Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Highlights


Christmas is about family and being together. For almost 30 years, we have spent a weekend just before Christmas enjoying the festivities and decorations at a mountain resort. We all live in different states now. This was a wonderful place to meet. Here are a few highlights from our 27th visit.


Little Sister got to sing with the pianist in the Great Hall.


And Little Sister and her Aunt Jessica took a turn 
on the dance floor one evening.


Unusually warm weather let us sit out on the porch one night
and watch visitors come and go.


This fireplace is big enough to walk in to.


The proud and happy grandparents.

After the weekend, we all headed home to enjoy Christmas together at the farm. Santa Claus visited Little Sister and Big Sister here this year. It's amazing that he always knows where the children are.


Little Sister was excited to get just what she had asked Santa for.


Yes—all she had asked Santa for was "cornbread and cracked walnuts in a blue box."
Santa listened and delivered.


Aunt Jessica had a little shadow most of the week. She helped Jessica cook.


She sat right beside her and "knitted."


The temperatures got colder but not enough to keep everyone indoors.


Little Sister liked checking on the cows, even if they were smelly.


We had such fun having this bright face here for a few days. 
We enjoyed the rest of the family, too.


A tradition that started last year—baking cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve.
One corner had extra cinnamon!


A longer tradition has been the cooking a rib roast on Christmas evening. Jessica and Daddy-O cook and let me sit down. They had tried a different recipe every year—until last year. They found the one they liked.


MOLASSES & BLACK PEPPER-CRUSTED STANDING RIB ROAST

1 (8 to 9 pound) beef rib roast
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup molasses
2 tablespoons course ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme, crushed
1/4 cup all-pourpose flour

Preheat oven to 325. Sprinkle meat with salt and place in a roasting pan. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into the center of the roast. The thermometer should not touch the bone. Roast, uncovered, for 2 hours or until desired temperature.

In a small bowl, combine the molasses, pepper and thyme. Brush roast with some glaze. Add 2 cups of water to the pan and return to the oven. Roast for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 135 for medium rare. Brush roast once with remaining glaze and transfer roast to a carving board. Cover roast with foil; let stand for at least 15 minutes. Temperature of meat should be 145.

Meanwhile, pour pan drippings into a large measuring cup. Skim and reserve the fat from the drippings. Pour 1/4 cup of the fat into a medium saucepan (discard remaining fat). Stir in flour. Add enough water to the remaining drippings in the measuring cup to equal 2 cups. Add drippings all at once to the flour mixture in the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Season to taste with salt. Slice meat and serve with gravy. 

Makes 8 to 10 servings.







Thursday, December 19, 2013

Need One More Gift?



Yes, I am sticking to my plan and doing "doing less." (But, it's Christmas—I have to do something!) In fact, I'm taking a break right now to rest for a few minutes this morning. Posting a short blog entry doesn't require much energy, though. I thought you might like to have this easy, easy recipe if you need just one more thing to give, to take to a party, to have for your family to nibble on.

We had enjoyed a pumpkin dip at a couple of baby showers in recent years. I found this recipe on SouthernPlate.com around Thanksgiving and I saved it for Christmas.  The ingredients are things I usually have on hand--except for the cookies. It took five minutes to mix together and put into containers. One recipe filled four half-pint jars. I added a little treat bag with bought gingerbread man cookies.

And this really does taste like pumpkin pie. So if you know your folks won't go near a pumpkin pie, find something else for them!

PUMPKIN PIE DIP

8-oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
15-oz. can pumpkin
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until creamy. (I used my hand mixer.) Add pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger and beat until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with ginger cookies, graham cracker sticks, or apple slices.


Jessica arrives tomorrow. We will see the rest of the family on Saturday. Yeah! 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Less Doing


These are words I am taking to heart this year. The days left until Christmas are limited. My energy is limited after a round of bronchitis. But the spirit IS here. Our family starts arriving this weekend. I am trying to think of easy recipes for the few meals when we will all be together. 

How about you? Are you a big decorator? Do you love shopping and wrapping gifts? Do you bake elaborate recipes? If so, go for it. But I'm aiming for simple and low-key this year.


With lots of extra people here for a few days, here are a few easy recipes that I might (or might not) make. We will see how it goes the next few days go. 

MAKE AHEAD RECIPES

Ham Delights - Delicious little ham & cheese or turkey & cheese sandwiches for a party or for supper. Put them in the freezer and you'll only have to pop them in the oven when you need them. (These are already done!)

Damn Good Chili - I usually make a double batch, sometimes triple and put it in the freezer in quart containers. Only takes minutes to thaw and serve.

QUICK & EASY

Old-Fashioned Potato Soup - Not the thick, loaded kind you get at restaurants. Just a simple delicious soup that my folks love.

Baked Bowties w/ Tomato & Mozzarella - One of our favorite pasta dishes. Creamy and flavorful. You can make it early in the day and have it ready to bake at dinner time. I have also frozen this after I've baked it. Just thaw in the refrigerator before heating.  

Pasta Bake - It's not unusual to have "no red meat" eaters or vegetarians in the family nowadays. This is good enough to feed the meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike. One dish feeds them all. Make it early in the day. Bake it later.

BEVERAGES

Blushing Apple Juleps - Delicious and it's so pretty.

Hot Cocoa - Perfect for sipping while you watch the Christmas tree lights twinkle.

BREADS

Sweet Potato Biscuits - Make them ahead and freeze them. Just bake when you're ready.

Corny Cornbread - Goes well with the chili or the potato soup.

BREAKFAST

Homemake Pancakes - If you measure you dry ingredients the night before, it doesn't take long to mix the batter. You might need to double or triple the recipe if you are feeding a big family.

Apple-Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal - Mix this the night before and refrigerate. All that's left to do the next morning is to bake it. This is so very good. 


By Thursday, I'll have a meal plan and a grocery list. That doesn't mean that I will stick to it exactly, but the better prepared I am, the more I can relax and enjoy the company.



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Count Down


Father Christmas has obviously planned ahead. I caught him making an early delivery today when I peeked around the corner! On the other hand, I have been down for the count with my annual bout with bronchitis and I'm a little behind. But thankfully, a trip to the doctor and antibiotics are helping. Too much to do with just 11 days left before Christmas!

I truly have spent the last few days under a blanket. I have read and I have ordered a couple of gifts online and I am so over Christmas movies. This coming week I will get back up to speed, I hope. Handbells tomorrow at church and one ukulele concert next Friday and my music "job" is done for the season.


I need to finish knitting the foot of the second sock to tuck into a Christmas stocking. Poor son-in-law will not get a cap for Christmas although I bought the yarn months ago. I was happy to hear that Big Sister has been working on knitting gifts last week while she was out of school because of snow. By the time she is my age, her knitting should far surpass mine!


Cows don't observe a Christmas schedule as far as we know. But with our colder weather, they are happy to see Daddy-O every day when he arrives with hay. Thankfully, they just eat the same ol' thing every day and it's okay.

What do you do for meals when you are under the weather? I usually look to things in my freezer first--that's another reason to keep a few prepared meals at the ready. And then I turn to easy recipes that I know will be good. This is not a time to experiment.  (Okay, so I did make Chicken Bog on Monday and we ate it for days. I knew it couldn't be bad, but was delighted that it was SO good.) Tonight, a 3-Packet Pot Roast is in the slow cooker and that should feed us for a couple of meals with more to put in the freezer for another time.

How are you coming with your Christmas preparations? Years back I learned that just like Dr. Seuss wrote years ago, Christmas will come whether we finish our list or not. So bring it on! We will welcome it, regardless of how much I get (or don't get) done.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”


Thank you, Dr. Seuss.





Monday, December 9, 2013

Barreling Toward Christmas

As we prepare for Christmas, we are still remembering the fun we had with the whole family home for Thanksgiving. One of our best memories was the evening we sat at the kitchen table for about an hour after supper, pushing a Fisher-Price tractor around and around our long table. We all pushed it from one person to the next, making tractor noises, as Little Sister squealed in delight as we helped the plastic farmer do his job.

After a while, someone suggested that the farmer probably should go check on the cows. On our real farm, checking the cows involves riding out to see them, to count them, to make sure that no cows are in distress. But when Little Sister drove her little tractor over to the line of plastic farm animals at the end of the table, she hopped the plastic farmer out of the tractor. Then she turned him toward the animals and shouted, "Hey guys! How ya doing?" She may need a little more farm time with Daddy-O.


I have sneezed and sniffed for the entire rainy gloomy weekend and Monday was no better. We needed an easy supper. I happened to read that a nearby restaurant was having chicken bog for their special this evening. I have not had chicken bog in many years—not since my first job right out of college landed me in the South Carolina low country, where chicken bog is a staple. It was served at restaurants, school cafeterias and fund raisers. It sounded just right for this rainy night. Comfort food to the max.

 

Since I had cooked chicken in the freezer and House Seasoning on hand, this was a quick meal. I only made a half of the original recipe because that's all the rice I had. It was more than enough for the two of us. We will be eating it again for a couple of meals. If you want to make the full recipe, check out Paula Deen's recipe link. The recipe I've written down here is what I made tonight.

CHICKEN BOG
   — adapted from Paula Deen

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (the ones I used were large ones)
1/2 lb. turkey smoked sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Lawry's seasoning salt
1 teaspoon House Seasoning**
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (or to taste--we surely didn't want more!)
1-1/2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth or water (and more, as needed)
1-1/2 cups uncooked rice

Slice the turkey smoked sausage into rounds. In a stockpot, combine chicken, sausage, onion, butter, seasonings and bay leaves. Add the chicken broth, cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for about 30-35 minutes, until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from pot and let cool slightly. Using two forks, shred chicken and set aside. Add rice to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring well. Boil 10 minutes, then reduce heat, cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, or until rice is done. (Add more broth if needed.) Remove the bay leaves. Stir the shredded chicken back into pot.

Serves 4

I always keep House Seasoning on my shelf.   **House Seasoning:  Mix 1/4 cup salt, 1 tbsp. black pepper & 1 tbsp. garlic powder. Store in an air-tight container, such as an empty spice bottle.


On Saturday, before this cold got the best of me, I helped at our church bake sale. I took eight loaves of my sour dough bread.


And I made a few loaves of a new recipe, Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread. Since I had never made this one before, we had to taste the first one to make sure it was bake-sale-worthy. It was very good. We decided it was even better a couple of days later. Makes it even easier to factor into your gift giving since you can make it ahead.

CINNAMON SWIRL QUICK BREAD
          —adapted from Plain Chicken

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Glaze:
1/4 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.

Lightly spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with PAM. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper or wax paper, and spray paper lightly with PAM. 

Combine flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking soda and salt. Whisk to mix dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, egg, vanilla and oil. Stir just until moistened. Pour half of batter into loaf pan; sprinkle with half of cinnamon sugar. Spread with remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Cut through batter with a knife to swirl.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.

Combine confectioners' sugar and enough water to reach desired consistency; drizzle over loaf.



Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Holidays Begin


Busy times around here for the last couple of weeks as Thanksgiving came and went. Getting ready for everyone to come home for the holiday was fun. There was even snow the day before Thanksgiving. What a way to start the holiday! We had a full house, with someone sleeping in every room. Little Sister was excited to have a "big girl bed" (also known as an air mattress) to sleep on this time. It felt like our house had a revolving door for a few days as everyone hurried here and there trying to visit with other family.


But some of our best times were the "in between" times when we had a few minutes to enjoy each other. Little Sister and Daddy-O had the best impromptu jam session, with Little Sister fully in charge.


Thanksgiving Day was spent with extended family. We loved sampling all the good dishes that everyone brought. The only downside of this kind of celebration is that we don't have turkey leftovers to nibble on for the next week. This year I remedied that by putting a turkey breast in the slow cooker as we left for the family dinner. When we got home, we had turkey for sandwiches like everyone else! I have cooked turkey breasts in the crockpot before, but this recipe was a little different. I liked it this way.



TURKEY BREAST in the SLOW COOKER

4-6 lb. turkey breast
2 cups white wine (or apple juice or chicken broth)
1 onion, peeled & quartered
1/4 cup butter
1-2 celery stalks, halved
handful of parsley (optional)
salt & pepper, to taste

Wash the turkey breast and pat dry. Sprinkle well with salt and pepper. Place it breast-side down in 6-qt. crockpot. Add onion, celery, parsley, and butter into the cavity. Pour wine over the top of turkey breast. Cook on HIHG for 4-6 hours or LOW for 7-9 hours. (Internal temperature should read 170 degrees on a meat thermometer.)

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things was when my mother cooked a hen (or turkey) and made a hen mulligan with the last of the leftovers. I liked it better than the turkey dinner in the beginning. This is the kind of recipe that should be considered a "guideline" rather than one requiring exact measurement. These are the amounts my mother wrote down for me, but I'm sure she never measured anything. 

HEN (TURKEY) MULLIGAN

2-3 cups cooked hen or turkey, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped fine
3 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
3-4 cups water or broth (if using canned broth, use a mix of broth & water)
3 tablespoons butter
1 (15-oz) can cream-style corn (I used an 8-oz can this time)

Mix all ingredients, except corn, in a large pot. Cook until potatoes and onions are done. Stir in corn and heat thoroughly.   


We took time to give thanks for everyone being together for a few days and then getting back home safely. Now, to start Christmas preparations. We hope we have everyone back here in a few weeks. Maybe Santa will make a stop at the farm!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Giving Thanks


Last week I had a peppermint milkshake. (Well, part of one—I remembered that I don't especially like them.) And today I had my one gingerbread latte of the season. These once-a-year treats mean the holidays are fast approaching. I battled city traffic today to get a few errands done before and after I enjoyed lunch with a friend. It was so good to come home with almost everything crossed off my list.

Yesterday I baked the first bread of the season. It's important to eat a loaf from that first batch to make sure I still remember how to do it. Daddy-O had to try several slices before he declared it good. 

I've been taking home baked bread to our family Thanksgiving gathering since before I was married. That's a lot of years and a lot of bread. I am thankful for traditions. Although I have used other recipes, it is usually this one. This is about the easiest bread recipe I know. The hardest part is remembering to get the bread starter going a week or so before Thanksgiving.  If you start right now, you could have bread for your Thanksgiving table.

This basic recipe has been around forever, but years ago I tinkered with the original until I got it just like we like it. (The original had more sugar, more oil and more salt.) When I had a house full of folks to help eat this, I made it year 'round and kept my starter going for five years once. Now, I start baking just before Thanksgiving and sometime in February or March, I decide I'm done for the year. I will have made loaves for the church bake sale. I will have given loaves for gifts. We will have eaten enough bread— but rest assured, there will be several loaves in the freezer for later. 

SOURDOUGH BREAD (also known around here as MIMI BREAD)

¼ cup sugar
¼ cup oil
1 cup starter
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups warm water
6 or more cups bread flour

  • Mix bread ingredients.  (I use a large wire whisk as I add the first 3 cups of flour, and switch to a heave spoon for the last 3 cups.) 
  • Place in large bowl sprayed with PAM.  Lightly spray dough with PAM.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand at least 8 hours. (Sometimes mine has doubled faster than this.)
  • Punch down dough and knead on floured board about 10 times.  Divide into 3 parts.
  • Spray three 8-inch loaf pans with PAM.  Shape dough and place in pans.
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap. 
  • Let stand and rise until pans are full, about 5 to 6 hours.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until brown and bottom sounds hollow when tapped.

Whole wheat bread:  Use 2 cups whole wheat flour and 4 cups bread flour.

Remember that these rising times are all approximate. The rising time will depend on the temperature of your kitchen. And sometimes my starter is a little zingy-er than others. 

To feed starter:  Remove 1 cup for baking (or discard) and feed with 1/3 cup sugar, 3 tbsp. instant potatoes and 1 cup warm water.  Mix well and let stand 8-12 hours.  Then refrigerate.  Store in plastic container with slits cut in lid. 
Feed every 3-7 days.

To make starter:  Double the feeding recipe.  Put in a glass or plastic container, loosely covered.  Let set out for 4 days.  Then add one pack dry yeast.  Let stand another 24 hours.  Use 1 cup for the first batch or store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.


My favorite container for the starter is an empty Cool Whip bowl (the large size.) Use a sharp knife to cut an "X" in the lid. The lid is flexible plastic, not brittle, so it works just right. My best spot for letting the dough rise is on my kitchen counter with the under-cabinet lights turned on. The lights keep that spot a little warmer than the rest of my kitchen.

The wooden turkeys in my photo? My dad made those many, many years ago. I am thankful to have some of his handiwork to enjoy. Maybe that's why he made things. And why I make things. To leave a little piece of us for loved ones when we are gone. I have my great-grandmother's quilt. And my grandmother's paintings. And my mother's recipes. Something I can touch with my hands and remember. I am thankful.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Oh, (Baby) Boy!


I helped with a baby shower yesterday at our church.


A celebration of a baby boy due in January.

This was another celebration, too, of a medical miracle experienced by this family. The grandmother of the baby-to-be had a catastrophic medical event a few weeks ago during a routine surgery. And because of this miracle (that is the doctors' only explanation) she is recovering and will be able to share the joy this new baby will bring. 

I made pecan toffee tassies for the refreshment table. These are easy to make. Just know that they do not freeze well, so you can't make them way ahead. The day before, yes; the month before, no. I tried freezing them once and the crust was a little soggy after they thawed. But they are simple enough to make that I have done them in the morning before we left for our family's Thanksgiving lunch.


The toffee bits are with the chocolate chips at the grocery store. We have two grocery stores in our little town. One store had them, one did not. But you will find them. The pie crust is the kind you can roll out, not the frozen ones in a foil pie plate.


PECAN TOFFEE TASSIES

1 (15-oz) package refrigerated pie crusts
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 (8-oz) bag Heath toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Unroll one pie crust onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-inch circle. Cut out circles, using a 2-1/2 inch biscuit cutter, re-rolling dough as needed. Press circles into mini-muffin tins to make crusts. Repeat with other pie crust to make 48 tart shells. 

Combine the melted butter, brown sugar, flour and eggs in a large bowl, mixing well. Add the vanilla. Stir in the pecans and toffee bits. Spoon the pecan filling evenly into the tart shells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until filling is set and the crust is lightly browned. Cool in the pans on wire racks.









Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday, Fall, Food


This is the third Honey Cowl I've made. Both daughters have one and now I have one, too. I knitted the first half of this one on my trip to visit Baby Sister and her family a couple of weeks ago. Airports and airplanes are great places to knit a lot in a hurry. You can't do much else. Big Sister now wants one. As soon as I find the shade of gray yarn she wants, I'll start one for her. This is a lovely simple pattern, great for travel knitting or sit-and-knit groups. Not much thinking required.


Pattern: Honey Cowl
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh DK, color: Byzantine
Needles: size 8, 40-in. circular


Midweek, we had a freaky blast of cold Canadian air. There was even talk of snow in our local forecasts. Well, we didn't see snow, but we did freeze for a couple of days. This cowl can be worn long, or looped around to keep the neck warm. I wove in the ends on the first very cold day—and hardly took it off for a couple of days. (I nearly froze taking that first photo.) And there is more cold weather expected next week. It is the season for knitwear at last!


Pattern: Ann Norling's Kid's Fruit Hat (made solid)
Yarn: Berrocco Comfort DK
Needles: size size 6

And I just finished wrapping this sweet baby cap for a friend who is expecting a winter baby boy. Tomorrow I'll be making a treat for her baby shower and I'll share that recipe when I'm done.


I did cook dinner last night. Tried a recipe I saw on Facebook. Why did all these recipes suddenly start showing up on Facebook? I had eaten something similar recently at one of our ukulele gigs that included a covered dish dinner. I will say that the church dinner version was better than this recipe. But this is good, too. 

It's just a basic weeknight dinner. Not fancy, but filling. I told Daddy-O that it contained cabbage, tomatoes, onion—THREE VEGETABLES—and a meat. It was a one dish dinner as far as I was concerned. I did add a piece of cheese toast, which kind of killed the "no carb" claim on the recipe. Sorry. (Recipe says 4 net carbs per serving.) 

FRIED CABBAGE with SAUSAGE

3-4 tablespoons butter
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced into rounds (I used turkey sausage)
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes (or Rotel--but I used regular diced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add cabbage and onion. Cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring to keep from sticking to pan. Add remaining ingredients, cover, lower heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Serves 8 (although we ate it all in two nights, since I made no side dishes)

UPDATE:  I'm so glad it was later tonight before I finished this post. We had the leftover cabbage & sausage for supper tonight. And it was even BETTER than last night! That means this recipe could be made ahead. Maybe make it in the morning and have it ready for supper that night. Or, even make it the night before you know you're going to have a really busy day and warm it up at supper time. Will make this again for sure.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cooking At Last


I have been suffering from kitchen malaise for a while. Just haven't felt like cooking. (Another reason to keep the freezer stocked.) But yesterday as I was deleting old emails I came across one from Mommy back weeks ago with a recipe that ALL of her family liked. If you don't have a houseful of people who show up for dinner each night, you don't understand how hard it is to find something that everyone really likes. They might eat it but they don't always love it. But I remember that she told me that she had no leftovers that night. That was a good thing (because they all liked it) and a bad thing (because she had no leftovers for lunch the next day.)

I've always told my daughters that cooking isn't nearly as hard as thinking of what to cook. So yesterday I let Mommy do the thinking. I just used her recipe.

When I was learning to cook in the college home economics lab, we were taught to gather and measure all the ingredients before starting the actual cooking. I did that last night. I set out the onion, mustard and the chicken broth somewhere along in the afternoon. Before I started the chicken, I actually measured the flour and mustard and chopped the onion. So when I really started to cook, this was super simple to make. My kind of dinner. Take a few minutes to do your prep work. It helps.

I bought a package of boneless, skinless chicken breast—three to a pack—and sliced them in half horizontally. I browned them three pieces at a time, not to crowd the pan. Then I put all the chicken into the pan and poured the sauce over it.

CHICKEN DIJON

3 chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally (or use 6 chicken cutlets)-My package was 2 lbs.
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoon butter
1 (14.5-oz.) can chicken broth
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dijon mustard

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. (I didn't measure, just sprinkled.)
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, three pieces at a time, and cook about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Put all chicken in the pan. Stir in chopped onion.
Whisk together chicken broth, flour, mustard and pour over chicken.
Cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.

The only thing I might change next time is to take the lid off the skillet toward the end to let the sauce thicken a bit more. Don't let the dijon mustard frighten you. It's not spicy at all; it just gives the broth a rich flavor. I was surprised. This is good enough for a company meal. And it would be great to "make and take" when you need to take dinner to someone. Easy and delicious.


And so that this cutie and her big sister won't be disappointed when they are here, this morning I stirred up the starter for what Big Sister calls "Mimi bread." The rest of the world calls it sourdough bread. I like her name better. It will be ready when they are here for Thanksgiving. Can't wait to have them home!