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Easy Christmas Dinner

Roasted Cornish Hens

There is something to be said about tradition, but there is not any harm in having fun and trying new things during the holidays.  Ever since I can remember, there was a turkey and a ham. So I decided to change things up again, keeping in fashion with poultry and pork.  Hope you enjoy these easy recipes. Happy Holidays from my home to yours! 

Roasted Cornish Hens

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Take 5-6 Cornish Hens. Cut them lengthwise directly down the middle starting at the neck and through the breast.  Thoroughly clean them by rinsing them with cold water and removing any giblets or extras. Rinse again and pat them dry with paper towels.  Mix a stick of softened butter with a ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning or herb de Provence. Massage about a tablespoon of butter gently between the skin and flesh of each hen, being sure not to completely separate the skin from the bird (you want to create pocket of butter inside).  Squeeze about a half lemon over each hen half, rub with a little olive oil, and then lightly season (to your discretion) with salt, pepper, and freshly chopped rosemary. Place hen halves on a baking sheet, placing one slice of lemon and one slightly crushed garlic clove under each half, and bake for 1 hour, ensuring that the skin is nice and deep golden brown.  Allow to rest 5-10 minutes and serve! 

Spiced Rubbed Pork Loin

Preheat oven to 450° F. Take one 3-4lb pork loin and rinse it thoroughly.  Pat it dry, and with a sharp knife, remove any skin from the pork. In small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of Adobe w/pepper, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, until well combined.  Add 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil to the spice mixture and mix well. Rub loin completely with spice mixture making sure to massage it well. Place in a foil lined baking pan or Pyrex dish. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes at 450° F, then reduce temperature to 350° F and roast for another hour to hour and 15 minutes.  Remove loin from oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. Serve with rendered juices. 

Green Beans with Almond Slivers

Place 1 ½ pounds of trimmed fresh string beans in a steam basket over boiling water, ensuring that the water is just below the basket.  Steam for approximately 8-10 minutes or to your desired level of tenderness. Remove from basket, and in a saucepan over medium heat, lightly roast ½ cup of almond slivers 3 cloves of minced garlic and 2 sprigs of chopped Italian parsley for about 5 minutes.  Add the steamed string beans and continue to sauté for another couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Toss with ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper and ¼ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.  

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Peel and slice 5-6 large sweet potatoes into ½ inch slices. Arrange in a buttered 9×13 Pyrex dish. In a medium saucepan melt ½ cup of salted butter, add ¾ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of ginger, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg, ½ cup of brown sugar, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Be sure that mixture melts down. Pour over sweet potato slices, coating well. Bake for 30 minutes covered with foil. Remove foil, spoon mixture over sweet potatoes, and bake for another 30 minutes uncovered.

Pear Walnut Stuffing

Heat oven to 350° F.  Peel and core three small to medium size ripe pears into bite size pieces, and place in a bowl, tossing with the juice of one lemon.  Set aside. In a large sauce pan, place ¼ cup of butter and sauté ¾ lb. of mild sausage and one medium diced onion until sausage is cooked through, making sure to break the sausage up well during the cooking process.  Add the pear, along with 1 cup diced celery, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 cup toasted walnuts, 1/4 cup Fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon of fresh sage, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Remove from heat and fold in 10 cups of assorted bread cubes, and 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth.  Place in a well-greased (with butter), 13- x 9-inch baking pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.  

Apple Crisp

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly butter an 8×8 Pyrex dish.  In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of Quaker oats, and ¼ stick of melted butter until it forms crumbles.  Peel, core and chop 3 apples and mix well in a bowl with ½ cup of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Place half the crumb mixture in the bottom of the pan, and then pour in the apple mixture covering completely.  Top off the mixture with the remaining crumb mixture and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot or cold with vanilla ice cream.  

Comfy Cider

In a medium pot combine 3 cups of apple cider, 1 cup of water, 1 sliced lemon, and ¾ cup of sugar.  Bring to a simmer of medium high heat until sugar completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of Southern Comfort (or your favorite whiskey).  Serve in slightly cooled glasses with lemon slices and a cinnamon stick for garnish. Enjoy! 

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