stir in chocolate chips.

Using your hands, scoop up dough, squeeze, and shape into balls about the size of golf balls and place on cookie sheet. Press down with your palm to flatten slightly. Cookies can be about 2-inches apart. They don’t spread out much when baked. Gently press about 6-8 M&Ms into the top of each cookie.

Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until bottoms just start to turn brown ever so slightly. Remove from oven even if cookies don’t look done. Let cool completely. I like to wrap them individually in plastic wrap.

Options: replace a tablespoon or two of the rolled oats with ground flax seeds. Dried cherries, cranberries and golden raisins can replace the chocolate chips and you will still have a great cookie. Nuts? Sure!

Pineapple, Cucumber and Strawberry Salad

 

Pineapple salad
Pineapple, Cucumber and Strawberry Salad

1 pineapple, peeled and chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced or quartered
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/2 cup cilantro (or parsley), roughly chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper1. Combine all ingredients and toss lightly to distribute the lime juice and zest evenly.

  1. Combine all ingredients and toss lightly to distribute the lime juice and zest evenly.

2. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

3. Serve immediately or keep chilled until ready to serve.

Dark Chocolate Walnut Loaf Cake

chocolate cake
Dark Chocolate Walnut Cake

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan, or spray it with a butter-flour spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for about 30 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan. Slice and serve with whipped cream or even in a bowl with cream.