Today has been a day full of roasting and pureeing pumpkins for the freezer. I freeze the puree into two cup portions, chill them in the fridge, then freeze them for the next year. I make soups, muffins, pies, smoothies, sauces, and now pancakes with the spoils of cooking all our fall decorations. Between now and the Nativity fast, I will be processing the rest of the squashes that have been decorating my house for the last month. I even got a great deal on some hail damaged butternut squash from a nearby chemical free farmer. Buster has requested that we try butternut pancakes, and I think it’s a great idea.
I am also on the lookout these next few weeks for a couple of well priced turkeys for the freezer. I cook one and shred it for quick meals after Christmas. The other goes straight into the freezer and waits until the first round is cooked. “Why so much turkey”” you ask. I like variety and this time of the year is the best time to get well priced turkey. My mom and sister are also both allergic to chicken and beef. This method of stocking up allows me to cost effectively cook for them. Other cuts of turkey any other time of they year are out of my price range.
Tonight’s dinner is a favorite around here. It is fast and easy, but and is made with things around the house instead of a bottled marinade. It is based off a meal we were served once at a friend’s house. My very talented friend Anita, is also a wonderful cook. Anita grilled these on skewers, but I’ve modified the recipe for the oven. I change up the sides based on what is in the house, but oven roasted potatoes are always on the side. It’s the green stuff that varies. Normally I don’t make quite so many sides, but I had a little of a lot of different things and hungry tummies to fill.
Today I served the chicken over sauteed purple and white cabbage. That cabbage was left over from last week’s spring rolls and the borscht I made yesterday. I’m still working on the borscht post, so you haven’t missed anything. Then I sauteed up the long beans from last week’s CSA with a little onion in the same hot pan.
This week from Bountiful Baskets, we got lots of fennel and some pears, so I tried a fennel salad for the first time. That fennel salad outshone the chicken! Every kid ate it quickly, and the pickiest of them said, “It was mostly good.”
Tomorrow I promise to post what we always prepare with the rest of the package bacon. This dinner is always prepared when the next morning is not a fast day. The kids are always excited when we have this meal, because they know what is coming for breakfast.
Honey-Mustard Chicken Tenders
1.25-1.5 lbs chicken tenders
1/3 pkg of bacon strips cut in half, 1/2 slice per chicken tender (optional)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Mine is usually already cooking the oven fries at this temperature, so it’s ready to go.
In a large (9X13) glass baking pan or casserole dish, whisk the dijon and honey with the spices and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Place the chicken tenders in a single layer in the pan. Evenly coat both sides in the honey mustard.
Put a half strip of bacon on each chicken tender if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked throughout and still juicy. Serve with a generous slathering of the honey-mustard drippings. Sometimes when I’ve only got lettuce for a salad I drizzle the cooled drippings as dressing.
1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (everything, bulb, stalks, and fronds)
3 stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced
3 pears, diced
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp golden balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1/4-1/2 tsp salt, to taste
Toss everything together in a large bowl. Enjoy!