Tag Archives: #recipes

Roasted Cornish Game Hen

2 Cornish game hens, defrosted
6 cups brine (see recipe here)
3 stalks celery, large diced
1 cup diced carrots (or 1 cup baby carrots)
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
2 large potatoes, large diced
1 sweet potato, large diced
1/2 medium onion, cut into eighths
2 clove of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 cups water or broth
1 teaspoon ground sage or poultry seasoning
fresh sage leaves (optional)
olive oil
1/4 cup melted butter
salt and pepper to taste

At least 24 hours ahead:
Place defrosted game hens in large zip bags or other sealable container and add the brine. Put in the lowest area of your refrigerator for 14-48 hours.

Heat oven to 350F.

On the day of:
Remove the game hens and brine from the refrigerator. Take the birds out of the liquid and rinse in fresh water. Discard brine.

In a large, heavy baking dish or roaster place the game hens and all of the vegetables. Add the water or broth, ground sage or poultry stuffing, and salt and pepper. Lay sage leave across the top of the birds, and drizzle with olive oil.

Cover and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook another 30 minutes, or until the hens register 165F on a thermometer. During the last 20 minutes of cooking, baste with the melted butter every 10 minutes.

When the birds are done, remove from the pan.

You can serve with the roasted vegetables as a side dish, shred the game hen down and add to make a hearty soup, or save the broth and vegetables to eat the next day as a light meal.

You can also add shredded chicken or turkey, mini meatballs, or cooked pasta or rice to the vegetable and broth mix. Two meals with one stretch in the oven makes this an easy thing to fix.

Easy Bread Stuffing

Ok, is it just me, or do you think stuffing/dressing should be enjoyed all year? This recipe is easy to put together, and super simple to swap out ingredients for what you have on hand. It is also a great way to increase the amount of vegetables that you (or your kids) enjoy with a meal. I made this with French bread, but you can use sandwich bread, rolls, or even soft pretzels. If you don’t have croutons, you can make your own or simply increase the bread chunks by 1 cup.

1/2 loaf French bread
1 cup croutons (homemade or store-bought)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup orange and red bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 tablespoons unsalted pepper
3-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth (you can use water, if preferred)
1 teaspoon ground sage or poultry seasoning
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Tear bread into 1-inch pieces and let dry for several hours in a large, heat-resistant bowl.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Melt butter in a large skillet and cook the onions, celery, half of the peppers, and mushrooms until just starting to get soft, about 4-5 minutes. Pour in 3 cups of broth and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Add the croutons and poultry seasoning or sage to the French bread pieces, then pour the broth and cooked vegetables into the bowl. Mix well and add more broth if it seems too dry.

Fold in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly grease an oven-safe dish and fill with the stuffing mixture. Smooth out the top so it is even, and bake uncovered until golden, about 25-30 minutes.

Variations: substitute chopped walnuts for croutons; top with sliced almonds or dried cranberries; add browned sausage to the stuffing mix before baking.

Quinoa Stuffing

The annual holiday debate seems to center around stuffing or dressing. They are the same thing, but dressing is cooked outside of the bird and stuffing is, well, stuffed into the bird before cooking. I grew up with stuffing, but as an adult I prefer is prepared as dressing. When a turkey or chicken is stuffed, it takes so long for the poultry to get to a safe temperature to eat that the meat winds up drying out. If your family prefers stuffing, I suggest preparing dressing and then fill the cooked bird right before taking it to the table.

1 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock (you can use plain water as well)
1 cup quinoa
1/8 cup olive oil
1 small butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cubed)
1 zucchini (diced into 1-inch cubes)
3 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon ground sage or poultry seasoning
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
chopped parsley for garnish
1 tablespoon lime juice, or to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Put chicken or vegetable stock into medium pan and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and sage or poultry seasoning, then cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the diced zucchini and butternut squash until slightly browned.

Stir in the cooked quinoa, chopped green onion, dried cranberries, then drizzle with parsley and lime juice. Enjoy.

Note: this recipe works really well to make stuffed portobello caps.

Quick Cranberry Sauce

I happen to like both types of cranberry sauce (fresh and canned), so I don’t have to take a side in the matter. However, making your own cranberry sauce or relish only takes a few minutes and you can make it to your liking. If you wind up having leftovers, use them on a turkey sandwich spread as an ice cream topping, or swirled into oatmeal the next day.

1 12-oz. bag cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

Reserve 1/2 cup of cranberries and set aside.

Put 1/2 sugar and the rest of the cranberries in a medium, non-reactive pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the berries are soft.

Increase the heat to medium and cook an additional 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the remaining sugar, orange juice, and reserved 1/2 cup of cranberries. Cook 3-5 minutes more, then remove from heat. Stir in the orange zest.

Pour into a heatproof glass dish and allow to cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Graham Cracker Crust

This is one of the easiest pie crusts to do, and you can always have children help with filling the pie pans. Just make sure to check it before putting it into the oven to make sure it isn’t too thick or uneven in spots.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl add the graham crackers, sugar, and salt, and stir. Drizzle the cooled melted butter over the crumbs and mix well. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan or eight 4-inch tart pans. Make the crust as thin and even as possible, pressing it down with a large spoon or measuring scoop.

Bake until golden and crisp, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before filling.

Variations: swap out some of the graham crackers for crushed chocolate cookies, gingersnaps, or pretzels.

This is the perfect crust for my no-bake pumpkin cheesecake.

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