Are you alone for the holidays this year? Here are several recipes for a delightful meal for one or two, for any special occasion. Feel free to add to the menu, or make fewer items.
Note: I insist on using a gas stove whenever possible, for better control of the heat. The models with pilot lights are particularly nice for keeping things warm in the oven after you turn off the heat. If you don’t have a gas stove, use lids to keep each dish warm as you prepare the feast.
Maple Glazed Roast Chicken Recipe
1 3-4 lb. chicken
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 lime, sliced thin
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tart apples (I used Pink Lady), cored and sliced
1) Remove tail and wing tips from the bird, using a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Put these scraps into a medium pot and add about 1 qt. water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer while you prepare the rest of the meal. When ready to use, turn off the heat and strain out the wing tips and tail.
2) Place the chicken, breast-side up, in a roasting pan or baking dish. Using your fingers, separate the skin from the breast meat and leg meat. Insert one lime slice under the skin on each leg, and the rest of the slices under the skin over the breast.
3) Stuff a few onion pieces and apple slices into the large cavity of the bird, then place the rest of the onion and apple in the pan around the bird. Add about 1 inch of water to the pan.
4) Pour maple syrup over the bird. Bake the chicken at 375º F for about 1 hour, or until just cooked through. Turn off the oven.
5) Remove the bird to a serving plate, scoop the apple and onion pieces onto the plate, and return the plate to the oven (be sure it’s off!) to rest while you finish the meal. Pour the pan juices into a skillet for the gravy (recipe follows).
Perfect Gravy Recipe
Note: For obvious reasons, you’ll make the gravy last, so that everything is hot when you serve it.
Pan juices from the chicken
2 Tbsp. softened butter
2-3 Tbsp. flour, white or whole wheat pastry
salt and pepper to taste
1) Heat the pan juices in the skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, blend the soft butter with the flour in a small bowl. Blend the roux into the gravy with a wire whisk. Thin the gravy with the chicken stock. Season to taste. Keep warm.
Baked Cranberry Sauce Recipe
1 bag (1 lb.) fresh cranberries
½ cup Agave syrup
½ a fresh grapefruit
1) Rinse the cranberries in a strainer, picking out any that are spoiled.
Put the cranberries into a baking dish or glass loaf pan.
2) Pour Agave over the top. Using a small, serrated knife, cut out the segments from the grapefruit, as if to eat it. Put the segments into the baking dish and stir well.
3) Bake the cranberries with the chicken; they should be soft in about 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips Recipe
2 large yellow potatoes
2-3 small parsnips
ground nutmeg, cardamom, and garlic salt to taste
2 Tbsp. butter
¼ to 1/3 cup milk: dairy, soy, or almond (can use cream instead)
1) Wash but do not peel the potatoes. Cut them into ¼ to ½ “ cubes. Place potatoes in a pot with about 2” of water.
2) Peel the parsnips and cut a thin slice off either end. Cut into ½ “ slices, and place in a separate pot with about 2” of water. Don't be put off by the odor when the parsnips cook: they really do taste good and are very sweet!
3) When the chicken is about half-way cooked, boil the potatoes and parsnips until tender. Drain. Combine veggies into one pot.
4) Drop the butter into the pan of veggies, and mash until mostly smooth. Add enough milk or cream to create the creamy texture you prefer. Add spices to taste. Set aside on top of the stove to keep warm.
Pulling it all together:
Timing is everything when making a delicious meal that is hot when you serve it! If you’ve been making everything in order, it should all be hot when you’re ready to eat. That way nothing will dry out during re-heating.
You can add a nice green salad or cooked greens to balance your meal. Be sure to save room for some of your favorite pie!