The tradition in our family for holiday meals like Thanksgiving, the host gets to decide the main course. For example, my mother and her husband hosted this year and cooked a huge turkey, the mashed potatoes and gravy and one veggie—this year mama did up one of her special fixings of homegrown pole beans, one desert, iced tea, coffee and tables. We then supplement the meal with sides, deserts, and additional drinks, appetizers, and meats. My brother, Mike, is a hunter and so he brought venison (I do have some good recipes for venison although I’m sharing them at this time), another brought a glazed ham. Sometimes I’ll do another meat dish or a soup—whatever fits with the main menu plan and I love to bake cakes and pies.
Here are three (special) main dishes easy for me to make ahead of time and bring:
- 3/4 C. pineapple juice, divided
- 1 C. cream of coconut, divided
- 1/2 C. soy sauce
- 1/4 C. brown sugar
- 1/4 C. rice-wine vinegar
- 2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips (I do use thigh meat too)
- 1 C. flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 1 (2 lb.) bag shredded coconut
- 3/4 to 1 C. peanut oil
- 1/4 C. heavy cream
DIRECTIONS: Combine 1/4-cup pineapple juice, 1/4-cup cream of coconut, soy sauce, brown sugar and rice-wine vinegar in a large bowl. Add chicken strips, cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Place flour in pie plate and add salt and pepper. Beat eggs and 1/4 cream of coconut. Place shredded coconut in a bowl. Dredge chicken pieces in flour, then egg mixture, then coconut. Heat just enough peanut oil in a sauté pan to cover the bottom of the pan. Sauté the chicken strips in peanut oil, about 5 minutes on each side. Do not let oil become too hot or you will over brown the coconut. When chicken is cooked, remove from pan and keep warm. Drain the pan of any leftover oil but do not scrape out the drippings. Add the remaining 1/2-cup pineapple juice and 1/2 cup cream of coconut to the pan along with the heavy cream. Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until sauce has thickened. Use sauce by pouring over the chicken or as a dip for the chicken pieces.
RICE STUFFED PORK ROAST (this one is a real favorite in my house)
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 3/4 cup sliced green onions
- 3/4 cup chopped celery
- 4 cup cooked brown rice (I’ve also used white rice, or added wild rice, or made a pilaf styled)
- 3/4 cup orange juice; divided
- 2 tablespoons grated orange peel
- 1 tablespoon diced crystallized ginger, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 Boneless pork loin roast (3-1/2 lbs.), rolled and tied
- 1 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed (I really like rosemary and tend to use more)
- 1/4 teaspoons cracked black pepper
- 16 ounces canned cranberry sauce
- 1 orange, peeled & sectioned
Cook almonds in butter in large skillet over medium-high heat until brown. Add onions and celery; cook until vegetables are tender crisp. Stir in rice, 1/2 cup orange juice, orange peel, 1-teaspoon ginger, and salt; set aside. Untie roast, and spoon rice mixture lengthwise between loins. Retie roast securely with string at 2- to 3-inch intervals; place, fat side down, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Combine rosemary and pepper; sprinkle over roast. Insert meat thermometer does not touch stuffing or fat. Bake at 325 degrees for 1-1/2 hours. Combine cranberry sauce, remaining orange juice, remaining ginger, and orange in small saucepan; stir well. Simmer over medium heat 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Brush about 1/2 cup cranberry mixture over pork. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 170 degrees. Let roast stand 10 minutes. Remove string and slice roast. Serve with remaining cranberry sauce. 6 Servings
LEG OF LAMB & POTATOES
- 2 large lemons, zest of 1 removed in strips with peeler
- 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 7-pound leg of lamb
- 2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives (I also substitute finely chopped green onion tops)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut off and discard pith from zested lemon and cut off and discard zest and pith from other lemon. In a saucepan of boiling water blanch zest 1 minute and drain in a colander. Cut each lemon crosswise into 6 slices. In a small food processor blend rosemary, garlic, zest, 1 tablespoon oil, lemon juice, and salt until mixture is chopped fine. With tip of a small sharp knife cut small slits all over lamb and rub rosemary mixture over lamb, rubbing into slits. Arrange lemon slices in middle of a large roasting pan and arrange lamb on them. Roast lamb in middle of oven 45 minutes. Quarter potatoes and in a saucepan cover with salted cold water by 1 inch. Bring water to a boil and cook potatoes, covered, 5 minutes. Drain potatoes in colander and in a bowl toss with remaining tablespoon oil. Arrange potatoes around lamb and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast lamb and potatoes, stirring potatoes occasionally,55 minutes, or until meat thermometer registers 140 degrees. for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let stand 15 minutes. Increase temperature to 450 degrees roast potatoes and lemons in one layer 5 to 10 minutes more, or until golden.
Transfer potatoes and lemons with a slotted spoon to bowl and
toss with chives. Transfer potato mixture to a platter.
Slice thinly across grain and serve with potatoes.
Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs and lemon wedges.Serves 6
Tis the Season. What are some of your favorite recipes to share?