A Holiday Dinner for Two: ORANGE CORNISH HEN WITH FRESH ORANGE – ORANGE MARMALADE – ORANGE JUICE & TOPPED WITH ORANGE ZEST & PARSLEY –

-Cornish hen (thawed from frozen)

–orange (fresh, sectioned and then cut into pieces)

–orange marmalade (three-fourth’s jar)

–orange juice (one – half can, do not add water)

–orange zest (bottled, 1 tablespoon)

–parsley (fresh, a handful, chopped)

–salt and pepper

–olive oil

1 – In a small mixing bowl, place the orange pieces, orange marmalade, and orange juice.  Stir well.  Place this sauce in a large, covered baking dish.  Add a few drops of olive oil.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.

2 – Place the uncut Cornish hen in the sauce.  Season with salt, pepper, orange zest, and parsley.  Finish with a few drops of olive oil.  Microwave on high for 6 minutes and 20 seconds.  Then carefully turn over (with 2 spatulas), and microwave for 6 minutes and 20 seconds more.

3 – Before serving, divide the Cornish into two pieces, just to the side of the backbone.

4 – Serve the hen hot, with the sauce over top.

–Cornish hen inspired by C. Mabry, chef.

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A Holiday Entrée for 2:  CORNISH HEN WITH SAUCE OF GOURMET CHERRY PRESERVES – CABERNET WINE – SLICED RED ONION & SERVED ON A BED OF HERB DRESSING WITH BONE BROTH

For 2:

–Cornish hen (defrost in the refrigerator for 3 days)

–gourmet cherry preserves (1 cup)

–Cabernet wine (6 tablespoons)

–sliced red onion (one-half)

–herb dressing (I used Pepperidge Farm)

–bone broth (chicken, one-half cup)

–salt and pepper

–olive oil

1 – Place bone broth in a covered baking dish.  Microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Then add herb dressing.  Stir.  Set aside.

2 – Place the cherry preserves and red wine in a small mixing bowl.  Stir well.  Add sliced onions.  Pour into a large, deep, covered baking dish.  Season with olive oil.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

3 – Season the Cornish hen on both sides with salt and pepper.  Place in the sauce.  Add a few drops of olive oil.  Microwave on high for 6 minutes and 20 seconds.  When finished, turn over (with 2 spatulas), and microwave for an additional 6 minutes and 20 seconds.

4 – Heat the dressing for 2 minutes.

5 – Before serving, slice the hen into two parts, to the side of the backbone.  Serve atop dressing.  Add sauce.

6 – Serve the hen, dressing, and sauce hot.

–Cornish hen and sauce inspired by C. Mabry, chef.

An Encore Holiday Dinner for 2:  THYME CORNISH HEN WITH FAUX BACON IN RED WINE – CURRANT JELLY SAUCE / DRESSING WITH MUSHROOMS – ONION – PARSLEY IN BROTH

Note:  It will take 3 days to thaw a frozen Cornish hen in the refrigerator.

–1 Cornish hen (game hen)

–thyme (bottled)

–Bac’n pieces (soy bacon)

–red wine (cooking wine is fine)

–red currant jelly (bottled)

–chicken broth (non-fat, low sodium)

–breadcrumbs (I used Pepperidge Farm herbed)

–parsley (fresh)

–onion (one-half, sliced)

–mushrooms (sliced, baby bellas)

1 – While still encased in plastic, cut through the Cornish hen lengthwise, just to one side of the backbone.  Place in a large, covered baking dish with a very little chicken broth.  Season with salt, pepper, thyme, and olive oil.  Microwave on high for 7 minutes; then turn the hen over, and microwave for 7 minutes more.

2 – Place 2 tablespoons of red currant jelly in a microwaveable cup.  Add one-fourth cup of red wine.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Pour over the cooked Cornish hen.  Then sprinkle the hen with Bac’n pieces.

3 – Place one-half sliced onion, chopped parsley, and sliced baby bells mushrooms (1 handful) in a covered baking dish with a little chicken broth.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Microwave on high for 4 minutes.  Then add a generous amount of breadcrumbs and more chicken broth.  Stir well.  Season with olive oil.  Microwave for 1 minute more.

4 – Serve one-half Cornish hen to each person, with sauce spooned over the hen and the dressing.  I also served baked potatoes with plain yogurt and broccoli (for recipes, use the search box in this blog).

–Cornish hen adapted from astray recipes.com; dressing adapted from To the Taste of a King.

A Holiday Dinner for 2:  BACON – FLAVORED CORNISH HENS WITH MUSHROOMS & ONION IN BROTH / PARSLEYED DRESSING WITH MINCED MUSHROOMS & ONIONS / WHIPPED SWEET POTATOES WITH CINNAMON / ASPARAGUS IN PARMESAN WHITE SAUCE / BUTTER LETTUCE WITH GREEN GRAPES – FETA CHEESE – TOASTED WALNUTS IN BALSAMIC VINEGAR & EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

Note:  Allow 90 minutes of preparation time for this dinner, even if you are an experienced cook.

–Cornish hen (thawed from frozen)

–Bac’n pieces

–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)

–cinnamon (bottled)

–asparagus (steamable in microwave; I use PicSweet)

–flour

–milk (dairy or almond; soy doesn’t work well in microwave)

–Parmesan cheese

–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)

–balsamic vinegar

–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.

CORNISH HEN WITH RED WINE & CURRANT JELLY / HERBED POTATOES / GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE / CORNBREAD STUFFING WITH CELERY & GREEN ONION

Note:  This is a holiday dinner for two, taking about an hour to prepare.

–Cornish hen (1)

–red wine

–red currant jelly

–thyme

–onion bits

–chicken broth (non-fat, low sodium)

–celery (1 stalk)

–Bac’n pieces (soy bacon)

–parsley

–nutmeg

–red potatoes (2, medium)

–tarragon, marjoram, parsley, onion bits, thyme, garlic powder

–green beans (2 handfuls, frozen)

–French fried onions (boxed)

–mushrooms (4 or 5, baby bellas)

–green onions (4 stalks, divided)

–cornbread stuffing (boxed)

–milk (dairy if not lactose sensitive, soy, or almond)

–salt and pepper

–olive oil

1 – Unwrap the hen and place on a sturdy cutting board.  Using your sharpest knife, cut through the hen by the backbone, making two portions.  Turn breast side up in a covered baking dish.  Season with thyme, salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley, and olive oil.  Add one-fourth cup of chicken broth.  Set aside.

2 – Place 3 tablespoons of currant jelly in a microwaveable bowl.  In a separate bowl, pour one-fourth cup of red wine.  Set aside.

3 – Scrub potatoes thoroughly.  Slice into 1 – inch pieces.  Place in covered baking dish.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Add an inch of water.  Microwave on high for 15 minutes.  When finished, place in a food processor.  Season with tarragon, garlic powder, thyme, onion bits, marjoram, and parsley.  Add milk to desired consistency.  Drain the baking dish of water, and then add the potatoes to it.  Microwave on high for 2 minutes. 

4 – Slice mushrooms and place in a large, wide-mouthed, covered baking dish.  Slice 2 stalks of green onion.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Add an inch of milk.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes.  Add green beans to the other vegetables, and stir.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes, taking care to be sure that milk does not overflow.  If so, cut power to 50 percent, and double remaining cooking time.

5 – Chop celery and green onion into fine pieces.  Place in 2 microwaveable bowls, half in each.  Season with olive oil.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  When finished, add cornbread stuffing to the bowls.  Fill almost to the top with chicken broth.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.

6 – Microwave the Cornish hen for 5 minutes on 1 side; then turn over (with fork) and microwave for 5 minutes more.  Heat the red wine for 45 seconds in the microwave; also heat the currant jelly for 45 seconds.  Stir the wine and jelly together, and then pour over the hen.  Add Bac’n pieces to the top of the hen just before serving.

7 – Serve the dinner hot.

–Cornish hen adapted from astray recipes.com; potatoes, green beans, and stuffing original.