How are you planning to celebrate Memorial Day? As a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, I will help with poppy sales ... a project we take seriously because the proceeds will be spent on programs that benefit our veterans who have served during war time. Most people celebrate Memorial Day the entire weekend -- May 24-27. As with all holidays, planning and cooking meals is essential.
You might think, "we just had a cookout on Easter weekend and a colossal cookout for a college graduation party" or for another occasion. But, thankfully you can grill almost any kind of entree -- pork, beef, chicken, fish -- so just select a different protein than you served at your last celebration.
For the purposes of this column, I thought it would be nice to offer three delicious chicken recipes that are especially nice for rainy day events and for doubling or tripling to serve the number of guests you are expecting. These are recipes that I haven't shared in the past. I truly hope you will enjoy them.
Chicken Chow Mein
2 (16-ounce) cans mixed Chinese vegetables
1-1/2 cups chopped white onion
1/3 cup butter or margarine
4 cups celery, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water
6 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup cornstarch
Chow Mein noodles or hot cooked rice
Drain the Chinese vegetables, but be sure to reserve the liquid. Saute the chopped onion in butter or margarine in a large skillet. Add celery, seasonings, the reserved vegetable liquid and 1 cup of water. Cover pan and allow the contents to simmer for 5 minutes. Add Chinese vegetables and chicken. Cover pan and simmer for 10 minutes longer. In a small bowl, stir together cold water, soy sauce and corn starch until the ingredients are well combined. Gradually add cornstarch mixture to hot chicken and vegetables, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Simmer ingredients for 3 minutes. You may serve this delicious dish with Chow Mein noodles or hot rice. This recipe makes 8 to 10 servings.
Healthy, Savory Oven-Baked Chicken
4 to 8 plump chicken pieces (preferred pieces)
1 tablespoon Morton Lite Salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
4 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon salad oil
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a shallow foil-lined baking pan or dish place chicken pieces, skin side down. Combine all of the remaining ingredients to create a basting sauce. Brush the sauce over the chicken pieces. Bake them at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Turn them over and brush them again with the basting sauce. Cover them with aluminum foil and bake them for another 35 minutes. Remove the foil and baste the chicken pieces one more time. Slide them back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes to allow the basting sauce to seep in and the tops of the chicken pieces to become lightly browned and crisp.
Baked Chicken Romano
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 broiler fryers, cut up
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon leaf oregano, crumbled
1 cup grated Romano cheese (or mild cheddar if preferred)
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a 15x10x1-inch pan with aluminum foil. Pour oil into the pan; heat it in your oven for 10 minutes; remove the pan from your oven. Place the chicken pieces, skin-side-down, in the hot oil. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon oregano. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes.
Turn the chicken pieces skin-side-up. Sprinkle them with remaining salt, pepper, 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper and remaining oregano. Bake the chicken for 15 minutes. Baste the chicken pieces with pan drippings. Sprinkle the top evenly with Romano or mild cheddar cheese. Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. This recipe makes eight servings.