Note: Allow 90 minutes of preparation time for this dinner, even if you are an experienced cook.
–Cornish hen (thawed from frozen)
–mushrooms (divided, baby bellas, 6 to 8)
–onion (divided, three quarters of a medium onion)
–chicken broth (non-fat, low sodium)
–Stovetop stuffing mix (boxed, chicken flavor)
–parsley (fresh if possible)
–sweet potatoes (2, medium)
–asparagus (steamable in microwave; I use PicSweet)
–milk (dairy or almond; soy doesn’t work well in microwave)
–butter lettuce (one-half package)
–green grapes (seedless, about a dozen, split)
–feta cheese (half a small container)
–toasted walnuts (toast in microwave, 1 handful)
–extra virgin olive oil
1 – Place one-half package of butter lettuce in a mixing bowl. Add a dozen grapes, each cut into two pieces. Add half a small container of feta cheese. Add 1 handful of toasted walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Place in refrigerator until just before dinner.
2 – Slice 6 baby bella mushrooms into fine strips. Add to a large, covered baking dish. Slice one-half onion, and add to the dish. Add a small amount of chicken broth. Season with salt, pepper, Bac’n pieces, and olive oil. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
3 – Using a sharp butcher knife and a fork, cut the Cornish hen in half. Lay each half on its side, atop the mushrooms and onion. Season with salt, pepper, Bac’n pieces, and olive oil. Set aside.
4 – Scrub the sweet potatoes, and then pierce all around with a fork. Place on a microwaveable dish. Microwave for 7 minutes; then turn over, and microwave for 8 minutes more. Test sweet potatoes during cooking to see when they are soft to the touch. (Be careful; potatoes will be very hot.) Let cool briefly before handling.
5 – Mince 2 mushrooms (baby bellas) and one-quarter onion. Place in individual microwaveable bowls with a little chicken broth. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Set aside.
6 – Place one-half cup of milk in a microwaveable cup. In a separate cup, place one level tablespoon of flour. Microwave the milk for 45 seconds. Slowly add the milk to the flour, beating briskly. Pour the milk and flour into a covered baking dish. Sprinkle a generous amount of Parmesan cheese on top. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
7 – Cut open the sweet potatoes, and then cut crossways to make chunks. Add to a food processor. Add milk (dairy or almond) to the food processor. Pulse until smooth, adding milk to desired consistency. Place the whipped sweet potatoes in a microwaveable baking dish for reheating later, before dinner.
8 – Microwave the steamable package of asparagus for 3 and one-half minutes. Add the asparagus to the Parmesan white sauce. Keep covered to preserve warmth.
9 – Microwave the Cornish hen for 5 minutes. Then turn over, sprinkle more Bac’n pieces on top, and microwave for 5 minutes more.
10 – Microwave the whipped sweet potatoes for 2 minutes on high.
11 – Add Stovetop dressing to the individual microwaveable bowls with the minced mushrooms and onion. Stir. Add chopped parsley to the top. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
12 – Add balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to the salad. Fold gently.
13 – Serve the salad as a first course. Then serve the Cornish hen, one half to each person, with the dressing, sweet potatoes and asparagus as sides.
–dressing adapted from my mother-in-law’s recipe, from To the Taste of a King; other recipes original.