Chicken Scaloppine in White Wine Sauce

My favorite supermarket carries fresh, thinly sliced chicken breasts which always seem to be on sale. This is my favorite recipe once I get them home. It’s one I’ve tweaked and played with for so long it now truly is my own.

Enjoy.

GM

 

CHICKEN SCALOPPINE IN WHITE WINE SAUCE

  • 4 to 6 thinly sliced chicken breasts
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar (approximately)
  • 1/4 cup white cooking wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3 cups cooked rice, wild rice, or noodles

Wash chicken breasts thoroughly, pat dry with paper towel. Melt butter in skillet and add olive oil. While oil is heating roll chicken breasts in flour until lightly coated. Place in hot oil and cook each side until it is a light, golden brown. Pour approximately 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar over each chicken breast and add chicken broth, white cooking wine and salt, if desired. Heat until sauce mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over rice or noodles.

Variation:  Use veal instead of chicken, and balsamic vinegar instead of white wine vinegar.

Rosie’s Recipe — Ham and Sweet Potatoes

I once had a friend who loved sweet potatoes. I mean seriously loved them. So much so that she would have done nothing short of grabbing a steak knife and telling you to back off if you get too close to her sweet potatoes. Now that’s a food devotion. However, she wasn’t much of a cook, and when I began testing recipes for Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, I passed this one along to her as it’s easy to prepare, even for those who are, “kitchen challenged.” It’s also a nice dish for those who wax nostalgic for “holiday” meals over the course of the year.

Enjoy.

GM

HAM WITH SWEET POTATOES

1 ½ pounds sliced ham or shoulder
3 cups raw, sliced sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon margarine

Cut the ham or shoulder into pieces for serving. If the meat is very salty, parboil it in water and drain. Brown the meat lightly on both sides and arrange the pieces to cover the bottom of a baking dish. Spread the sliced sweet potatoes over the meat, sprinkle with sugar. Add hot water to melted margarine and pour over the sweet potatoes and meat. Cover the dish and bake slowly until the meat and sweet potatoes are tender, basting the sweet potatoes occasionally with the gravy. Toward the last, remove the lid and let the top brown well. Yields 6 servings.

Modern adaptation: Heat oven to 350°. Butter may be used instead of margarine. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for approximately one hour, basting the sweet potatoes occasionally as directed in the original recipe. After baking for one hour remove foil and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes have browned. Turkey ham may also be used, and the sugar can be decreased to one teaspoon.

My Grandmother’s Green Beans

I think every family has favorite recipes that may or may not have ever been actually written down as they were passed down generation to generation. One of ours was my grandmother’s green beans. She prepared it for years, as did my mother, and it was always a family favorite. I’ve played with it a little over the years myself, but not too much. It’s an oldie but a goody, and there are probably a lot of other grandmothers out there who made this dish as well. Here is my interpretation. Please consider this recipe as a guide as I never make it the quite the same way twice. (And I don’t think Grandma ever did either.)

Enjoy,

GM

 

GRANDMA’S HOMEMADE GREEN BEANS

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 3 or 4 red potatoes
  • 3 or 4 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • water

Wash green beans, snap off ends, snap into two or three bite-sized pieces and drop into a large mixing bowl. Scrub and dice the potatoes and add them to the beans. Cut bacon slices into small pieces and brown in a small stockpot. Once bacon is browned dump in the green beans and potatoes.  Add chicken broth, stir, and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and cooked all the way through. Stir occasionally, and, if necessary, add small amounts of water or chicken broth to prevent the beans from scorching.  Salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a side dish with pork roast, pork chops or fried chicken.

Breaking Free of a Culinary Rut

I don’t know exactly how or when it happened. It was such an insidious thing that crept up on me so slowly that I wasn’t even aware it was happening until it was nearly too late.

I started cooking when I was eight years old. My mother, and her mother before her, were pretty darn good cooks. My mother began passing her cooking skills on to me at a young age, and I found I really enjoyed cooking and baking. By the time I was in high school, I was doing my fair share of the family meal planning and the cooking.

My dad was also a good cook. He could open the refrigerator, grab whatever he’d find, throw it all together, and come up with a pretty good dish. Both of my older brothers have this ability as well. If there’s a gene for good cooking I think my entire family had it.

My mother always insisted that we all sit down at the dinner table together and share a meal as a family. It was a good rule, and I think if more families followed it today the world would be a much better place, but I digress. My mother made a number of delicious dishes which she frequently served–lasagna, beef stroganoff, tacos, and pork chops, just to mention a few. She also searched through the women’s section of the newspaper every Wednesday for new recipes to try. Everything was wonderful, with only one exception. Her fried chicken wasn’t all that great. She would put a light coat of flour on the chicken, lightly brown it in a very small amount of oil, and then bake it in the oven. (Sorry Mom, but that’s not fried chicken!) So, with the exception of the fried chicken, I learned how to create many wonderful meals, all from her. Then I went off to college, and that’s when the bad thing began to happen.

As soon as I got my first college apartment I started buying frozen pizza, ramen soup and hamburger helper. And while I would still occasionally make the beef stroganoff, I was fixing the frozen pizza or the hamburger helper far too often. I rationalized it by “being too busy” to really cook, but in hindsight I now realize I was allowing myself to become lazy in the kitchen. One college boyfriend was a bright light in that he too was an excellent cook, and I learned some good cooking tips from him, but alas, he didn’t want to make a long-term commitment.

After college my lazy cooking habits continued, and again I rationalized them by being too busy, or having too many leftovers to deal with. I’ve been married twice, but neither spouse was a food aficionado. (That should have been my first clue.) One could have lived very happily on peanut butter sandwiches and shredded wheat cereal, while the other’s favorite restaurants were McDonald’s and Chinese buffets. There was no real incentive for me to cook for either of them. Neither had any appreciation for a good, home cooked meal made from scratch, and since there were no children from either marriage the laziness continued. Other bad habits emerged, such as eating out far too frequently, and bringing home take-out meals.

Thankfully, it all changed after going through a midlife career change. I started doing historic presentations for schools and associations. One was about the WWII home front, and that was when I published, Anna’s Kitchen: a Compilation of Historic WWII Ration Recipes. I also tried some of the recipes at home, and while tasty, none included french fries, so my husband, as usual, wasn’t impressed. Once again I lost my motivation for cooking or trying new recipes.

I’m not saying I divorced my husband entirely because of his total lack of enthusiasm over my burgeoning writing career. (I was also writing historical children’s novels at the time.) I’ll just say that once he left I flourished as an author, and I eventually started up my own publishing business. I also wanted to do a major revision of Anna’s Kitchen, but first things first. I wanted to test most, if not all, of the recipes. Finally, I had a culinary lifeline. It was the perfect incentive to not only start cooking real food again, but to learn and grow and to create new dishes. It was like being reborn. I also have a completely new circle of supportive friends who genuinely love my cooking, In fact, some of them can’t get enough of it. It’s nice to finally feel appreciated for my culinary efforts.

So I’m now in a much better place. And who knows. Maybe someday I’ll finally learn how to make fried chicken.

GM

Cranberry Surprise Muffins

Who says cranberries are just for the holidays? Cranberries are a healthy food which they say also helps maintain a healthy bladder. This recipe comes from a friend’s mother’s recipe box. It’s easy to prepare and a delicious way to enjoy cranberries year round.

CRANBERRY SURPRISE MUFFINS

  • 1 12 oz package corn muffin mix
  • 1/3 cup canned whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange rind

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin tins or use paper baking cups.  Prepare muffin mix according to the package directions and, in a separate bowl, combine cranberry sauce and orange rind. Fill each cup about halfway, drop a teaspoonful of cranberry mixture, and top with a small amount of batter. Bake 15 minutes or until muffins are brown. Makes approximately 12 muffins.