Saturday, August 29, 2009

Simple But Elegant

Menu
Virgin Caesar Cocktails
Oriental Salad (pre-made mix)
Lime-Broiled Chicken Breasts
Deviled Potatoes
Parmesan Broccoli
Cherry-Cheese Parfaits

Serves 4Virgin Caesar Cocktails
4 cups regular or spicy Clamato juice
Celery salt
4 celery stalks
4 lime slices
Wet rims of four 8-oz glasses with water and spin in celery salt. Put ice cubes in glasses and fill with Clamato juice. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir. Garnish with celery stalks and thin slices of lime.

I don't really like celery salt on the rims so I skipped this step. And of course my Caesar was "experienced" with 1 ounce of Silent Sam vodka . . . lol . . .

Lime-Broiled Chicken Breasts
4 whole chicken breasts, halved
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
4 tbsp Italian salad dressing mix
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Place chicken breasts, skin side up, in large baking dish. Combine oil, salad dressing mix and lime juice in a small bowl. Pour evenly over chicken. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Put baking dish under broiler 3 inches from heat and broil, basting with marinade and turning several times, for 30 minutes, or until chicken is fork tender and glazed.

I substituted 1/4 cup of Italian salad dressing for the oil and dressing mix and I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I was nervous about the whole 3 inches from the broiler instruction so I lowered the rack a little more. When I put the potato casserole in the oven during the last 10 minutes, I had to turn the heat down to 350 F. It didn't seem to be a problem.

Hal gave the chicken 2 thumbs up. I found it very light and refreshing thanks to the citrus.

Deviled Potatoes
1 package (4 servings) instant mashed potatoes
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
2 tsp prepared mustard
2 tbsp chopped green onion
In saucepan, prepare potatoes according to package directions. In another saucepan, heat sour cream over low heat (do not boil). Add mustard and 1/2 tsp salt; stir to blend. Mix into hot potatoes with onion. Immediately turn into a 4-cup casserole and heat in preheated 350 F oven for about 10 minutes.

Okay, these potatoes were delicious. I say "were" because I had one helping and Hal ate all the rest . . . lol . . . I think that means he liked them. They had a really nice texture and turned a box of instant potatoes into a lovely side dish. I did not heat the sour cream in advance.

Parmesan Broccoli
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 lb.)
4 tbsp butter
3-4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Cut off broccoli stem and leaves, and break the rest into florets. Wash well, drop into boiling salted water, cover and boil until tender-crisp, 8-10 minutes. Drain and return broccoli to saucepan. Melt butter in small saucepan and pour evenly over broccoli. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Turn into serving bowl, being sure to drain all the butter from the saucepan onto broccoli, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

The only thing I did different with this recipe is to use my rice/veggie steamer instead of boiling the broccoli. I prefer my veggies plain, but this recipe was a nice change of pace.

Cherry-Cheese Parfaits
1 package cheesecake mix
2-1/2 cups cherry pie filling
2 tsp grated lemon rind
6 tsp slivered almonds
In small bowl, prepare graham cracker crumbs from mix according to package directions. Set aside. In medium bowl, prepare filling according to package directions; add lemon rind. Spoon half the crumbs into 6 parfait glasses. Then layer some cheesecake filling, some cherry pie filling, more crumbs, remaining cheesecake filling and remaining cherry pie filling in each glass. Sprinkle 1 tsp slivered almonds on each parfait and chill until serving time. Makes 6 servings.

We haven't tasted the dessert yet . . . waiting for some friends to join us for dessert. But it sure looks good.

The recipe book I am using this month is "No-More-Than-4 Ingredient Recipes: A Cookbook for Kitchen Klutzes" by Joy Gallagher Douglas.

Here is the timetable I used to get this supper on the table for 6:00 on the dot:
The dessert was made in advance.
4:30 pm - marinade chicken
5:30 pm - chicken in oven and broccoli in steamer
5:40 pm - make potatoes
5:50 pm - finish potatoes and put in oven; make salad
5:55 pm - finish broccoli
6:00 pm - make cocktails

Le dîner est servi . . .

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to School means Back to Scrapbooking

To view this calendar more clearly, just double-click on it for a full-size image.