Thursday, March 13, 2014

So very Thankful even when it's NOT Thanksgiving!

Oven Roasted Chicken and Southern Cornbread Dressing

We are smack dab in the middle of Spring Break. Well, now even one less day but you get the idea. I have LOVED staying home and taking time to just be. I don't take that time during the week, even on weekends lately so to take the time to just be ~ to sit, watch tv, relax, read and finally get a handle on a few neglected areas in my home has felt wonderful.

Yesterday two of the three kids that had gone to Grandma's for a few days returned and I was so thankful. In fact, I was one happy momma bird to have my nest full again. To listen to their chatter ~ is so wonderful and even though I enjoy "quiet" I enjoy having our entire family home under one roof. I knew I wanted to prepare a mini "Thanksgiving" meal ~ though not feeling the best kept me from making the rolls and dessert that I wanted to go with this. Regardless it was a very tasty meal! Besides it gave me a chance to share a few good recipes with you! (I will share a few options on how to use these recipes together at the end so .. keep reading!)


Ingredients
1 Whole Chicken (Innards cleaned out and rinsed well)
Onion Powder
Garlic Salt
Black Pepper
Cajun Seasoning
1/2 stick of butter

Directions
1. Make sure the chicken is cleaned out well. Rinse, and dry well.
2. Using a sharp butcher knife, cut the chicken down the middle on both sides (top and bottom).
3. Foil line a cookie sheet well. (This makes clean up easy peasy!)
4. Place a cooling rack on top of the foil lined pan.
5. Sprinkle liberally top and bottom with all seasonings listed above. Chicken is almost a blank pallet and can be very boring if you let it be.
6. Dab the tops of the chicken with butter. This will give your chicken moisture and flavor!
7. Bake in a 375* oven for a good 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let the top get browned well.  I cook the dressing with the chicken (different pans sharing the oven space) so this time tends to be perfect for my oven.

Ingredients
1 batch of prepared cornbread ( I use my Southern cornbread recipe but I reduce the sugar to about 1/8 of a cup)
1 onion diced
2 sticks of celery chopped
1 bunch of green onions chopped
1 stick of butter
Salt, pepper
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp ground sage
2 cups Chicken Broth
2 eggs beaten
1/2 stick of butter melted

Directions
1. Crumble pan of cooled cornbread in a bowl, and leave out. (I like to prepare and crumble this in the morning leaving it out in a bowl to dry out a bit until time to prepare the dressing.)
2. In a large skillet melt a stick of butter. Add onion, celery, and green onions. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until veggies are tender.
3. Pour sauteed veggies in the cornbread along with any leftover butter and drippings.
4. Add poultry seasoning and sage. (This always has to be adjusted for taste. IF you want it a bit more stronger in flavor please add in the same increments starting with 1/2 of the sage that you add in poultry seasoning. SAGE is very strong!)
5. Add in a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and about 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth.
6. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
7. Add in 1/2 stick of melted butter and stir. (Is it moist enough? If not add in 1/2 cup of remaining chicken broth).
8. If your dressing is moist and is seasoned like  you want add in two beaten eggs. This will bring your dressing together, add a bit of richness, and just make your dressing good!
9. Bake in a casserole dish on 375* for about an hour or until set and browned well on top.

IDEAS:
Casserole: Layer the following as listed - Dressing, cooked chicken, green beans topped with a can of cream of chicken soup. Bake in oven for a good hour.

Muffins: Mix cooked chicken in dressing and fill muffin cups. Bake in 375* oven until tops of dressing muffins are browned. (About 30 minutes) Serve with a chicken dressing and green beans on the side.

Dressing add ins: Dried cranberries, walnuts, and orange zest.  Oysters and cooked breakfast sausage. Crawfish tails and 2 TBS Old Bay Seasoning.


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