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Monday, February 21, 2011

Extreme Orange Cornish Hen/or Chicken Breasts with Toasted Pecans

I've tried several orange sauces for poultry.  I always longed for a more intense orange flavor.  Therefore, I created my own with one of my favorite items - orange marmalade.  Now many of the recipes I tried already had orange marmalade; so, I thought why not really use it...without adding all those other unnecessary ingredients - and that's just what I did...adding only a minimum number of spices!

Impress your guests and enjoy them at the same time with this simple, but definitely not ordinary entree!

                      Oh You Shouldn't Have Gone to all That Trouble....
                                      (I won't tell them if you won't...)

Ingredients (Per one to two Servings)
  • One Rock Cornish Game Hen - thawed* (Conventionally one whole hen is served per person; I find one-half is enough for some.)
  • 2 TB butter or margarine (melted)
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • dash garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • approx. 1 c. orange marmalade** (divided)
  • approx. 1/4 c. toasted,*** chopped pecans
  • 2 orange slices (for garnish)

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Wash and dry hen.
  3. Cut hen in half along breastbone and backbone.  Remove backbone if you like and save for soup stock or discard.  (Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife; I have surgery scissors -  I don't know where they came from, but they work great!)
  4. Place hen halves body up on a broiler pan. (You can cover the bottom of the pan w/foil for easier clean up if you wish.)
  5. Coat the hen halves with the melted butter or margarine.
  6. Sprinkle with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic powder, rosemary and oregano.
  7. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
  8. Spread the hen halves lavishly with 1/4 c. orange marmalade** while trying to keep as much of the marmalade on the hen as possible.
  9. Cook for another 30 minutes; watch closely and cover with foil if necessary to avoid overbrowning.
  10. Spread another 1/4 c. orange marmalade** on the hen halves and sprinkle with the toasted pecans.***
  11. Cook another 15 minutes or until the hen halves reach 180º-190º when a poultry temperature gauge is inserted in the thickest part of each half.
  12. Per serving, warm 1/4 c. orange marmalade for extra sauce and serve in a condiment dish on each plate.
Garnish each serving with a twisted slice of orange and enjoy with yellow rice and green beans almondine or your favorite sides!

***To toast the pecans, place on a microwave-proof plate and microwave on high about four times in 15 second increments, stirring after each increment, or until the pecans are light brown.

For Chicken Breasts:

Serves 3-4

Ingredients - Same as for Cornish hen, except:
  • 3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • substitute sea salt for kosher salt 

    Directions (be careful not to under or over cook)
    1. Preheat oven to 350º.
    2. Melt butter or margarine in an oblong glass baking dish in the oven.
    3. If necessary, pound the chicken breasts to achieve no more than an approx. 1/2" thickness.
    4. Place the chicken  in the baking dish and coat with the butter or margarine.
    5. Sprinkle the chicken with the seasonings and bake uncovered about 10 minutes on one side; turn, coat with the cooking juices and bake about 10 more minutes on the other side.
    6. Flip the breasts and spread lavishly with 1/2 c. orange marmalade
      and sprinkle with the toasted pecans.
    7. Cook about 10 more minutes and remove the breasts to a serving platter.
    8. For the sauce:   Whisk 1/2 cup orange marmalade into the juices in the baking dish and warm in the oven about 10 minutes.
    9. Spoon some sauce from the baking dish over the chicken breasts; if you have extra sauce, serve on the side in a gravy dish.
    10. Garnish your serving platter with the orange slices and enjoy!

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    Your Cheatin' Cookie-Covered Cookies

    Impress your loved ones with this incredibly easy to make cookie for Valentine's. Also, it would be great fun to bake these with the kids!

                                    It's What's Inside That Counts!

    This rich cookie has a delightful surprise of another cookie tucked inside!

    (As adapted from a recipe by Paula Dean as seen on the Food Network)

    Approx. 10+ Extra Large Cookies


    • One 16.5 oz. roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
    • Dark chocolate-coated sponge cookie with raspberry fruit filling (or similar small pre-packaged cookie)*
    • 1 egg, slightly beaten
    • Approx. 1/4 c. sliced almonds (or chopped nuts)


    1. Preheat oven to 350º.
    2. Slice cookie dough into approx. 1/4" slices.
    3. For the first layer, on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper, place slices of cookie dough approx. 4" apart.  (The cookies will spread quite a bit).
    4. For the second layer, place the chocolate-coated raspberry cookie on top of the first layer of sliced cookie dough; and for the third layer, cover the raspberry cookie with another slice of cookie dough.
    5. Brush the top layer of dough with the slightly beaten egg.
    6. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with the sliced almonds (or chopped nuts).
    7. Bake approximately 16+ minutes or until the edges are golden brown.  Watch closely! Enjoy sharing the love and have a Happy Valentine's!
    *I found this cookie at my "gourmet grocery", Aldi.

    Printable Recipe

                                     This is What Love is All About!

                  On February 13th, 2011, Happy 2nd Birthday Grandson!


    Baking Cookies

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Simple Side Salad with Avocado

    If you want easy - this is it!  This salad is simple enough for everyday, yet elegant enough for guests.  It would be fantastic with steak or roasted chicken, in addition to many other entrees.

                                         Making Taste Buds Happy!


    Per Serving

    • 1/2 ripe avocado (sliced lengthwise)
    • 5 to 6 grape tomatoes (sliced lengthwise)
    • Salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Caesar salad dressing


    Lay the sliced avocado in the same direction on a salad plate.  Scatter the sliced tomatoes over the avocado.  Sprinkle with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Drizzle with your favorite Caesar salad dressing.  Smile as you serve your salad with ease.  Enjoy!

    Printable Recipe

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Dixie Girl Makes Yankee Cornbread

    My mother was from California and moved South after marrying my father.  She was a great cook and baker, and many of her recipes were of a Southern influence. She never became a full-fledged Southern cook, and she always referred to her cornbread as "Yankee cornbread".  As a  Dixie girl influenced by my mother's recipe, I developed my own "Yankee cornbread".  Just what everyone wants, you'll find this cornbread moist inside and crunchy outside.  A cast-iron skillet is essential in achieving the crunchy crust.  Enjoy it with my Chili with Character~No Beans or Beans and Tailgates!

                                            I'll Have a Piece of That!

    Serves 4**


    • 1 & 1/2 c. stone-ground yellow cornmeal (white is fine)
    • 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
    • 3 TB sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 TB baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
    • 1 TB plus approx. 1/4 cup* vegetable oil
    • 1 & 1/4 c. buttermilk (You can substitute cultured Buttermilk Blend - See my Morning Muffins with Bran and Raspberries for more details on this blend.)


    1. Preheat oven to 425º. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
    2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; add the egg, 1 TB vegetable oil* and buttermilk. Mix just until all the ingredients are incorporated.  Let the batter sit while you prepare the skillet.  (You'll see the batter start to rise in the bowl - that's good!)
    3. Add enough oil, approx. 1/4 cup*, to a seasoned 8" cast-iron skillet to a depth of approx. 1/4";  using a brush, coat the sides of the skillet with some of the oil. 
    4. Heat greased skillet in oven for about 10 minutes or until a drop of cold water sizzles.
    5. Handling the hot skillet very carefully with oven mitts, take out of the oven and pour the batter into the skillet.  (You'll notice the edges of the batter start to cook right away.)
    6. Place the filled skillet back into the oven and bake for approx. 22 minutes or until firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    7. Carefully remove the cornbread from the oven.  After about 5 minutes, loosen the cornbread from the edges of the pan with a knife and turn out onto a serving plate. Enjoy!
    **Tip:  For 8 servings, use a 10" skillet and double the ingredients, except use about 1/3 c. plus 2 TB oil to grease the skillet and bake at 450º for approx. 25 minutes.

                                             Pass the Butter Please!