A DECEMBER HOLIDAY DINNER FOR 2 – FROM START TO FINISH

I served this dinner for Thanksgiving, and my husband gave 5 out of 5 stars and asked for a repeat the next night. . .

MENU:

–chicken tenders with garlic – herb breadcrumbs (cooked as though it were turkey)

–whipped sweet potatoes with pecan chips

–asparagus casserole with mushrooms and Parmesan

–herb dressing with parsley, mushrooms, and onion in chicken bone broth

–cranberry – pear chutney

INGREDIENTS ON HAND:

–extra virgin olive oil

–salt and pepper

–milk

–cinnamon spice

–dried parsley

GROCERY LIST:

–chicken tenderloins

–garlic – herb breadcrumbs (Progresso brand)

–sweet potatoes (frozen; in small pieces)

–pecan chips (packaged)

–asparagus (frozen; I use Pictsweet signature)

–mushrooms (button type from a small jar)

–Parmesan cheese (shredded, packaged)

–herb dressing (stuffing; I use Pepperidge Farm)

–onion (frozen, chopped)

–bone broth (chicken, low sodium, non-fat)

–cranberries (1 can, with berries)

–pears (1 can, sliced)

–banana peppers (in a jar)

–raisins (golden, packaged)

–brown sugar (packaged)

–lime juice

PREPARING DINNER:

You can make the preparations early and store the dishes in the refrigerator, or, if in the afternoon, store at room temperature.  Then just cook for the last half hour before dinner is to be served.

1 – Cranberry – pear chutney:

(Can be prepared a couple of days ahead of time and refrigerated.) 

–Place one-half can of cranberry sauce in a small, covered baking dish. 

–Add one-half can of drained pears cut into bite-sized pieces. 

–Add one-half cup of brown sugar.

–Place 3 or 4 rings of banana peppers in the dish, and one-quarter cup of golden raisins. 

–Add 2 tablespoons of lime juice. 

–Stir gently. 

–Microwave on high for 4 minutes. 

–Stir again. 

–Refrigerate for a couple of hours before dinner.

2 – Whipped sweet potatoes:

–Place the frozen sweet potatoes in a covered baking dish. 

–Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon (1 tablespoon), and extra virgin olive oil. 

–Microwave on high for 5 minutes. 

–Let cool. 

–Place in a food processor. 

–Add one-quarter cup of warm milk (microwave for 1 minute on high; warm milk improves the consistency) and pulse. 

–Add more warm milk if needed to reach desired consistency. 

–Place in a baking dish.  Refrigerate or keep at room temperature.

–Just before dinner, sprinkle one-quarter cup of pecan chips on top, and then microwave on high for 4 minutes if refrigerated, or 3 minutes if room temperature.

3 – Asparagus casserole:

–Place frozen asparagus in a covered baking dish. 

–Add button mushrooms (one-half cup) with their liquid to the dish. 

–Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. 

–Sprinkle one-quarter cup of shredded Parmesan cheese on top. 

–Refrigerate or keep at room temperature. 

–When ready to prepare for dinner, microwave on high for 5 minutes.

4 – Herb dressing:

–Place one-third cup of drained mushrooms in a covered baking dish. 

–Add one-quarter cup of frozen chopped onions. 

–Then add 2 tablespoons of dried parsley. 

–Season with salt and pepper. 

–Microwave on high for 2 minutes. 

–Add 1 cup of herb breadcrumbs to the dish. 

–Fold all ingredients. 

–Finish with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil. 

–Refrigerate or keep at room temperature. 

–When ready to serve for dinner, microwave on high for 2 minutes.

5 – Chicken tenders:

–Place 3 chicken tenders in a covered baking dish. 

–Add one-eighth cup of chicken bone broth. 

–Season with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. 

–Sprinkle garlic – herb breadcrumbs, one-eighth cup, on top. 

–Refrigerate or keep at room temperature. 

–When ready to prepare for dinner, microwave on high for 5 minutes if coming from the refrigerator, or 4 minutes if room temperature. 

–Before serving, cut into the center piece to check for doneness.  If not cooked, return to the microwave for 1 minute more.

6 – Serve the dinner hot, except for chilled cranberry chutney.

–cranberry chutney adapted from Real Simple magazine; dressing adapted from To a King’s Taste (New Orleans Colonial Dames cookbook); asparagus casserole from my mother-in-law’s recipe; chicken and whipped sweet potatoes original.

A Celebratory Dinner for 2:  PARSLEYED CREOLE COD PECAN WRAPPED IN BREADCRUMBS & TOPPED BY LEMON – CLAM JUICE – WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE / ASPARAGUS CASSEROLE WITH MUSHROOMS & PARMESAN IN WHITE SAUCE

–cod (size of 3 decks of cards, one-half pound)

–parsley

–Creole seasoning

–pecans (chopped, 1 small package)

–breadcrumbs (boxed)

–lemon juice

–clam juice

–Worcestershire sauce

–pepper

–olive oil

–asparagus (fresh, 1 bunch)

–flour

–chicken broth (non-fat, low sodium)

–mushrooms (baby bellas, 4 or 5 sliced)

–Parmesan cheese

1 – Place the cod in a plastic bag.  Season with pepper (no salt), Creole seasoning (contains salt), and olive oil.  Pour a small amount of breadcrumbs into the bag.  Shake well.  Place the cod in a covered baking dish.

2 – In a measuring cup, place one-fourth cup of clam juice, several squirts of lemon juice, and a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and olive oil.  Stir well.  Pour over the cod.

3 – Place 1 small package of chopped pecans on top of the cod.  The sprinkle chopped parsley as a finishing touch.  Set aside.

4 – Place 1 bunch of asparagus in a covered baking dish.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Fill a cup with chicken broth, and microwave for 1 minute on high.  Place 1 heaping teaspoon of flour in a second cup.  Gradually the hot broth to the flour, stirring vigorously.  Add to the asparagus, just to cover.  Sprinkle the asparagus with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Microwave on high for 6 minutes.

5 – Microwave the cod for 6 minutes.

6 – Serve the cod hot, with the asparagus as a side.  I also served lima beans and squash casserole (recipes, see the search box).

–cod adapted from a trout recipe in the New Orleans’s The Commander’s Palace cookbook.