Thursday, October 19, 2017

Lots of Little Things

I haven't made any final decision on the blog and, since I have a few stories, I'll post them.

Yesterday, at the drive-thru, the woman on the intercom greeted me in Spanish.  She apologized and switched to English.  When I pulled up to the window, she apologized again, profusely.  I asked, "Are you apologizing to me for greeting me in Spanish?"  Yes, she said; sometimes she gets confused switching back and forth.  I asked if she were bilingual and, when she said yes, I told her that was wonderful and she never needed to apologize.  I said I would have answered in Spanish if mine were any good.  But as I left, I said "gracias."

Last night, our Cadette troop helped out at the local food pantry.  When we arrived, more than an hour before it opened, there was already a line of 20+ people.  Inside, there were six rows of shelves, with a a few selections per aisle, and unlimited produce while it lasted.  A family of four could get some dried fruit, some canned fruit, 2 boxes of pasta, one box of cereal, two cans of tomato sauce, a jar of cocktail sauce, peanut butter, some meat or cheese or eggs, and a bag of day-old bread.  For a week.  Not much food, not much choice, no real brands.  And some of the clients were homeless, which means they only really could take food that didn't need to be cooked--apples, raisins, cereal, peanut butter, bread.  Others, were confused--I had to explain cocktail sauce to numerous clients--what were they going to do, run out and buy shrimp??  These weren't exactly foods that you could make a lot of different meals with--a family of four could perhaps make cereal breakfast, two spaghetti dinners, and perhaps chicken drumsticks with cocktail sauce.  We ran low on pretty much everything as the evening progressed, so that the only fresh vegetable was onions--and some took 20 or more, I'm guessing for soup.  Meat and eggs ran out, too.  The people at the end of the session had almost no choice.

I know that many of the clients work (and maybe that's why they came at the end of the evening); food insecurity hits more than just people who are unemployed or homeless.  Many brought small children.  Most were minorities (African American or Latinx), most were women, young and older.  There were a few white people, who had clear signs of mental health issues and learning disabilities.  As Sis noted, several clients smelled like cigarettes; I smelled urine, too.

It was very eye-opening for the troop and for the adults.  The girls were mostly sad--sad that people were hungry, sad that people were poor, sad that there was so little.   I was surprised at how little food they got, especially given that they only came once a week. And the quality was very low.  I know my family is privileged--I think I didn't realize how much.  I'm sure we waste more food than these 115 or so clients and their families get.  And, in the current political climate, there will probably be less rather than more.  I mentioned to one of the moms that I would have loved if some of the dads--many of the dads are Republicans, though married to Democrats--had been there, though I can just hear the racism and classism ("I work to take care of my family," etc.)  And then if the GOP takes away healthcare too . . . . The girls were very mature, very hardworking (they carried bags and helped  clients figure out what they could take)--the volunteer coordinator couldn't believe they were seventh graders.  They were pretty quiet as they left after two hours of work, but dedicated to coming back to help at the pantry and later cook dinner at the soup kitchen.  And I think I'll be making more deliveries to the food pantry (though, they said cash is best so they can buy in bulk.)

Otherwise, I've been taking it slowly this week, mainly because I twisted my knee last Friday at hospice.  I thought it would stop hurting with some rest and wearing the little brace I have--I do this about every five years or so--but it's gotten harder to walk and I've even canceled going to hospice tomorrow.    I have an appointment to see my ortho next week and am still taking it easy.  Blah.  I'm pretty sure it's just a muscle thing but better to check.

It might as well be this week because I'm spending a lot of time online doing my Chaplaincy Care Volunteer training class, through Healthcare Chaplaincy and the Spiritual Care Network.  It's an online, introductory course for some continuing education credits; though I've been a hospice volunteer for five years, I'm taking the class to learn more of the theoretical underpinings of hospice and to explore the organization before I apply to do their Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) unit
(which is much more involved--about 400 CPE hours vs. 18 ce credit hours) in the spring.  So, I've spent every morning this week doing the readings, watching the videos, and doing the assignments.  Not surprisingly, many of the assignments are reflective not the regurgitation of information.  And I've found it fascinating.

For instance, the discussion of spiritual distress clarified for me that I experienced such distress after my emergency abdominal surgery, which was a reminder of mortality. And my secular humanist, Buddhist-inspired Unitarian Universalism is not all that comforting about the afterlife.  I don't believe in heaven (or hell); I do not believe in an omnipotent, omnipresence authoritarian godhead.  Pretty much, when I die, I'm dead. And that's not all that comforting.  So for awhile after surgery, I wondered if I could change my beliefs to something with more of an afterlife, and, in the end, I just can't.  I go back and forth about the divine light inside of each of us, which rejoins the universe after death (because energy cannot be destroyed, accoring to our current understanding of physics), but it's not me.  And it's not my life.  As a parent with relatively young children, I find it very difficult to think of leaving them permanently now (even just thinking about it, much less being faced with it really), hence the distress.  How did I overcome it?  Hospice work helps and distance from the precipitating event allows me to go back to ignoring it on such a visceral level.  I'm hoping as the kids get older, as I get older, or if something forces my hand, that I will become better at thinking of leaving this life.  It's a practice.

About that little divine light within each of us; I'm thinking of it metaphorically.  It's been called our spirit, our soul, "this little light of mine." That which enlivens us, differentiates us.  Namaste. "The light in me recognizes the light in you." In me, it flares up at the smiles of my family, a beautiful sunset or view, the national anthem or other pageantry (like the Olympics), when I sing a touching song, when my cats purr.  It draws me to community, to service, to compassion, to love.  When I'm angry or sad or regretful or guilty, it darkens.  Yep, all those tried and true light vs dark metaphors (though as a white woman, I reognize the trouble in associating light with goodness, hope, etc., and darkness with the opposite.)  When my UU RE class visited the local synagogue this Sunday and spoke with the rabbi, he spoke of the divine light that Jews believe is present in them, first breathed into us by God with Adam.  There is no hell; when someone dies, the spark rejoins the divine.  The rabbi mentioned that this interest in a divine spark, an internal, eternal light, comes from the East and in that way is similar to Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.  (BTW, I personally got teary on that field trip when a young woman from the synagogue practiced her bat mitzvah portion on the synagogue's 450-year-old scroll that survived the Holocaust.  This Torah now helps initiate a new generation of young Jews.)

I'm also reading a book by John Pavolitz, the progressive Christian preacher who is active on social media in excorciating #45, the GOP, and religious extremists who hate on LGBTQ, feminists, and others.  I grew up in a family that was, at best, disinterested in Christianity (and all religions), if not somewhat hostile.  Even at a young age, I saw a lot of hypocrisy in the Southern Baptists I knew.  As I grew older, I saw more--people were religious but didn't seem to live out the values of mercy, charity, faith, love, etc exemplified by Christ.  Certainly, now that I'm an out lesbian, I see even more hypocrisy and quite often wonder then, why do people bother to be Christians then?  Except reading Pavolitz's new book, Building a Bigger Table, I'm starting to understand the appeal of Christianity, at least as Pavolitz describes it--a table with legs of radical hospitality, divesity, beloved community, and  . .. oh, I'm forgetting the last leg.  Still, those are all wonderful things.  Now I don't know much about Jesus--and I don't believe in a supreme being, much less his holy incarnation on earth and so I won't become a Christian--but I can appreicate the core values as Pavolitz sees it.  He also talks about the light inside of us, which reaches out to others.

And today is Diwali, the Indian festival of lights . . . and the chalice is the symbol of Unitarian Universalism . . . so I have light on my mind.

What else?  I learned about reminiscence therapy, where you guide older people, especially those with memory loss, through significant life events, like school or marriage, using objects (e.g. a wedding veil), music (wedding song), scent (fresh flowers), etc.  I actually had the opportunity to try it with one of my hospice patients that afternoon, as she had a letter about a family member's recent wedding.  So, we talked about her wedding, back in the 1940s, after the war.  A chuppah, breaking the glass, a white dress, and how it all started the family that loves and surrounds her today.  Also, one of the videos, this time on prejudice and professional, featured a therapist who said there are no first impressions--every time we meet someone new we are reminded of people we've met before or lessons we learned from our family and/or culture (such as racism) and so we have prejudices that are very hardwired and hard to overcome; as professionals, it would be our job to see these thoughts and then just set them aside. (As we say in Buddhism, don't believe everything you think.)  My first thoughts weren't about my own prejudices with regards to other people but how such prejudices affect how I see myself--how much I berate myself for being overweight, for instance.  I have a very strong, very negative inner voice that rarely quits (especially this week with my knee hurting), even when I can examine the thoughts and try to let them go.  I am much nicer and more understanding, for instance, about everyone else's body issues; just not mine.  As for prejudices I might carry with me to hospice, ironically, I used to be anxious about talking to elderly people because I couldn't understand them (on, say, Girl Scout visits to nursing homes) and would avoid it; I would rather have spent time with children with special needs, say (like when I worked at various camps.)  Well, now I spend a lot of time with sometimes very hard to understand elderly people!  Of course, the most obvious prejudice is racial.  I carry that baggage, too, but consider myself, to use the parlance, newly "woke." Or, perhaps, awakening.  I try to stay aware of my privilege and the challenges of non-white or non-privileged people, based on race, ability, income, gender etc.  I hope it doesn't affect my hospice work.  For instance, I do become very aware of racial issues (and am a bit uncomfortable) when I'm singing Harry Belafonte songs with Carribean patois lyrics to my white patient who loves those songs, in front of her Jamaican personal health aide, who sometimes sings and dances along!  But I will enter any room where I'm welcomed and treat the person in the bed and the friends and family around with all respect and dignity.

Whew! I think that's probably enough for today.

Monday, October 9, 2017

This Blog

I don't write as often as I used to, almost ten years after starting this blog.  Only a few people read it and, as they're friends, they can probably best be served by individual emails.  I haven't quite given up on it; I'm still considering shutting it all down, not sure if I'll keep it public or take it down.  It certainly served its purpose--to give me an outlet to express myself and to communicate with others far and near.  I will always keep it--so many memories, so many recipes!  What do you think?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Las Vegas

Really, are there any words left that we can say after a mass murder?  Nothing explains it.  Nothing can ever make it better.

And yet Bud asked me about it last night.  I used the Mr. Rogers line "look for the good," pointing out the heroes and first responders.  But that can't ameliorate 58 dead and 529 injured.  I tried to tell him about the book I'm reading--Karen Armstrong's The Case for God--I'm just beginning it, in the chapters that trace ancient beliefs in both logos and mythos, how God was not a "being" really, more of a divinity, a spark of life that is in everything.  I said everyone has a spark like that--him, me, the heroes and responders, only in some, like the shooter, it is shrouded in darkness, for any number of reasons (not inherent evil, though.  I don't believe in that.)  Then I try to tell him that Connecticut has one of the lowest gun murder rates in the country (I think we're third lowest), that we try to keep him safe.  Without making it scary, I hope, I also said it's why we try to treasure each day, try not to go to bed angry, kiss goodbye, and say "I love you," because you never do quite know.  We cuddled on the couch for awhile.  And I tried not to think if my body could completely shield his from a rain of bullets.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Back in the Saddle

I'll start this post by saying Sis is just fine.

Last Thursday, she had horseback riding as usual, on her beloved pony Murphy ("her" is relative; we partially lease him.)  She was out in the back paddock cantering (faster than a trot) and Murphy spied a wild turkey in the woods.  I guess Murphy doesn't like turkeys because he spooked and jumped sideways, but Sis continued her forward trajectory right over his neck.  She landed on her right side on the ground.  She says she didn't hit her head but did bend back a finger.  

When I showed up after the lesson, knowing none of this, the first thing she said was, "I fell off, but it's not Murphy's fault!"

In fact, she had the presence of mind to immediately grab his reins so he didn't spook again or try to eat grass (horses can choke if they eat with their bridles in place), something that is drilled into them. People came immediately to check on her and she got right back up on him.  So brave!

Of course, we don't blame Murphy.  These things happen--and she wears an expensive helmet because of it.  I teased her, "Did you think I was going to go out and shoot the pony like in Gone with the Wind?"  She was horrified and now doesn't want to see one of my favorite movies of all times.  (And that's not even a big part of the film, but I digress.)

Anyway, she started having headaches that evening and so we consulted with Goo, my brother-in-law who is now a doctor at a hospital nearby, and he said to watch her; nobody wanted us to go to the ER at night if we didn't have to.

But it did happen the day that it was announced that NFL player Aaron Hernandez had advanced brain damage (CTE) at the time of his suicide.  From multiple concussions.  So we were pretty vigilant.

We let her go to school the next day, but by Friday evening we were at the pediatrician's office because her head hurt when she moved too much.  No obvious concussion, but the doctor put her on limited activity for a week--no horses, no skating, no PE in school; we'll go back if it gets worse or doesn't go away (it hasn't completely gone away yet.)  By the way, did you know that cocoon treatments for concussions--no activity, dark rooms, not even much mental stimulation (like music or audiobooks)--is on the way out?  I didn't either.  Apparently it doesn't actually help children. The doctor was even more concerned about the aching middle finger on her right (not writing) hand and sent us for x-rays on Saturday morning.

Not broken!  Just sprained.


I know missing all of her activities is a hardship, but, considering how awful it could have been, well,  I'd say we are lucky.   And my dad always says that it's better to be lucky than good!

As a horse-loving friend said to her, "Silly Murphy!"

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Talking Faith

Today at Hospice, a Jehovah's Witness proselytized to myself and my fellow spiritual care volunteer about her faith.  I'm not sure how often I've been on the receiving end of such a strong impulse to convert me (even my Mormon friend doesn't try that!)  But she was so dedicated to her faith, supporting her through the death of her spouse.  I couldn't agree with her about her Savior and his Resurrection, but we all agreed on the importance of hope and community, which permeate most faiths.  We just give the light that sustains us in the darkness different names. Christ, God, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Spirit, Love, Mother Nature, Beloved Community . . . even science and humanity.  Afterwards, I spoke with my colleague, who is Jewish (and so was equally unmoved by the conversion attempt), and we continued our discussion of faith, hope, and community and how we functioned in a predominantly Roman Catholic environment. She likes Psalm 23 but rarely recites the Lord's Prayer, since it isn't about honest or true connection for her.  I've done the Lord's Prayer and "Amazing Grace" but not the Catholic blessing with the cross on the forehead.  For both of us, listening to patients and their families, truly connecting with them, serving our communities is a main tenet of our faiths, above and beyond communion, salvation, and witness.  Beyond this deep conversation, we talked kids and Connecticut.  I'm going to enjoy working with her.

The conversation reminded me of church, where I'm teaching RE this year--the kiddos' class, even.   "Neighboring Faiths" is the curriculum, which introduces kids to other religions--Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism--through visitors and field trips.  I'm really looking forward to it, which is why I volunteered to teach (it'll help with my hospice work, too, even if most patients are RC.)  I think it's really important for the kids, too.  I learned through going to church with childhood friends--whoever I spent the night with on Saturday, I'd go to church with on Sunday (mostly on the Protestant spectrum, though--Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Southern Baptist, some Catholic, and my Hindu neighbors, though they didn't go to temple much.)    The kids groan a bit about going, but they know it's important to me.  And maybe, years from now, it will help them in their own discussions of faith and interactions with people of other faiths.  Or, they might even change faith communities.  Okay, sure, I'd be shocked if they became Catholic--like my cousin did, becoming a monk even--but I think as long as they kept to the spirit of UU principles--the worth of all beings, the importance of community, the responsible search for truth and justice, the respect for different sources of wisdom--well, it'd make for some good conversations.

Besides, having a better understanding of Catholicism will come in handy for our trip to Italy in the spring!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Getting Bigger

I sat with most of our Cadette Girl Scout Troop this evening, listening to each girl read a poem or piece.  How much they've grown since we started our Daisy troop back in 2009!  Taller--one is even taller than me, which rarely happens (I'm about 5'7"+ so women are rarely taller than I am, much less tweens!)  Besides just being tall, they are so composed, so mature--young women caught between childhood and adulthood.  So even as they read "If" by Kipling and "The Road Less Traveled" by Frost, and even "Everybody Dies, But Not Everybody Lives" by Prince Ea, they also read from The Velveteen Rabbit and Shel Silverstein.  And they giggled and danced around playing charades.  I've watched these girls grow up and I'm not sure I really even saw it happening, even though I've seen them pretty much every other week for over seven years now.  They were little, little girls and now . . . well, they're taller than I am.

And then last night, we went to middle school open house.  Middle school.  Talk about time flying.  Do you realize the kids are closer to college than to kindergarten now?  In less than four years, they could be driving.  I had been nervous about middle school for them, mostlly worried about how they would make new friends.  Academics haven't been much of a challenge thus far and they are both approaching the new school year conscientiously.  Still, honors classes, French, changing clothes for gym, 9 different teachers, school clubs, kids from three other elementary schools.  And teachers who are just . . . so clearly not elementary school teachers.  It's a lot to take in.  For them, too!

But I like my kids and the people they are growing into, so, for now, I'm only sort of nervous about the next five years.

Kid Tidbit from school already:  When his French teacher asked the class what French they knew, Bud quoted Hamilton, "Oui, oui, mon ami, je m'appelle Bud!"

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Summer Fun is Over

Though we didn't do most of our list--at least not the little things like quilling or a Minecraft Server--we did have some big trips--Texas, Vermont, New Jersey, and Maine!  And the weeks not spent galivanting around were relaxing and rejuvenating.  All in all, a good summer.

Now to start my fall list!

  1. Go to Vermont--oh, that was fun!
  2. Sis's speedskating camp--she loved camp (with 2 Olympians and a national coach!) and we liked our wanderings around Jersey, including living history museums, lighthouses, great Malayasian food.
  3. Go to Texas--Yes, we did!  And completed a subset of our list:  boat rides, driving the golf cart, fishing, tubing, sailing, fireworks, Mikeska's, Prasek's, Buc-ee's, Whataburger, seeing dolphins, walking on the pier at night, bird sightings (pelican, mockingbird, Mexican eagle/caracara, gray hawk, white-winged dove, purple martins, even baby buzzards), hammock time, chalk art, water balloon fight, birthday parties, visiting with family.
  4. Family camp in Maine--marvelous!
  5. Sis's computer camp--almost done! Pick up is today.
  6. Bud's theater camp--he liked it and we thought the little production at the end of the week was cute.
  7. Trip to NYC with kids by myself--nope, but we did go as a whole family to see Come From Away and Gulliver's Gate
  8. See musical Come From Away--we "loves" it!
  9. Beach outing--we went rock skipping and sea-glass hunting over the weekend
  10. Putt-putt golf--well, at least Mama and Bud got in a round in NJ
  11. Go to zoo--over Labor Day weekend; I liked the tortoises eating watermelon, while Sis loved the mini horses and Bud liked wandering around by myself.
  12. Celebrate 4th of July--watching fireworks in TX
  13. Celebrate Solstice--first full summer day at home so we have a free day and kids stay up late
  14. Celebrate Mama's birthday with Studio Ghibli film festival--Yay!!  We've seen Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service
  15. Birthday parties for kids--birthday pinata!
  16. Kids cook weekly dinners--Bud started with shish kebabs!
  17. See Spiderman Homecoming--we LOVED it!
  18. Bird song e-course--I'm trying to learn the mnenomics
  19. Zentangle workshops--I learned all about doing 3D designs, Dingbatz, radial blossoms, and "Delft Designs"
  20. Summer Soul Camp workshop--it's going on right now
  21. Clean basement--I did a really good sweep of the "front" part.  It's navigable again.
  22. Gardening--I've cleared the bed in the back and planted some flowers
  23. Read through magazine pile--I've made headway.

Hospice Thoughts

A Hospice Metta

May you be comforted.
May you be at ease.
May you be strong.
May you be free from suffering.

I've been working on the words of metta to fit hospice work.  Health, safety, happiness just didn't seem to be the right things to focus on.  And so I've been trying to think what I most wish for my hospice patients.  Strength instead of fear at the end of life, comfort and relief not pain, the support and comfort of family and friends, even hope for relief and good days though not a cure.

Since the middle of summer, I have been volunteering as a chaplain-in-training at a local hospice residence.  I go for several hours once a week.  As of yet, there has been no formal training beyond initial HIPPA, fire safety, and universal precautions.  I will have official in-service training later this fall, but they had wanted me to start right away.

I have been following various volunteers and the senior chaplain, going on rounds, going to IDT (interdisciplinary team meetings), learning about paperwork (oh, so much paperwork.)  The procedures have been a little overwhelming; there are just so many more patients than my one or two-at-a-time in my other organization.

But it is wonderful to have mentors with their guidance and support.  I've been often alone at my previous place (I'm still seeing my last patient, who is quite amazingly holding on.)  I'm learning new ways to interact with people and beginning to clarify my own style.  The senior chaplain even teste me last week; he had me go into a room, look around, and come back out.  I did and he quizzed me about the spirituality of the patients.  So, I guess absorbing and analyzing visual cues is something hospice and art history have in common.  That, and I'm much more adept at reading symbolism and religious icons than I otherwise would have been.

 One volunteer, who is a Catholic eucharistic minister but not quite a Roman Catholic anymore, has advised me that it's okay to give Catholic blessings with a cross on the patient's forehead.  I haven't been sure about this; indeed, I'm quite unsure.  I think prayers are one thing, but formal blessings in the manner of a priest are outside of my purview.  It seems to me deceitful, as if I could offer what a priest does (leaving belief aside.)  And so I don't.  Prayers, ecumenical blessings, wishes and hopes, listening, comfort, support, presence--these I can do.  For those to whom it has meaning, even "Amazing Grace" and the Lord's Prayer.  I would do similarly for someone who is Jewish or Muslim, etc.

In Unitarian Universalism, the first principle we affirm and promote is the inherent worth and dignity of all people.  And while it's not a principle per se, I would argue that we also support the idea of community.  For me, hospice work is about these UU principles--companioning the individual through the dying process, supporting their family and friends, doing this service for the larger community, so no one is alone.  For myself, I don't believe in heaven or hell, or even an afterlife.  But I know we all die and that it is one of the greatest fears anyone has, for themselves or their loved ones, almost regardless of their religious beliefs. My faith concerns the present, this life on earth, for it is all we know.  And so I sit with my hospice patients--the Catholics, the Jews, the Protestants, even the one Unitarian a few weeks ago--and I wish them peace.

May they be comforted.
May they be at ease.
May they be strong.
May they be free from suffering.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Thank You!

A HUGE thank you to our friends and neighbors for their generous support of our Harvey Relief Lemonade Stand!!  In just two hours, the kids raised $155 from lemonade, blueberry bars (with fresh blueberries mixed into the jam), and chocolate chip bars--our lemonade-stand staples.  So many people made donations above and beyond our prices!  It really was very touching.  The money will go to the Houston Food Bank and Houston SPCA.  (They started with just the pets, but we decided we needed to help people, too!  As a family, we've also given to Global Giving, the Texas SPCA, and the #underpantsfairies.)

It was a lovely day.  Bright with a cool breeze, our Texas flag flapping to attract attention.  So many friends came by, and not just neighbors on the street.  Though, pretty much all of them stopped by, too.  Even the kids' 1st/2nd-grade looping teacher came!  It was like a party.  (Only much easier to host!)

And it was a bit bittersweet--not because of Texas, though that is heartbreaking--but because the kiddos outgrew their wooden lemonade stand from our neighbor.  They're just too tall.  I realized that we probably don't have too many lemonade stands left in our future--I'm not sure I see 13-year-olds hosting them next summer.  So this might have been our last.

But it was the best one ever.


(My tips for hosting a lemonade stand.)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Tastes Like Chicken

We've had chicken on the brain and on the menu a lot recently, from Gommie's Chicken, Rice, and Gravy to Chicken and Dumplings, with chicken stir fry and balsamic chicken in between.  And these two recipes below, officially a kind of scalloppine, with breaded cutlets sauteed in a sauce.  Our two favorites right now are Chicken Marsala and Chicken Piccata, both of which Sis has made in the last few weeks.  Yum!

A friend gave me a hint about making chicken cutlets--skip the egg step and instead spray chicken with coconut oil and then dredge.  We'll have to try that sometime.  Mama and I used to make a lot of chicken cutlet meals, back in Chicago.   I should dig those out, too.


Chicken Marsala
a la Tyler Florence

4 chicken breasts, approx 1 1/4 lbs
salt, pepper
1/4 c olive oil
4 oz sliced prosciutto
8 oz mushrooms (cremini, porcini)
1/2 c sweet Marsala wine
1/2 c chicken stock
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 c parsley, chopped

Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them; pound with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly.
Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. When the oil is nice and hot, dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Slip the cutlets into the pan and fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden, turning once – do this in batches if the pieces don't fit comfortably in the pan. Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.
Lower the heat to medium and add the prosciutto to the drippings in the pan, saute for 1 minute to render out some of the fat. Now, add the mushrooms and saute until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Pour the Marsala in the pan and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a minute to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir in the butter and return the chicken to the pan; simmer gently for 1 minute to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Chicken Piccata
a la Serious Eats
1 cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups Panko
2 oz parmesan cheese
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4" thick
salt, pepper
olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, flat

Set three wide, shallow bowls on a work surface. Add flour to the first one, beaten eggs to the second, and panko and Parmesan cheese to the third. Mix panko and Parmesan thoroughly.

Line a rimmed baking dish with parchment paper. Season chicken cutlets all over with salt and pepper. Working with one at a time, dredge a cutlet in flour with your left hand, shaking off excess. Transfer to egg dish, then turn cutlet with your right hand to coat both sides. Lift and allow excess egg to drain off, then transfer to bread crumb mixture. With your left hand, scoop bread crumbs on top of chicken, then gently press, turning chicken to ensure a good layer of crumbs on both sides. Transfer cutlet to prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining cutlets.

Fill a large skillet with 1/4 inch oil. Heat over high heat until shimmering and just shy of smoking, about 375°F on an instant-read thermometer.

Working in batches and using tongs or your fingers, gently lower cutlets into the pan, laying them down away from you to prevent hot fat from splashing toward you. Fry, gently swirling pan and rotating cutlets for even browning, and adjusting heat as necessary for a steady, vigorous bubble, until bottom side is browned and crisp, about three minutes. Flip cutlets and fry until other side is browned and crisp, about three minutes longer. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt right away. Repeat with remaining cutlets, topping up oil if necessary.

Drain all but one tablespoon oil from skillet. Add wine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cooking until raw alcohol smell has mostly cooked off, about two minutes. Add capers and butter, whisking constantly, until butter has melted. Lower heat to medium and continue whisking and reducing until a creamy, emulsified sauce forms (the time this takes will depend on your burner power and the size of your pan). If sauce over-reduces and breaks at any point, add one tablespoon cold water and whisk to emulsify it again. Whisk in lemon juice and parsley, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.

Arrange cutlets on a platter and drizzle warm butter sauce all over. Serve right away.

Chicken Recipes we made in Chicago and later:  we haven't made most of these recipes since the kiddos were eating solid food; might be time to try some, adapt others.

Angel Hair with Artichoke and Mustard
Mama was having a Grey Poupon thing and got this recipe off the website.  We added chicken and drained the artichokes and liked the results.

1 clove garlic, chopped
1 breast chicken
1 medium bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1-6.5 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
¼ cup Grey Poupon dijon mustard
8 oz. angel hair pasta
Parmesan cheese

            Cook and stir garlic and chicken in large skillet with pam.  Add bell pepper; cook 2 minutes.  Add artichokes and mustard.  Continue heating.
            Add cooked pasta; toss with artichoke mixture.  Serve with grated Parmesan.
 Mama Hungry

Caper and Olive Pasta a la Il Postino
Mama made up this pasta sauce based on the one my dad had with his fish at Il Postino the first night they were in town for graduation.  Very tasty!

1 can stewed tomatoes
2 tablespoons nonpareil capers
8 Spanish olives with pimentoes, sliced or chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped fine
white wine to taste

            Saute the onion and the garlic until softened.  Add white wine.  Stir in tomatoes, capers, and olives.  Simmer the longer the better.
            Serve over pasta.
 Mama Hungry

Balsamic Chicken

Delicious, but the recipe is more complicated than necessary—it can probably be baked just like Grandmother’s chicken. 

1 ½ cups balsamic vinegar
4 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
8 chicken thighs, skin on (about 2 1/4 pounds)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450°. Combine vinegar and garlic in a small, wide saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil until thick, syrupy, and reduced to 1/3 cup, about 8 minutes. Stir in rosemary.
            Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy skillet with an oven-proof handle over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken in skillet skin side down, and sear until brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a platter, and pour off excess fat. Return chicken to pan, skin side up.
            Transfer pan to oven, and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 180°, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn on broiler. Brush chicken with reduced balsamic mixture. Place chicken in broiler until glaze is bubbly, 1 to 3 minutes. Serve.

Dijon Chicken
Mama got this recipe from the Grey Poupon website and it was a tangy change from our usual fare.  Quick and easy too. 

¼ cup Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts

            Mix mustard, water, garlic powder, and Italian Seasoning in large bowl or plastic bag.  Add chicken; toss to coat.  Place chicken on lightly greased baking pan.  Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Chicken Italienne

1 cup (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon sweet basil
¼ teaspoon oregano
4 chicken breasts
2 ½ cups crushed corn flakes
vegetable cooking spray
[spaghetti sauce can be substituted for first four ingredients]

            Combine tomato sauce and seasonings.  Dip chicken in tomato sauce mixture.  Roll in corn flakes.  Place chicken pieces skin side up in shallow pan coated with cooking spray.  Do not crowd.
            Bake at 350°F about 1 hour, or until chicken is tender, no longer pink and juices run clear.  Do not cover pan or turn chicken while baking. 

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal box

Jerk Chicken

From our DK cookbook, this doesn’t taste anything like jerk chicken—it isn’t even hot—but it was tasty enough to do again.  But, we used canned not fresh green chilies.

2 lb chicken, cut into pieces
chopped fresh thyme to garnish
broiled pineapple rings to serve
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoon sunflower or corn oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1-2 fresh green chilies, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of grated nutmeg
2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper

            Make the jerk paste: puree the lime juice, rum, oil, soy sauce, scallions, chilies, garlic, spices, thyme, and salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth.
            Brush the chicken pieces with the jerk paste.  Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
            Put the chicken on a hot barbecue or under the broiler, 4” from the heat.  Cook for about 10 minutes on each side, until the juices run clear.  Serve the chicken immediately, garnished with thyme and accompanied by broiled pineapple rings.

Classic Home Cooking (Dorling Kindersley)

 Lemon Chicken Sauce

Mama made this the night before I left for Christmas ’01, when her deglazing with lemon juice didn’t work.   It makes a sweet, almost sweet-n-sour glaze.  Pretty good.

½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch (works without it)
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ketchup
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

            In medium saucepan, combine broth and cornstarch, blend until smooth.  Add honey, lemon juice, ketchup, and garlic powder; mix well.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat; stir in lemon peel.

Pillsbury Complete Cookbook

Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Wild Rice
This amazing recipe—a crockpot dinner—was amazing!  Mama worried that there wouldn’t be much flavor, but the 8 cloves of garlic made it all tangy and tasty.  A definite do-again.  And so easy!

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup wild rice blend
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 ¼ cups water
10 fresh parsley sprigs

            Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of a slow cooker.  Add the garlic and rice.  Add the lemon juice to the water and stir.  Pour this mixture over the rice and chicken.  Stir once to coat.  Place the lid on the slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours.  To plate, place a serving of the rice on each plate and top with 1 chicken breast.  Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs.

Food TV

PD'A's Yakatori
PD'A made this when I visited San Antonio to go to the Olympic Festival after graduation.  It was salty but tasty.

2 med. chicken breasts
¼ cup soy sauce
¾ teaspoon fine herbs, crushed
½ teaspoon ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons oil
dash of pepper
¼ teaspoon onion powder

            Cut chicken into strips or bites, thread onto skewers.  Place in 2 layers in 12 x 7 dish. Mix remaining ingredients.  Pour over chicken, cover and chill 2-3 hours.  Drain and grill 3-4 minutes or bake at 375°F for 25 minutes.

JL's Friend’s Chicken Cutlets
I made my first chicken cutlets today and think they’ll become a family standard (so I bought the prep trays from Pampered Chef!).  The kids even liked them, which is a real plus.  My first batch used a seasoned flour dip, followed by milk/egg, finished with crunched corn flakes.  Baked and great (4/08)!

Never made chicken cutlets?! OMG! I live on them! And so easy...
I buy the thin sliced cutlets. Simply:
(1) Rinse them in water (pat dry).
(2) a. Jamie’s addition: In the first bowl, I started with a seasoned flour dip, as per the PC catalog recipe
b. In another bowl place an egg and a tiny bit (1/4 cup?) of milk; stir so egg breaks and mixes with the milk.
(3) In the third bowl place bread crumbs (Jeanine uses 4 C; I used crushed corn flakes for the crunchy effect).
(4) Coat the cutlet in the flour, then the milk/egg combo, and then coat in the bread crumbs.

I bake approx. 1/2 hour on 350 or you can fry them in a skillet. If you get thicker cutlets, just check them after 1/2 hour to gage how long they need.
And, you will see after trying to finagle long cutlets in a bowl, how great the trays can be! In addition, I bake my cutlets (as does Janine L) on my stone - they stay juicy and taste amazing!
Lastly, for a twist, follow the steps above, but prior to baking, roll 'something' in the middle and stick a toothpick through - and it still bakes the same. My favorite is fresh mozz and roasted red pepper. Janine Lizotte uses ham and husband likes cheddar and broccoli.

Almond Crusted Chicken
A very tasty recipe, but Mama adapted the preparation because it doesn’t need to be this complicated (2006).

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons honey mustard
2/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450.  Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap and pound to 1/2" thickness using a rolling pin.  Sprinkled both sides of chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Place flour in ziploc bag.  Combine buttermilk and honey mustard in a shallow dish.  Combine almonds and breadcrumbs in another shallow dish.  Heat a large oven-proof skillet over high heat.  Working with one piece at a time, add chicken to bag, seal and shake to coat. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour.  Dip chicken in buttermilk mixture; dredge in almond mixture.  Repeat with remaining flour, chicken, buttermilk mixture, and almond mixture.

Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add chicken to pan; cook 1 minutes. Turn chicken over.  Place pan in oven; bake at 450 for 9 minutes or until chicken is done.

Cooking Light

Artichoke Chicken
I don’t remember this one at all but it has ingredients I like (2006).

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/4" thickness
1 bag (16 ounces) frozen small whole onions
1 can (?? ounces) chicken broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Ground black pepper
1 package (10 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, turning once, or until browned on both sides. Carefully remove the chicken to a large bowl. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Return the chicken to the pan and add the chicken broth and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and cook for 10 minutes, or until the artichokes are tender and a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of a chicken breast registers 170°F and the juices run clear.

Balsamic Chicken
This was pretty good (2006).

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 ½ teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4-6 tablespoons white wine (optional)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Combine the rosemary, garlic, pepper, and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Drizzle with the oil, and rub with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
    Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray a heavy roasting pan or iron skillet with cooking spray. Place the chicken in the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over.  If the drippings begin to stick to the pan, stir in 3-4 tablespoons water or white wine (if using).
    Bake about 10 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 160°F and the juices run clear. If the pan is dry, stir in another 1-2 tablespoons of water or white wine to loosen the drippings. Drizzle the vinegar over the chicken in the pan.
Transfer the chicken to plates. Stir the liquid in the pan and drizzle over the chicken.
Serves 6


 Fast Chicken in Roasted Pepper Sauce
Such a tasty sauce, we took to making it without the chicken.

½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-12 oz. jar roasted peppers, drained
1 cup heavy cream

            In a shallow dish, combine flour, ½ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the white pepper.  Place beaten eggs in another small dish. 
            In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat.  Coat chicken breasts in flour and then dip them in eggs, coating completely.  Cook 3-4 minutes each side, or until golden.  Transfer to a platter and cover to keep warm.
            Meanwhile, place roaster peppers, cream and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper in the blender.  Cover and blend until mixture is well combined.  Pour into skillet and add browned chicken.  Cook 4-5 minutes, or until sauce is heated through and the chicken is no longer pink inside.
            Serve over pasta.

Chicken with Celery Sauce
This is one of our favorite new recipes.  We didn’t actually have it when we ate at Randall’s Ordinary—we prefer the scallops and pot roast—but it was in the historic cookbook we purchased. It looked so simple—and it is!  Very good too.  And, you can make this, add some other ingredients, and put it in a chicken pot pie crust (summer 2004).

2 lbs. capon or chicken, skinned and cut into pieces
1 head celery, diced
salt and pepper
1 qt. chicken stock
4 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoon flour
3 oz. heavy cream
1 egg yolk

            Prepare chicken and set up in a casserole.  Boil celery in stock for 1/2 hour.  Strain.  Save stock and vegetable broth.  Make roux of butter and flour.  Add stock slowly to make your sauce.  Add seasonings.  Arrange celery around chicken.  Remove sauce from heat for a few moments.  Whisk cream and eggs in.  Pour over meat and celery.  Serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley, over rice or mashed potatoes, or chill and serve next day.

Randall’s Ordinary

Oven Chicken Cordon Bleu
Tired of all our soy sauce/Worchestershire chickens we found this in the Pillsbury cookbook Mama’s folks gave me.  Very tasty, with endless possibilities (March 2005).

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (or more to taste)
4 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
4 very thin slices cooked ham (about 3/4 oz. each)
4 very thin slices Swiss cheese (about 3/4 oz. each)
1 egg white
1 tablespoon
1/3 cup corn flake crumbs
1/4 teaspoon paprika

            Heat oven to 375°F.  Spray 8” square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Place 1 chicken breast half, boned side up, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper.  Working from center, gently pound chicken with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4” thick; remove wrap.  Repeat with remaining chicken breast halves.
            Spread each chicken breast half with 1/2 teaspoon mustard, sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon chives.  Cut ham and cheese slices to fit chicken.  Top each chicken breast half with ham and cheese slice.  Roll up, tucking ends inside.
            In shallow bowl, combine egg white and water; beat slightly.  Place corn flake crumbs in shallow dish.  Coat chicken rolls with egg whit mixture; roll in crumbs.  Place in sprayed baking dish, sprinkle with paprika. 
            Bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender and juices run clear.
 Pillsbury Complete Cookbook

Creamy Italian Chicken
We loved this the first time but not the second (when we used frozen chicken)—try again (2006).

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 envelope dry Italian salad dressing mix
1/4 cup water
8 oz package cream cheese, softened
10 3/4 oz can cream of chicken soup
4 oz can mushroom stems and pieces, drained

Place chicken in slow cooker.  Combine salad dressing mix and water. Pour over chicken. Cover.  Cook on low 3 hours.  Combine cheese and soup until blended.  Stir in mushrooms.  Pour over chicken.  Cover. Cook on low 1 hour, or until chicken juices run clear.  Serve over noodles or rice.

Fix It and Forget It

Quick Chicken Divan
Another new chicken recipe from Pillsbury.

1 lb. package frozen cut broccoli
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1-10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 oz (1/2 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
            Heat oven to 350°F.  Grease 12 x 8” baking dish.  Cook broccoli as directed on package; drain.
            Arrange broccoli in greased baking dish.  Layer chicken over broccoli.  In small bowl, combine soup, mayonnaise, and lemon juice; mix well.  Spread over chicken; sprinkle with cheese.
            In small bowl, combine bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over top.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

            Pillsbury Complete Cookbook

Dill-Lemon Chicken
Another good slow cooked recipe (2006).

1 cup fat-free sour cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Combine sour cream, dill, lemon-pepper, and lemon zest.  Spoon ¼ mixture into slow cooker.  Arrange chicken breasts on top in single layer.  Pour remaining sauce over chicken.  Spread evenly.  Cover. Cook on low 3-4 hours.

Prevention Guide Slow Cooker Recipes

“Fried” Ranch Crispy Chicken
I have been looking for a good baked “fried” chicken recipe, since real fried chicken is a mess.  We tried this one first and it is amazing—just don’t bake with the skins on because it is a waste of crunchy coating.  It’s very salty but tasty.  And really good cold.  Mama now makes these in strips.

1-1oz. packet Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing Mix
¼ cup cornflake crumbs
6-8 pieces skinless chicken

            Combine dressing mix and crumbs in large plastic bag.
            Add chicken and shake to coat.
            Bake on ungreased baking pan at 375°F for 50 minutes.

Hidden Valley Ranch ad

Honey-Mustard Chicken
I like this one a lot (2006).

6 medium sweet potatoes (about 2.5 lb), peeled and
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
2-2.5 lb skinless chicken thighs and/or drumsticks (we
used 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
3/4 cup bottled honey-mustard salad dressing (we used
cheap store brand)
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Place sweet potatoes and onion in slow cooker. Place chicken pieces on vegetables.
Mix salad dressing and rosemary. Pour over chicken. Cover. Cook on low 7-9 hours.
Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken and vegetables to serving platter. Whisk cooking liquid until smooth. Spoon over chicken and vegetables.
Makes 6 servings.

Prevention Guide Slow Cooker Recipes

Jerk Chicken
From our DK cookbook, this doesn’t taste anything like jerk chicken—it isn’t even hot—but it was tasty enough to do again.  But, we used canned not fresh green chilies.

2 lb chicken, cut into pieces
chopped fresh thyme to garnish
broiled pineapple rings to serve
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoon sunflower or corn oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1-2 fresh green chilies, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of grated nutmeg
2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper

            Make the jerk paste: puree the lime juice, rum, oil, soy sauce, scallions, chilies, garlic, spices, thyme, and salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth.
            Brush the chicken pieces with the jerk paste.  Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
            Put the chicken on a hot barbecue or under the broiler, 4” from the heat.  Cook for about 10 minutes on each side, until the juices run clear.  Serve the chicken immediately, garnished with thyme and accompanied by broiled pineapple rings.

Classic Home Cooking (Dorling Kindersley)

Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Wild Rice
This amazing recipe—a crockpot dinner—was amazing!  Mama worried that there wouldn’t be much flavor, but the 8 cloves of garlic made it all tangy and tasty.  A definite do-again.  And so easy!

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup wild rice blend
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 ¼ cups water
10 fresh parsley sprigs

            Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of a slow cooker.  Add the garlic and rice.  Add the lemon juice to the water and stir.  Pour this mixture over the rice and chicken.  Stir once to coat.  Place the lid on the slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours.  To plate, place a serving of the rice on each plate and top with 1 chicken breast.  Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs.

Food TV

Lemon and Olive Chicken
After going to Bar Six with the office gang in the summer of 2003, I was having a Middle Eastern food craving.  This was just one of the recipes we tried.  It was good but very bitter so I added about 3 tablespoons of sugar to the mix.  Probably mediocre lemons.  Definitely a do-again.

8 bone-in chicken breast halves
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup green olives, pitted and halved
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

            Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat.  In two batches, sear the chicken, skin side first, until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.  Transfer the chicken to a plate.
            Cut the lemons in half lengthwise and then into thin slices crosswise.  If the skillet is dry, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.  Add the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes.  Stir in lemon slices, olives, stock, and 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
            Put the chicken on top of the vegetables, pour in any accumulated juices from the plate, and sprinkle with thyme and crushed red pepper.  Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 15 minutes.
            *You can store this chicken frozen for up to six weeks.  Cool the chicken, put each piece in its own freezer bag with some sauce, and press out the air before sealing.  When you’re ready to serve it, thaw, then put in a pan with water to coat the bottom; cover and simmer until hot.

Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food

Chicken with Orange Sauce
I had a dickens of a time relocating this recipe because I had jotted it down as Orange Bourbon Chicken like the orange chicken from Lean Cuisine, which I’ve always really liked (plus their Swedish meatballs and glazed chicken).  Turns out we had substituted Bourbon for Sherry and didn’t include the fresh parsley, I think.  Tasty.  Hope this was the right recipe (2006).

vegetable oil spray
2 1/2-3 lb. chicken, cut into serving pieces, skinned, all visible fat removed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 medium onion, sliced (1 cup)
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dry sherry (we used bourbon)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat boiler.  Lightly spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle with paprika and put on baking sheet. Broil about 6" from heat until lightly browned on all sides, 4-5 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet and top with onion slices. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.  Pour over chicken and onions. Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 55-60 minutes, or until chicken is tender.

Alternate:  Put browned chicken and onion slices in a casserole dish. Pour orange juice mixture over all and bake, covered, in aa preheated 350F oven for 55-60 minutes, or until chicken is tender.

American Heart Association

JL’s Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Alfredo
JL makes this dish a lot—even taking it over for new moms and such—and everyone raves about it.  And it is pretty good (7/07)

1 cup store-bought light alfredo sauce
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
2 chicken breast, boneless
2 cup cooked whole wheat pasta

Combine alfredo sauce and red peppers in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook til heated through.  Add grilled chicken.  Serve over pasta.
Points 6
Janine Lizotte

Baked Pesto Chicken
Pretty good and worth making again (2006).

4-6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup pesto (from a jar)
2 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1/2 cup)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 375F.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Spread 1/4 cup of the pesto in a 9 x 13" baking dish.  Lay chicken breasts over pesto in an even layer and spread remaining pesto. Cover baking dish with foil and bake chicken until cooked through, 20-25 minutes.  Uncover and top with cheese.  Bake until cheese is melted, 5 more minutes.  Serve hot.


Chicken with Sage and Orange
Another chicken recipe from our DK cookbook, this chicken was tasty and reheated well, especially in quesadillas.

6 boneless chicken breast halves, with the skin left on
1 tablespoon flour
orange sections and fresh sage to garnish
1 ¼ cups orange juice
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
½ in piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
salt and black pepper

            Make the marinade: combine the orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, sage, ginger, and season to taste.  Toss the chicken in the marinade, cover, and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
            Reserve the marinade and arrange the chicken breasts, skin up, in a large tossing pan.
            Bake the chicken in a 375°F oven for about 20 minutes.  Pour the reserved marinade over the chicken and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes, until cooked through.
            Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and arrange on a warmed platter.  Cover and keep warm.
            Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the marinade into a pitcher and reserve.  Add the flour to the marinade remaining in the roasting pan and mix to a smooth paste.
            Put the roasting pan on top of the stove, cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Gradually stir in the reserved marinade.  Bring to a boil, simmer for 2 minutes, and taste for seasoning.  Strain, pour a little of the sauce around the chicken breasts, and garnish with the orange sections and fresh sage.  Serve the remaining sauce separately.
            *We merely boiled the marinade on the stove, skipping the whole roux part, and it was just dandy.

Classic Home Cooking (Dorling Kindersley)

Salsa Chicken
This would have been better with fresh, not frozen chicken.  But the flavor is good (2006)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 lb), trimmed of fat
1 1/2 c thick prepared salsa (medium or hot; we used mild chunky Pace,
of course)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of pure ground red chili pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Coat 6 quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray and arrange chicken in it.  Pour salsa over chicken.  Cover and  cook on high until chicken is tender and cooked through, 3 to 3 1/2 hours.   The chicken will make some of its own juice, thinning out salsa a bit.

Stir in cumin, chili powder, and lime juice; cover, and cook another 15 minutes before serving.

Saltimboca, or Chicken with Prosciutto and Sage
A really delicious homemade version of one of our favorite restaurant foods.  And we used fresh sage from our own herb garden!  I think it needed more sauce, though, so maybe double the wine, etc (summer 2004).

¼ cup all purpose flour
coarse salt and ground pepper
4 fresh whole sage leaves, plus 4 minced sage leaves 4 chicken cutlets (6-8 oz. each)
4 slices (3 oz.) thinly sliced prosciutto
4 teaspoons olive oil
¾ cup dry white wine
1/3 cup reduced sodium canned chicken broth
1 tablespoon cold butter

            In a shallow bowl, stir together flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Set aside.  Lay 1 sage leaf lengthwise on each cutlet, then wrap a prosciutto slice around middle of each cutlet, encasing sage.  Flatten with the palm of your hand to help prosciutto adhere to the chicken.  Dredge cutlets in seasoned flour; tap off excess.
            In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat.  Cook 2 cutlets until golden brown and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove cutlets, and keep warm.  Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and 2 cutlets.
            Add wine and broth to skillet; cook over high heat until reduced by three-quarters, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat; let cool 1 minute.  Add butter and minced sage; stir until butter is melted, about 30 seconds.  Spoon sauce onto plates; top with cutlets.  Serve immediately.

Everyday Food

Mama Teacher’s Creamy Black Bean Salsa Chicken

2 to 4 chicken breasts
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup salsa
1 can (15 oz) corn, drained
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained
1 package taco seasoning
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Place chicken in a greased (I use liners)slow cooker. Pour broth, salsa, corn, beans, and taco seasoning over chicken. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and place on a serving dish. Stir sour cream and cheese into sauce in slow cooker, then pour over chicken. Serve with rice. Makes 3 - 5 servings.

From 101 More Things To Do With A Slow Cooker cookbook

Miss TBC's Artichoke Chicken Bake
I'm always looking for new chicken dishes, especially ones that are quick to throw together. Here is one that is easy and utilizes go-to pantry staples. You could use roasted red peppers or canned chopped tomatoes in place of sundried tomatoes. I typically serve this with a Greek salad and warm garlic bread.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut
1 can artichoke hearts, cut
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup pitted calamata olives
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
butter or olive oil
Optional: for a saucier dish add white wine or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken, artichokes, tomatoes and olives in 13x9 glass baking dish. Sprinkle salt & peppper, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese on top. Add cut up butter, or sprinkle olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until breadcrumbs are golden. Enjoy!