Christ the King Sunday Supper

Today is the Feast of Christ the King. Christ the King Sunday is recognized by both Catholic and Protestant Churches. That said, I can only share my Catholic understanding and perspective of the day. I am not familiar with the traditions of Christ the King outside my own faith, although I would love to learn.

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Rosemary Pork Roast with Carrots

Not every Sunday equates to chicken, but Sundays gotta have something special. It’s the Lord’s Day after all. As Catholics, we don’t just attend Mass, the Mass is Celebrated. Life should be celebrated. I know, sometimes that’s a tall order. Sometimes there is so much pain and suffering you cannot help but wonder why.

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Scallopini Sunday Supper

I gotta tell you, when I was originally putting this together, it was going to be all about the Pork Chops. But then I realized this is a lovely Sunday Supper and all I needed to make it complete was to share a few more recipes. How perfect!

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Start Sunday Supper on Saturday Night

While I’ve been planning to share one of Hubby’s favorite dishes, I realized I needed to share it on a Saturday for a Sunday Supper. The roast needs to refrigerate overnight for the seasonings to truly blossom, and it takes all day to cook. Hence a Sunday Supper posting on a Saturday Share.

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Slow-Roasted Sunday Chicken with Vegetables

Aren’t crock pots and slow-cookers amazing? Great in the summer when you don’t want to heat up the house. Awesome in the winter when you want a delicious meal that is ready when you are.

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Sunday Roasted Herb Chicken and Potatoes

Thank goodness, it’s Sunday. Sunday in the fall can only mean one thing – roast chicken! Golden, beautiful and just screaming of childhood memories. Many a Sunday we came home from Mass and sat down to a late afternoon supper of roasted chicken. The house was warm and filled with family. Cousins, aunts and uncles. People we weren’t really related to but called family anyway.

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Southwestern Roast Chicken to Spice Up Sundays

Hello beautiful Sunday. Today is the beginning of yet another wonderful week. What’s that you say? What makes this so great? We are alive! Every day is an opportunity to love and be loved. To show kindness and make a difference. Isn’t that reason enough to rejoice?

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Garlic Herb Butter Roasted Chicken

Happy Sunday Morning everyone! I love it when the Good Lord sees fit to bless me with another day. It’s important to remember to count your blessings, big and small. Just waking up in the morning is a blessing all its own.

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Game Hens with Garlic and Rosemary

A true Cornish Game Hen is a young female Cornish chicken about 5 weeks of age, weighing around 2 pounds. These hens are a large-breasted breed of English birds. No longer raised for commercial purposes, true Cornish chickens are raised by backyard enthusiasts and small specialty farms. These are poor egg-layers, bred strictly for their meat. True Cornish chickens are slow to mature, making them undesirable for commercial farms. So what are we buying?

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Fried Chicken with Creamy Gravy

Have you ever had a craving for something old? Something that once was a part of Americana – especially on Sundays in the summer? I can remember my mother frying up chicken in a big black skillet. The sounds of the skin sizzling in hot grease – the wonderful smells floating through the kitchen. I can see my parents so clearly in my mind’s eye – Dad swinging a meat cleaver, cutting up a big, plump broiler chicken for Mom to fry up. We always had our fried chicken with biscuits that Dad made from scratch and fresh corn that we picked that day from the small patch of corn growing out back.

I hadn’t made fried chicken in years. Oh sure, “oven-fried” is one thing, but it’s not the big-skillet-real-deal fried chicken of my simple country childhood. And I wanted some of that. I wanted the chicken I remember as a child, only this time without the bones. For one thing, Kiddo won’t eat chicken that is cooked with the bones. I guess that’s because he’s grown up eating the boneless, skinless variety of chicken that is “healthier”. With a good, double-coating of breading, you can almost achieve that outer “crunch” of the skin-on fried chicken. And that’s what we are really after – that bite into a crisp fried chicken with a tender, moist piece of meat. Yeah, that’s the good stuff!

Fried Chicken and Sunday Suppers go hand-in-hand all year round. Served up with some mashed potatoes and fresh-canned green beans. My oh my – my mouth is watering!

Fried Chicken with Creamy Gravy
Ingredients – Chicken
10 Boneless Chicken Thighs (or 5 boneless Breasts)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Cup Crushed Ritz Crackers (finely crushed)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
oil for Frying

Open thighs flat and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. (Note: If using breasts, cut in half width wise for faster cooking)

Combine cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, remaining salt and pepper in a pie pan. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups milk and eggs in another pie pan.

Dredge chicken in cracker crumb mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge in cracker mixture again. Place chicken pieced on a wire rack and let sit for the breading to adhere to the chicken.

Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a 12-inch cast iron skillet (do not use a nonstick skillet). Heat oil over medium high heat (more on the high side). Once the oil is hot, fry chicken, in batches, 10 minutes, adding oil as needed. (If chicken begins to burn, adjust temperature).

Turn and fry 4 to 5 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Keep chicken warm in a 225-degree oven.

Carefully drain the hot drippings, reserving cooked bits and 2 -3 tablespoons of the drippings in skillet.

Ingredients – Pan Gravy
1/3 cup flour
2 – 3 tablespoons pan drippings
3 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Chicken Bouillon Granules

Carefully drain the hot drippings, reserving cooked bits and 2 -3 tablespoons of the drippings in skillet. Add 1/3 cup flour to the skillet with the drippings. Cook over medium high heat.

Using a whisk mix the flour into the drippings until it starts to brown, creating a roux. If the roux looks to oily and runny you can add another tablespoon or so of flour and mix again. Whisk constantly until the paste becomes nice and brown.

Slowly add the milk whisking constantly and blending the liquid with the flour mixture until combined. Add seasoning.

Let the gravy come to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the gravy thickens up. If the mixture thickens too much add more milk as needed until the gravy is the consistency that you want. This could end up being more than the required 3 cups.

Taste and generously season again with salt and pepper as needed.

One-Dish Chicken Supper with Potatoes and Gravy

After Brother Dear’s passing in December 2014, his best friend from childhood created a group on Face Book for those of us that shared the same childhood memories, experiences and “rearing”. We all grew up in the same neighborhood, attended the same schools (for the most part) and shared the same childhood. I had always thought much of what I remembered about my childhood was viewed through Rose-colored glasses, and not necessarily the way it was. That is until this group began to share their memories. Now I realize there can be only two explanations – either we are all wearing the same Rose-Colored glasses or we had a wonderful childhood. I’d rather think it is the latter – that we truly had a magical childhood – one that allowed us to be children.

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Apple Stuffed Roast Chicken

Growing up, there were many things I remember that were “tradition” – something we just did, although I never knew why. Eating roasted chicken on Sundays was one such tradition. Unlike meals during the week, the big meal on Sundays was served earlier in the day, usually around two or three in the afternoon. Growing up in a big extended family, it was not unusual for cousins, uncles and aunts to gather together for Sunday dinner. Sundays were special. And so were roasted chickens.

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Serving up Sunday Supper on a Saturday Night with an Apricot Glazed Ham

Christmas is coming. Okay, so it’s a few months away, but it is coming none the less. Time to test a few new recipes for the Christmas Table. One thing I know for sure – Christmas will include a ham. In our house, it simply would not be Christmas without a ham.

It seems to me that more often than not, when I’m serving up a ham I tend to stick to the “traditional” glazed ham I know so well. You know the one – with pineapple ring and cherries held into place with whole cloves – such a delicious throw-back to childhood memories. I can almost smell my parent’s kitchen at the holidays, be it Christmas or Easter. That distinct aroma of cloves was undeniable. Our house was always bursting at the seams with cousins, uncles, aunts and assorted “adopted” family for holiday meals. On average, there were at least ten to twelve children – little staggered stepping-stones – twice as many children as adults.

The grownups naturally gravitated to the kitchen, cup of coffee in hand, taking up their respective places at the holiday table. For whatever reason, to my ears they all seemed to be chattering at once – the men in English, the women in a mixture of Spanish, English and Tagalog. Everyone was dressed up in their Holiday best, having just come from Mass.

Upon our return from Mass Dad, with a kitchen towel draped over his left shoulder, heads straight for the oven to check on his ham. The ham always seemed to take forever to reach that perfect doneness when the meat was cooked through, all smokey and flavorful, and the fat curled up nice and crisp. Just when it was that Dad popped his ham into a slow oven is beyond me. All I knew with any certainty is that it made its way into the oven sometime between Santa’s visit and our departure for Saint Paul’s to attend Mass. Satisfied that all is well, Dad would pour himself a cup of coffee and joins the others at the table.

Holiday meals were so special. Christmas Dinner was one of three “special” occasions when real butter would be at the table, along with hot dinner rolls and a big bowl of black olives – perfect for sticking onto the ends of our fingers. (Is there any other way to eat black olives?)

Yeah, we’ll be having ham for Christmas, even if I do decide to serve it along side a Christmas Goose. Some traditions will never die. These days it’s not a matter of “if” a ham will be served but more a question of how the ham is prepared. Recipes need to be tested – and in my book that’s as good an excuse as any to serve up a Sunday Ham Supper on a Saturday evening . . .

Apricot Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
1 (8-10 pound) smoked picnic ham (bone-in)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup apricot jam
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Place the ham cut side down onto a sheet of aluminum foil, shiny side up. With a sharp knife, score the ham to allow glaze to seep into the meat.

Mix together the brown sugar, apricot jam and mustard powder in a small bowl. Pop mixture into the microwave for about 30 seconds to soften and make it more spreadable.

Brush onto the ham using a pastry or barbecue brush. Be sure to brush cut side as well. The ham should be well-coated with about half of the glaze mixture. Reserve remaining glaze for later. Enclose the foil around the ham and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes per pound.

About 20 minutes before the ham is done, apply all the remaining glaze. Roll foil down, exposing the ham so that glaze with thicken, and any skin or fat will brown nicely. (Note: If glaze has thickened simply zap in microwave for about 30 seconds).

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Hold the presses! Dinner was unbelievable! This recipe produced the most tender, flavorful, moist ham I have ever eaten. I don’t know if cooking the ham in my roasting oven rather than the big oven made any difference. I know I have a few more recipes to try . . . yet I have to admit, this was delicious!

 

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme Roasted Chicken

Are you going to Scarborough Fair:
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there.
She once was a true love of mine.

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Chicken Francese – An American Dish

If it’s Sunday, it must be chicken . . . Growing up, Sunday Supper usually meant chicken – be it roasted, barbecued, or fried (especially in the summer months), you could bet chicken was on the menu. My parents weren’t “fancy” cooks – home-cooked meals were usually simple. With a house full of children (siblings, cousins and a multitude of extended family), the meals were always “kid friendly”. For us, Sundays involved attending church, then everyone would gather at our house for an early supper. As a cradle Catholic of the pre-Vatican II era, we didn’t eat before Mass, so supper needed to be as early as possible since everyone was starving. Often, we didn’t arrive at Church until late in the morning or early afternoon. I can’t blame my parents for attending a later Mass. You try herding a bunch of kids out the door in their Sunday best at 7:00 am and see how far you get.

As an adult, I strive to keep the Sunday Chicken tradition alive. Traditions are an important part of my life. They keep me grounded and in touch with my roots.

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who loves to plan. I plan menus – sometimes weeks in advance. While we don’t always stick to the plan, having some idea as to what I plan to cook sure makes shopping a whole lot easier.

While preparing my meal planner for the upcoming weeks, I came across a recipe I had not yet tried; Chicken Francese. As a house filled with lovers of chicken cooked in a lemony-buttery sauce, this simple yet elegant dish seemed right up our alley. I wasn’t sure if the origins of this dish were French (as the name seems to suggest – Francese means “in the French manner”) or Northern Italian as the clean simple ingredients seems to indicate. Naturally, I turned to the internet in search of answers. While there has been some debate on the subject, it turns out neither is correct. Chicken Francese is a native of New York – as in Brooklyn, New York. The first documented mention of Chicken Francese appeared in a restaurant review published in the New York Times back in the 1970s. Prior to that publication, the dish simply did not exist in print. There are those who insist the dish is actually older by some twenty years, at least on a local level in Brooklyn. As the story goes, back in the 1950s the Italian eateries of Brooklyn were loosing patrons to their French bistro counterparts as the lighter, buttery sauces of France gained popularity with the masses. To lure customers back, a buttery-lemon sauce was created to be served over fried chicken cutlets. At least that’s how the story goes. So while the creator of the dish may have been Italian, the dish itself was born in America. Another less intriguing reason this dish is considered “American” is because the chicken is floured, dipped in egg and then pan-fried – all American traits in the culinary world. Some argue that all of this “history” very well may be true for the “Chicken” variety, but that the dish itself was actually inspiration by a dish deeply rooted in Northern Italy, made with breaded veal. Call it whatever you like, so long as you call it delicious.

Chicken Francese
3 Chicken Breasts, split lengthwise
1 cup all-purpose flour; for dredging
1 or 2 pinches of garlic powder
1 or 2 sprinklings of paprika
salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup olive oil

Lay chicken breast on a cutting board and split breasts lengthwise to create two thin breasts. Set aside until ready to use.

In a shallow platter, season 1/2 cup of flour with paprika, garlic powder, pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk well to distribute seasoning evenly.

In a wide, flat-bottom bowl or small casserole dish, whisk eggs with water to create an egg-wash.

Heat a large, flat-bottom pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot add 1/4 cup of olive oil and swirl to coat pan. When the oil is hot, dredge chicken cutlet one at a time in the seasoned flour, then dip them into the egg wash coating completely, letting the excess drip off. Dredge one final time to give a nice battered coating to the chicken. Dredge, dip and dredge only enough chicken that will fit into the pan without over crowding it. Work in batches if necessary.

Fry cutlets for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown turning once. Move chicken to a serving platter large enough to hold chicken in a single layer. Place platter into a warm oven and cover with foil to keep warm.

Buttery-Lemon Sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 Lemons (for juicing)
3 tablespoons butter
1 Splash White Wine (slightly less than 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons Wondra (to thicken sauce)

Once all the chicken has been fried, carefully blot pan with paper towels to remove excess oil white leaving the browned bits at the bottom of the pan.

Pour chicken broth into the empty pan, bring just to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until broth is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes or so. Scrape bottom of the pan to bring browned bits into the broth.

Add lemon juice and return to a gentle simmer. Whisk in the butter until fully incorporated. Add a splash or so of wine, whisk again.

Thicken sauce with about a tablespoon or so of Wondra, stir/whisk until thickened and smooth.

Remove pan from heat, return chicken to pan. Turn chicken to coat in sauce.

For Serving
1/2 lb Spaghetti Pasta
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Lemon
2-3 Tablespoons Italian parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil. Start pasta at the same time as the chicken cutlets are added to the pan to fry. Cook pasta al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

Drain pasta well. While pasta is draining, add butter to the pot used to cook pasta. Return pasta to the pot and pull through butter to coat.

To serve; spread pasta out on serving platter. Lay chicken on top of pasta and pour pan sauce over chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon as desired. Serve immediately.

Tips: Fill large pot with water for pasta and bring to a boil. As water heats, season flour, prepare egg wash and juice lemons. Once skillet is heated for cutlets, begin cooking pasta. While cutlets are frying, chop parsley and slice lemon for garnish. Everything should come together at the same time for serving.