Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Cook-In

Happy Memorial Day!

Today, Bryce and I flew back to Hawaii after spending some time in California.  He went for 2 weeks and I went for a 4-day weekend.  On Saturday, Bryce was the best man to his cousin Bryn during his wedding to his lovely bride Melany!  Needless to say, we ate and drank like Kings and Queens all weekend long.  (Post on wedding cakes coming soon!)

When we got home the first of the avocados had fallen from the tree in our yard!  Other than those, there wasn't much to eat.  We decided to have a Memorial Day Cook-In and just relax at home.

Our menu included Spinach, Avocado, and Orange Salad and Maryland Fried Chicken with Creamy Gravy, both from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, plus some homemade mashed potatoes.

Spinach, Avocado, and Orange Salad

6 ounces fresh baby spinach
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, and sliced
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey

Place spinach in a large bowl or serving planner.  Arrange raspberries, orange, and avocado on spinach.

For dressing, combine vinegar, oil, Dijon mustard, and honey.  Mix well.  Instead of shaking the dressing in a screw-top jar as suggested, I used my Pampered Chef salad dressing mixer!  Pour over the spinach mixture.

This salad was so easy to make and is so, so beautiful!  It sure beats a regular lettuce and veggies salad.  The dressing was really refreshing and we want to try it on a regular salad!

Before the dressing.

With dressing.

Such beautiful colors and varied textures, it deserves a close up!

Maryland Fried Chicken with Creamy Gravy

I'm posting the recipe although I didn't make it, Bryce did!

1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup finely crushed saltine crackers (28 crackers)
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2.5 pounds chicken thighs
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup milk
1 recipe Creamy Gravy

In a small bowl combine the egg and the 3 tablespoons milk.  In another bowl combine crushed crackers, thyme, paprika, and pepper.  Dip chicken pieces, one at a time, in egg mixture; roll in cracker mixture.

Here's Bryce, hard at work!

In a large skillet brown chicken in hot oil over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally.

Add 1 cup milk to skillet.  Heat just to boiling.  Reduce heat to medium low; partially coved skillet.  Cook for 35 minutes.  Uncover; cook about 10 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink.

Remove chicken, cover, and keep warm.

Make Creamy Gravy:

Combine 3/4 cup milk, 3 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt,  and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in a container with lid; cover and shake until well combined.  Add to skillet with drippings from chicken.  Stir in an additional 1 cup milk.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for one minute more.

The chicken was very tender and juicy and the coating was just right!  The creamy dressing was delicious and the mashed potatoes made a perfect side.  

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