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.