Mother-in-Law’s Chicken with Cranberry Topping

This is a quick recipe for everyday but especially the holidays. You can use all chicken drumsticks (leg with thigh), thighs, or chicken breasts if you prefer.

6 chicken legs with thighs (or 6 chicken breasts or 8-10 chicken thighs)
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup shortening
Cranberry Topping

Measure the flour and add the salt and pepper. Dredge the drumsticks with the seasoned flour. In a skillet, melt the shortening and lightly brown the drumsticks turning occasionally. Place drumsticks in a dish (or use the skillet if it is oven proof) and bake at 325 degree Fahrenheit for about 25 – 30 minutes until browned. Bake less for chicken breasts.

Spoon half of the cranberry topping (recipe below) over the browned chicken thighs. Cover the dish and bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for another ~ 20 minutes until chicken is tender. Spoon on remaining topping and cook ~10 more minutes.

Serves 6

Cranberry Topping:

1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup prepared horseradish

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and mix together. Heat the sauce until warm.

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Five Spice Chicken

This recipe uses chicken thighs which we especially like because of the nice serving size and the moistness. You can make the chicken only or add the suggested vegetables to make a complete meal. This is a new favorite over the last year. You can find Chinese five-spice at Penzey’s or a good local grocery.

1 small fennel bulb (or substitute vegetable of choice, i.e. celery, turnip etc.)
1 lb. sweet potatoes cut into ~ ¼ in slices
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 medium red onion cut into wide slices
2 large firm apples (Granny Smith), sliced into ¼ inch wedges
6 bone-in chicken thighs
2 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 teaspoon honey
1 ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the fennel stalks off and reserve the feathery tops. Trim the base of the bulb and cut in half. Remove the core and cut the bulb into slim lengthwise wedges.

Oil a large baking sheet and arrange the sweet potatoes and fennel in a single layer. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Arrange onion and apples over the potatoes and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place chicken thighs on top. In a bowl, combine butter, honey, five-spice and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Brush this mixture onto the chicken.

Roast for 15 minutes, and baste the vegetables and chicken with the juices using a large spoon. Continue to roast for approximately 15 to 20 minutes longer until chicken is browned and no longer pink at the bone. Baste again and scatter the reserved fennel leaves on top.

~ 4 servings

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Richard’s Favorite Apple Pie and Pie Crust

This is the pie recipe that my husband requests the most. My mother-in-law enjoyed making pies and she had two pie crust recipes. The pie crust recipe makes enough for 2 ½ pies and is very rich. The pie is a basic style and the most important step is to slice the apple thinly. The best apple for this style is the Granny Smith.


4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups shortening
1 egg, slightly beaten and water added to make ¾ cup liquid
1 Tablespoon vinegar

Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the egg and water and the vinegar and mix gently. Add the shortening and, using a pastry cutter, cut shortening into flour until the size of peas. Form together and cut into 5 even pieces. Form each piece into a disc shape and cover with plastic wrap.

Chill dough for a minimum of 1 hour before rolling. The dough can be frozen for later use. If frozen, set out for ~ ½ hour before rolling the dough.

Apple Pie:

6 medium-sized apples (cored and sliced thinly, about 1/8 inch) preferably Granny Smith
½ to 2/3 cup white or brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 ½ Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Roll out the bottom crust. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cornstarch to the apples and mix gently. Place the apples in the bottom crust. Put the small pieces of butter on top of the apples. Roll out the top crust and gently place the crust over the apples. Crimp the edges of the pie and place a couple of slits in the top crust.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake pie approximately 45 – 60 minutes in all until crust is golden.

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Gift of Dinner (new parents, sick friends, etc.)

I have prepared and presented this dinner to many friends This meal helps take the burden off loved ones. The casserole is ample for two dinners or more depending on the number of people involved.

I bring the casserole, a large bag of fresh mixed greens, a half cup of my vinaigrette, a cake, and Acme bread or equivalent quality bread. The recipients are always grateful and one couple told me that it “saved them” when they had a new baby.

The dinner consists of the following and will take a couple of hours to prepare and the recipes are found in my blog:

1) Chicken Florentine Casserole: Found under category, “Chicken”, May 3, 2011

2) Mixed green lettuce with my vinaigrette: Found under category, “Salad”. March 30, 2011

3) Lemon cake with glaze: Found under category, “Cakes”, May 16, 2013

4) Purchased herb bread slab or French bread

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Our Classic Potato Salad

My husband requested this potato salad after a business trip to Australia. It has the classic ingredients of celery, red onion, and dill. This is the simple potato salad that many of us had in our childhood. The dill is optional.

1 lb. potatoes, peeled and cut into ~3/4 inch chunks
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup red onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes until potatoes are tender. Drain and cool until warm.

Add mayonnaise, celery, red onion, and fresh dill to the potatoes and toss gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm or refrigerate for later.

Serves ~ 4

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Shrimp Appetizer

Fresh shrimp are preferred for this recipe. Whatever shrimp you use, be sure to rinse in cold water first. This recipe is easy and elegant.

2/3 cup of shrimp
1/3 cup cream cheese, room temperature
~ ¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 – 2 teaspoon chives or scallions (green onions), finely chopped
~ ½ teaspoon salt
Endive or crackers of choice

Chop the shrimp into medium pieces. Add the softened cream cheese and mix well. Mix in the chives or green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Marinate in the refrigerator.

Place a heaping teaspoon on a pieces of endive. If you find endive bitter, use crackers that are subtle in taste and won’t over power the shrimp.

Serves 4-6

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Oatmeal Cake

This oatmeal cake is similar to one that I have already posted but it is a richer version and perfect for a family picnic, BBQ, or potluck party. I like to make cakes that I can bake in a 9 x 13 inch pan and then cut pieces easily as guests are ready for dessert. This cake is also easy to transport to a party.

1 ½ cups boiling water
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
½ cup shortening or butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup raisins (optional)

Pour boiling water over oatmeal and let stand while creaming together shortening, sugars, and eggs.

Mix together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add flour mixture and oatmeal mixture together and add raisins if desired.

Pour into a 9” x 13” greased baking pan that will be able to go under the broiler later. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Check for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester. Take the cake from the oven and spread with icing. Place cake under broiler until icing bubbles. Watch carefully.


¾ cup butter
¼ cup milk
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook butter, milk and brown sugar for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the coconut, nuts and vanilla to the mixture. Add nuts, coconut, and vanilla to the boiled mixture above. Spread icing over hot cake.

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