CHICKEN TENDERS MARJORAM TOPPED BY LEMON CIRCLES WITH SAUCE OF HONEY DIJON – MINCED GARLIC – CHICKEN BONE BROTH SERVED WITH WHITE BEANS

The pleasure of combining tart (lemon) and sweet (honey) makes this a welcome entrée for a dinner table. . .

For 2:

–3 chicken tenderloins

–lemon circles (1 cold lemon sliced into 4 pieces, very carefully)

–honey Dijon mustard (1 tablespoon)

–minced garlic (1 tablespoon)

–marjoram (1 teaspoon)

–chicken bone broth (4 tablespoons)

–salt and pepper to taste

–extra virgin olive oil to taste

–white beans in the slow cooker after soaking all night, with one-half package white beans (great Northern or navy is good), chicken bone broth to cover, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, one-quarter cup chopped onions, 1 teaspoon tarragon, 2 tablespoons soy bacon, and salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil to taste.  Cook on low for 5 hours and 15 minutes.

1 – Place the chicken tenderloins in a covered baking dish.  In a mixing bowl, place Dijon, marjoram, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and chicken bone broth, and stir briskly. Pour over the chicken.  Then with a very sharp knife and a cold lemon, slice 4 circles of lemon.  Then place lemon atop the chicken.

2 – Microwave on high for 4 minutes and 20 seconds.  When finished, cut into the center piece to test doneness.  If not cooked, replace in the microwave for 1 minute more.

3 – Serve the chicken and white beans hot.

–recipes adapted from Edward Giobbi’s Eat Right, Eat Well—the Italian Way.

MAKE-AHEAD CHRISTMAS DINNER FOR TWO

My adaptation to the microwave for make-ahead dishes originates with the magazine, Real Simple, November issue, but I have extensively tweaked the recipes.  My adaptations are all kitchen-tested, having been made and enjoyed for Thanksgiving at my house.

There are five recipes, and you need to begin cooking and storing in the refrigerator four days in advance.  Only the last recipe, the chicken dish that substitutes for turkey, must be done immediately before Christmas dinner, or Christmas Eve dinner.

I will post the grocery list by the end of this week, and then give microwaving instructions for each dish a couple of days in advance of when you need to cook for your holiday dinner.

The recipes:

1 – Cook 4 days in advance:  Mushroom gravy with chopped mushrooms, onion, celery salt, vegetable broth, white wine, soy sauce, flour.

2 – Cook 3 days in advance:  Squash/quinoa casserole that includes onion, mushrooms, rosemary, milk, Parmesan cheese, vegetable broth.

3 – 2 days in advance:  Day off.

4 – 1 day in advance:  Dressing with herbs, onion, celery salt, white wine, chicken broth, apple.

5 – Morning of dinner:  Green salad with red leaf lettuce, pecans, dried cranberries, Parmesan cheese with a salad dressing of apple juice, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey.

6 – Just before dinner:  Chicken tenders with maple syrup, onion, garlic, apple juice, chicken broth, paprika.

Making ahead most of the dishes for a special meal does make all the difference!  We enjoyed gourmet dishes with very little sustained effort, and you will, too.  Until Friday for the grocery shopping list, given in plenty of time so that you can plan for this busy season. . .Merry Christmas!

BLACKENED SALMON FILLET WITH CHOPPED RED ONIONS & LEMON CIRCLES IN CLAM JUICE

Crunchy onions set off this easy menu item, and the lemon and blackening seasoning give bite. . .

For 2:

–salmon fillet (size of 2 decks of cards, one-half pound)

–chopped red onion (one-quarter cup)

–lemon circles (1 lemon, sliced into 4 pieces, carefully)

–blackening season (ready-prepared, 1 teaspoon)

–clam juice (one-eighth cup)

–salt and pepper to taste

–extra virgin olive oil to taste

1 – Place the salmon in a covered baking dish. Pour in the clam juice. Season with salt, pepper, and blackening spice. Place chopped onions on top, Slice a cold lemon into 4 pieces, very carefully. Then line the lemon atop the salmon. Finish with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil.

2 – Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

3 – Serve the salmon hot.

–recipe inspired by Salmon 365, a kindle e-book.

ITALIAN OVEN FRIED CHICKEN TENDERS SPRINKLED WITH SHREDDED PARMESAN & PARSLEY AND ROLLED IN ITALIAN STYLE PANKO BREADCRUMBS – DIJON – MAYO

This is a quick dinner and a variation on Southern fried chicken. . . .baked chicken that tastes like fried. . .

For 2:

–3 chicken tenderloins

–shredded Parmesan cheese (one-quarter cup)

–parsley (1 handful, chopped)

–Dijon mustard (1 teaspoon)

–mayonnaise (1 tablespoon)

–Italian panko breadcrumbs (one-third cup)

–salt and pepper to taste

1 – Place the chicken in a plastic bag. Season with salt and pepper. Then set aside.

2 – Using a small mixing bowl, stir briskly the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Add the Dijon and mayo to the plastic bag that holds the chicken. Massage the bag until the sauce has completely covered the chicken. Then pour in Italian breadcrumbs and shake well.

3 – Place the chicken in a covered baking dish. Do NOT add liquid of any kind. Sprinkle the chicken with Parmesan cheese and finish with parsley.

4 – Microwave on high for 3 minutes and 40 seconds. Chicken should be slightly overcooked for crunch.

5 – Serve the chicken tenders hot.

–recipe inspired by a friend in Minnesota; originally inspired by Hellman mayonnaise recipe.

CATFISH AMANDINE TOPPED WITH SLICED ROASTED ALMONDS – LEMON CIRCLES – CHOPPED PARSLEY AND SEASONED WITH GARLIC – HERB BREADCRUMBS

A simplified version of an amandine recipe, just as good with catfish rather than trout. . .

For 2:

–catfish fillets (2, medium size; size of 2 decks of cards, one-half pound)

–sliced roasted almonds (packaged, one-third cup)

–lemon (1, sliced thin)

–chopped parsley (fresh, 1 handful)

–garlic – herb breadcrumbs (just enough for a light sprinkle on the fish)

–salt and pepper to taste

–extra virgin olive oil

1 – Place the catfish fillets in a large, covered baking dish, flat, side by side. Do NOT add liquid of any kind. Sprinkle with garlic – herb breadcrumbs; be sparing so as not to overpower the other flavors.

2 – Season with salt and pepper. Slice a chilled lemon with a very sharp knife carefully into 4 circles. Place atop the catfish. Sprinkle almonds on top of the fish, next. Then drop chopped parsley atop. Fiinish with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil.

3 – Microwave on high for 6 minutes, tops. You need less time in the microwave because no liquid was added to the dish.

4 – Serve the catfish hot.

–catfish recipe inspired by the Catfish Institute web site.

A Simple Dinner: Salmon Fillet with Rosemary – Dill – Lemon Juice – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Simple in the extreme, and without extra liquid that would increase microwaving time. . .

For 2:

–salmon fillet (size of 2 decks of cards, one-half pound)

–rosemary, dill (one-half teaspoon each)

–lemon juice (3 squirts)

–salt and pepper to taste

–extra virgin olive oil to taste

1 – Place the salmon fillet in the center of a covered baking dish. Drench in lemon juice. Sprinkle with olive oil. Then season, last, with rosemary, dill, salt, and pepper.

2 – Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Salmon is best if slightly undercooked, flaky but not red.

3 – Serve the salmon hot.

–recipe by C. Mabry, chef.

Peppered & Smoked Salmon Chunks Sprinkled with Basil – Parmesan Olive Oil – Tarragon – Chives – Fresh Parsley in White Wine Vinegar & Fish Broth Atop Fettuccine Pasta

Heat just enough to warm up the salmon, 2 – 3 minutes in the microwave, and pour over fettuccine microwaved separately. . .c

For 2:

–peppered, smoked salmon (4 ounces, ready-prepared)

–basil – Parmesan olive oil (to taste)

–tarragon, chives (dried, one-half teaspoon each)

–fresh parsley (1 handful, chopped)

–salt and pepper to taste

–white wine vinegar (2 tablespoons)

–fish broth (I used clam juice, for steaming, 3 tablespoons)

–fettuccine pasta (1 handful; microwave, uncovered, in salted water for 6 minutes; then 6 minutes on 50 percent power; drain just before serving)

1 – Break the ready-prepared salmon apart with a fork, bite-sized pieces.  Place in a covered baking dish.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, tarragon, chives, parsley, white wine vinegar, and fish broth.  Finish with a few drops of basil – Parmesan olive oil.

2 – Microwave on high for 2 – 3 minutes only.

3 – Serve the salmon atop fettuccine or other pasta of your choice.c

–recipe adapted from the kitchen of long-time friends in St. Paul, Minnesota and now Marion, Illinois.

Pesce [Fish] Italiano con Capellini [Pasta] with Roasted Red Bell Peppers – Lemon – Minced Garlic – Tarragon – Thyme – Basil in White Wine Sauce

This recipe is good for any white fish; I used cod, our frequent white fish. . .recipe was originally intended for shrimp. . .

For 2:

–cod fillets (one-half pound, size of 2 decks of cards)

–roasted red bell pepper (3 tablespoons; from a jar; drain)

–lemon juice (3 squirts)

–minced garlic (1 tablespoon)

–tarragon, thyme, basil (one-half teaspoon each; or herbs of your choice)

–white wine (one-eighth cup)

–salt and pepper

–extra virgin olive oil

1 – Place the fish in a covered baking dish.  Pour in the white wine.  Drench the fish in lemon juice.  Season with garlic, herbs (I used tarragon, thyme, basil), salt, pepper.  Spoon on the roasted red bell pepper.  Finish with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil.

2 – Microwave on high for 6 minutes, unless the fish is especially thick, and then microwave for 7 minutes.  Fish is done when it begins to break apart.

3 – Serve the fish hot, atop pasta.  (Microwave pasta in salted water, uncovered, for 6 minutes; then microwave on 50 percent power for 8 minutes.  Drain.)

–fish inspired by Fiore’s Ristorante Toscana, in Asheville, North Carolina.

A Simple Dinner:  Dilled Salmon Fillet with Maple Syrup – Brown Sugar – Lemon – Soy Sauce

A winner of a sauce. Cook some rice to enjoy the flavors even more. . .

For 2:

–salmon fillet (size of 2 decks of cards, one-half pound; room temperature)

–dill (dried; 1 teaspoon)

–maple syrup (one-quarter cup)

–soy sauce ( lower sodium; one-quarter cup)

–lemon juice (3 squirts)

–brown sugar (3 heaping tablespoons)

–salt and pepper to taste

–extra virgin olive oil to taste

1 – Place the maple syrup, soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil to taste in a small mixing bowl. Stir well. Then place in a covered baking dish. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. (You want the sauce to be very hot.)

2 – Place the salmon in the salmon. Season with salt, pepper, and dill. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

3 – Serve the salmon hot, atop rice.

–salmon inspired by Salmon 365 (a kindle e-book).

A Simple Dinner:  STEAMED SALMON FILLET WITH BALSAMIC VINEGAR & MINCED GARLIC IN A LEMON & CLAM JUICE SAUCE

The simplest! But taste is not compromised. Serve with green beans.

For 2:

–salmon fillet (size of 2 decks of cards, one-half pount)

–balsamic vinegar (one-quarter cup)

–minced garlic (1 tablespoon)

–lemon juice (3 squirts)

–clam juice (one-eighth cup)

–salt and pepper to taste

–extra virgin olive oil to taste

1 – Place the salmon in a covered baking dish. Drench in lemon juice. Pour in the clam juice. Pour balsamic vinegar directly on salmon. Then season the salmon with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and minced garlic. Be sure you use enough garlic for the surface of the salmon. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Salmon is best if slightly undercooked, flaky but not red.

2 – Serve the salmon hot. Green beans are a good accompaniment.

–salmon adapted from Salmon 365 (a kindle e-book)