COOK JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS DINNER – CHICKEN TENDERS IN APPLE JUICE SAUCE

For 2:

–chicken tenderloins (I cooked 3, because we eat small portions)

–maple syrup (2 tablespoons)

–onion (1, medium, chopped)

–minced garlic (in a jar; 1 tablespoon)

–apple juice (1 cup)

–chicken bone broth (low sodium; one-quarter cup)

–paprika (1 teaspoon)

–salt and pepper to taste

–extra virgin olive oil to taste

1 – Place maple syrup, chopped onion, minced garlic, apple juice, and chicken bone broth in a covered baking dish.  Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Microwave on high for 4 minutes.

2 – Place the chicken tenders in the hot sauce.  Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika.

3 – Microwave on high for 4 minutes and 30 seconds.  When finished, check the center piece for doneness; if not cooked, return to the microwave for 1 minute more.

4 – Serve the chicken and sauce hot, atop the herb dressing.

To prepare food made ahead:

–squash/quinoa casserole:  Pour one-half cup milk over the casserole, placed in a covered baking dish.  Finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  Microwave for 5 minutes to warm up.

–herb dressing: Microwave for 4 minutes on high.  Then fold stuffing into sauce, 1 cup, approximate.  You want the herb dressing to be moist.  Then microwave for 1 minute and 20 seconds, covered.

–mushroom gravy:  Microwave for 4 minutes on high.

Serve the salad with special dressing first.  Then serve the other dishes.  The chicken goes atop the dressing, and then is smothered in mushroom gravy.  The squash/quinoa casserole is served as a side.

This adaptation, inspired by Real Simple’s make-ahead Thanksgiving dinner (November 2021 issue), was a hit at my house!  You will have enough for leftovers the next day, except for the chicken entrée.  Save the sauce left over, and then heat and add fresh chicken that has been seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Merry Christmas!

SPANISH STYLE BLACKENED COD WITH PAPRIKA – THYME – OREGANO – GARLIC POWDER – ONION POWDER – CAYENNE – SALT – PEPPER PLACED ATOP SCALLOPED PAPRIKA BABY DUTCH POTATOES WITH CHOPPED ONION BAKED IN NONFAT MILK & EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

This is a special recipe for blackened seasoning that is unique to Spain. . .

For 2:

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

–paprika (2 teaspoons, divided)

–thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder (one-half teaspoon each spice)

–cayenne pepper (one-quarter teaspoon)

–salt and pepper to taste

–baby Dutch potatoes (sliced, about 10 small potatoes)

–chopped onion (one-quarter cup)

–nonfat milk (skim)

–extra virgin olive oil to taste

1 – Slice baby Dutch potatoes, and place in a deep-dish baking dish. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and extra virgin olive oil. Pour nonfat milk to cover only. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 6 minutes; then microwave on 50 percent power for 6 minutes more. When finished, cover to preserve warmth.

2 – Place the cod atop the potatoes. Season with paprika, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Finish with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil. Microwave the dish for 6 minutes (7 if the cod is thick).

3 – Serve the cod and potatoes hot.

–recipe by C. Mabry, chef, inspired from the web. Blackened cod comes directly from Spain on a Fork.

MISSISSIPPI CATFISH FILLET WITH NORTH AFRICAN HARISSA SAUCE MADE OF EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL – MINCED GARLIC – PAPRIKA – CORIANDER – CAYENNE – CUMIN – SALT

A fish from around the world from North Africa, but the harissa sauce blends well with this Southern farmed catfish from the United States. . . .The best catfish fillets are small, and so you may want to cook two fillets. . .

For 2:

–catfish fillets (1, for small appetites, medium size; or 2, medium size, for larger appetites)

–lemon juice

Harissa sauce:

–extra virgin olive oil (6 tablespoons)

–minced garlic (1 tablespoon)

–paprika (2 tablespoons)

–coriander (1 tablespoon)

–cayenne pepper (one-half teaspoon or more for very spicy)

–cumin (1 teaspoon)

–salt (1 teaspoon; catfish is better if a little salty)

1 – Place the catfish fillet in a covered baking dish; or 2 fillets.  Drench in lemon juice.

2 – Make the harissa sauce in a small mixing bowl, placing all ingredients in the bowl in the order given.  Stir vigorously.  Then pour over the fillet(s).

3 – Microwave 1 medium fillet for 6 minutes; or 2 medium fillets for 8 minutes.  Do not overcook.

4 – Serve the fish and sauce hot.

–harissa sauce inspired by America’s Test Kitchen’s Complete Mediterranean Cookbook.

COD SPRINKLED WITH LIME JUICE – PAPRIKA – GINGER – CUMIN – CAYENNE – GARLIC WITH A DIPPING SAUCE OF YOGURT – CILANTRO – MINT – GARLIC

I was pleased with the combination of spices in this recipe, and the chilled dipping sauce made with yogurt was good and also healthy. . .As an experienced cook, you can sprinkle the spices according to taste, directly on the cod, making the recipe quite easy as well as tasty. . .

For 2:

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

–clam juice (one-eighth cup)

–lime juice (3 squirts)

–paprika (one-half teaspoon)

–ginger (one-half teaspoon)

–cumin (one-half teaspoon)

–cayenne (one-quarter teaspoon)

–garlic (minced, 1 tablespoon)

–salt and pepper to taste

–extra virgin olive oil to taste

Dipping sauce:

–yogurt (non-fat, unflavored, 3 tablespoons)

–cilantro (dried, 2 teaspoons)

–mint (dried, 2 teaspoons)

–garlic (minced, 1 tablespoon)

–salt and pepper to taste

1 – For the dipping sauce, place all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Stir well. Taste to be sure of enough salt and pepper. Chill until ready for dinner.

2 – Place cod in a covered baking dish. Add clam juice. Drench the cod in lime juice. Then sprinkle the spices, in the order given, on top of the cod. Finish with a few drops of olive oil.

3 – Microwave on high for 6 minutes, more if a thick piece of cod.

4 – Serve the cod hot, with the dipping sauce on the side.

–cod inspired by America’s Test Kitchen’s Complete Mediterranean Cookbook.

TURKISH CHICKEN WITH SAUCE MADE OF TOASTED WALNUTS – WHOLE WHEAT MUFFIN – PAPRIKA – GARLIC – ONION – PARSLEY – CAYENNE – BROTH

Here is the gourmet recipe we all need for leftover chicken or turkey. . .works with fresh poultry, too. . .

For 2:

–3 chicken tenderloins

–walnuts (halves and pieces, 1 handful)

–broken whole wheat muffin (or slice of wheat bread, broken up)

–paprika (1 tablespoon)

–minced garlic (1 tablespoon)

–onions (one-quarter cup, chopped)

–parsley (dried, 1 tablespoon)

–cayenne pepper (one-quarter teaspoon)

–bone broth (or chicken; 1 cup)

–salt and pepper to taste

–extra virgin olive oil to taste

1 – Place the chicken in a covered baking dish with one-eighth cup of bone broth. Microwave on high for 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Stir chicken and broth together.

2 – In a food processor, place walnuts, broken wheat bread, paprika, garlic, onion, parsley, cayenne pepper, bone broth, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil. Pulse until smooth.

3 – Place the sauce in the dish with the chicken, and fold together. Sprinkle parsley on top. Microwave for 2 minutes on high.

4 – Serve the Turkish chicken and sauce hot.

–recipe inspired by America’s Test Kitchen’s Complete Mediterranean Cookbook. Original recipe used white bread.

A Simple Dinner: FROM – SCRATCH BLACKENED – SPICE MISSISSIPPI CATFISH WITH PAPRIKA – GARLIC POWDER – MINCED ONION – OREGANO – DILL – BLACK PEPPER – SALT AND IN LEMON – CLAM JUICE SAUCE

I have also tried this recipe with other fish, and any white fish works beautifully . .Catfish, though, is especially good when blackened. . .serve with sweet pickles. . .

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

–paprika (1 teaspoon)

–garlic powder (1 teaspoon)

–minced onion (1 tablespoon)

–oregano (1 teaspoon)

–dill (1 teaspoon)

–salt and pepper to taste (be sure to be generous with the salt)

–lemon juice (3 squirts)

–clam juice (one-eighth cup)

1 – Place the catfish in a covered baking dish. Drench with lemon juice. Add clam juice. Then sprinkle with each spice in the list above–everything 1 teaspoon except onion, which is 1 tablespoon.

2 – Microwave on high for 6 minutes.

3 – Serve hot.

–recipe adapted from a source-unknown clipping.

SPICED SALMON FILLET SEASONED WITH CORIANDER – PAPRIKA – LEMON ZEST AND TOPPED WITH TOASTED SLICED ALMONDS IN CLAM JUICE – LEMON SAUCE

I would never think to put together these spices, but my recipe called for them, and they offer an outstanding taste treat. . .

For 2:

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

–coriander (1 teaspoon)

–paprika (1 teaspoon)

–lemon zest (lemon peel, 1 teaspoon)

–sliced almonds (one-third cup; to toast, spread out on a microwaveable plate; drizzle a little olive oil; cover plate with paper towel; microwave on high for 20 seconds; remove from microwave and stir; then microwave for 20 seconds more)

–clam juice (one-eighth cup)

–lemon juice (3 squirts)

–salt and pepper

–extra virgin olive oil

1 – Place the salmon in a covered baking dish. Pour in the clam juice. Drench in lemon juice.

2 – Sprinkle coriander, paprika, lemon zest, salt and pepper on salmon. Then spoon toasted sliced almonds on top. Finish with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil.

3 – Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

4 – Serve the salmon hot.

–recipe inspired by America’s Test Kitchen’s Complete Mediterranean Cookbook.

COD SCAMPI WITH BUTTER SAUCE SEASONED WITH WORCESTERSHIRE – CAYENNE – WHITE WINE – DIJON – MINCED GARLIC – LEMON – PAPRIKA – PARSLEY

Of course originally intended for shrimp, but certainly tasty with cod. . .

For 2:

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

–butter or healthy margarine (I used Healthy Choice with olive oil; one-quarter cup, melted)

–Worcestershire sauce (1 tablespoon)

–cayenne pepper (one-quarter teaspoon; or to taste)

–white wine (2 tablespoons)

–Dijon mustard (1 tablespoon)

–minced garlic (1 tablespoon)

–lemon juice (3 squirts)

–paprika (1 teaspoon)

–parsley (dried, 1 tablespoon)

–salt and pepper to taste

1 – Place butter or healthy margarine in a Pyrex measuring cup. Microwave, covered, on high for 45 seconds. Then add other ingredients in list above, and stir well.

2 – Place cod in a covered baking dish. Pour sauce on top. Sprinkle more parsley on top.

3 – Microwave on high for 7 minutes. Cod is done when it begins to break apart.

4 – Serve the cod and sauce hot.

–adapted from The Elegant but Easy Cookbook, by Marian Fox Burros and Lois Levine.

CHILLED MOROCCAN SEAFOOD SALAD WITH CHOPPED IMITATION CRAB LEGS – GREEN PEAS – BUTTON MUSHROOMS – DICED TOMATOES – CHOPPED SWISS CHEESE IN A SAUCE OF CUMIN – PAPRIKA – TURMERIC – GINGER – CINNAMON – MAYO

Note:  You can now see pictures of the food when you go to the blog.

Swiss cheese is said to be the “perfect” food, the only truly healthy cheese. . .Moroccan spice in the sauce makes for an interesting taste treat. . .

For 4:

–imitation crab legs (8, 1 package, chopped)

–green peas (1 cup, cooked, with button mushrooms)

–diced tomatoes (one-third can, drained)

–chopped Swiss cheese (4 slices)

–cumin, paprika, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon (one-eighth teaspoon each spice)

–mayonnaise (2 tablespoons)

–salt and pepper

1 – Chop the crab legs into one-half-inch pieces.  Add to the mixing bowl the green peas with mushrooms and diced tomatoes.  Set aside.

2 – In a small mixing bowl, place mayonnaise and all the spices.  Stir well.  Then add to the crab legs and vegetables.  Fold all gently.

3 – Refrigerate for two hours before serving and then serve chilled.

–recipe original.

A Simple Dinner:  CREAMY SALMON FILLET TOPPED WITH A SAUCE OF HONEY DIJON – BROWN SUGAR – YOGURT – MAYO – CLAM JUICE AND SPRINKLED BY PECAN CHIPS

Yogurt and mayonnaise, salted and peppered, and stirred together in equal portions, is a suitable substitute for cream, especially helpful for lactose-intolerant people. . .

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

–honey Dijon (5 tablespoons)

–yogurt (3 heaping tablespoons)

–mayonnaise (3 heaping tablespoons)

–salt and pepper

–pecan chips (2 tablespoons)

–paprika (1 teaspoon)

–clam juice (one-eighth cup)

1 – Place the salmon in a covered baking dish.  Add one-eighth cup of clam juice.

2 – In a small mixing bowl, place the honey Dijon, yogurt, mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir briskly.

3 – Pour the sauce on top of the salmon.  Then sprinkle with pecan chips. Finish with a sprinkle of paprika.

4 – Microwave on high for 3 minutes and 40 seconds.  Salmon is better if slightly undercooked, flaky but not red.

5 – Serve the salmon and sauce hot; if desired, atop rice.

–recipe original