Catalina Chicken and Sunny California

When I first saw the title of this recipe, I didn’t think Catalina, as in the dressing but rather of Catalina Island. Years ago, Hubby and I spent a Mother’s Day get away on this beautiful island. It is said that visiting Catalina is a lot like visiting the Mediterranean, in that the climate and atmosphere are similar.

We loved the island despite the fact that it rained nearly every day. The one day with sunshine was awesome, with an early morning horseback ride and strolls through the streets of Avalon.

Early that morning we walked from our hotel to the horse stables. As we made our way through the sleepy streets, we saw a man standing alone on the street corner. He was looking out at the bay, and seemed deep in thought. His eyes were an amazing blue, like windows into what seemed to be a very old soul. As we approached, he smiled and we exchanged the pleasantries of strangers crossing paths. As we turned the corner, I glanced back for one last look. His stare had returned to the sea. There was a sadness about him that made my heart ache. I whispered to Hubby who I thought the man looked like. Hubby said he agreed it did look like him, but really? No way.

robin dead poet2
I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.

The next morning, the Today show was setting up for an interview. Robin Williams was promoting his newly released movie “The Dead Poet Society.” Our encounter with a sad stranger on the street the day before had been with Robin Williams.

Hubby and I had promised to return to Catalina one day. It’s been 30 years, and we have yet to visit the island again. If we do, it will be in the off-season, when the island is quiet. For it is in the quiet moments that we can truly connect to our inner selves.

Catalina Chicken
1 envelope Dry Onion Soup Mix
12 oz Jalapeno Pepper Jelly
1 Cup Catalina Salad Dressing
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Black pepper to taste
1 Package Picnic Chicken (4 thighs, 4 legs) skin on

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry soup, jelly and Catalina Dressing. Whip with a wooden spoon to blend well.

Season with onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper. Stir to blend and distribute seasoning throughout.

Place chicken pieces into the bowl, making sure all the pieces are well coated.

Cover and refrigerate chicken for several hours to soak in the flavoring. The longer the better.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

Arrange the chicken pieces on the prepared pan. Cove tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes undisturbed.

Remove chicken from the oven, reduce temperature to 325 degrees.

Remove foil covering, return chicken to the oven and continue to bake for another 25 minutes or until cooked through, checking after 20 minutes. Serve chicken over a bed of steamed rice.

Original Recipe: Myra Byanka at Cook Eat Share

catalina oven baked chicken