Filling in the Dinner Calendar

If you didn’t see the Advent Dinner Calendar for this year, check it out. Hopefully it will bring a little less stress to your holidays. If you noticed some unlinked dishes, never fear…the recipes will fill in before you need them. Here are a couple of my fall favorites!

Pork Chops with Apples, Caramelized Onions & Thyme
4 bone-in thick cut pork chops
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 large gala apple, diced
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
¼ cup low-sodium chicken stock
To Make:
Season pork chops liberally with salt and pepper. Sear the pork chops in a thick bottomed pan, and remove to a plate. Place oil in pan. Add in the onion, apples, and thyme. Cook over medium heat until onion is caramelized. Add back in pork chops. Pour in chicken stock and cover; simmer until pork chops are cooked through.
Another variation: toss in a handful or dried cranberries and serve over mashed potatoes


Chicken Broccoli Casserole
This is my version of a casserole we recently tried from Get off Your Butt and Bake – she has a lovely blog.
1 pound (large crown) broccoli, trimmed into pieces
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced (roasted at 375 until done or rotisserie)
2 cups cooked rice
8 oz bar grated sharp cheddar cheese (reserve half for sauce)
2 tubes butter crackers (comes out to approx 1 cup smashed)
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ cup melted butter (for topping)
¼ cup EVOO, plus 1 teaspoon to sprinkle on broccoli
4 oz can green chilies
1/3 cup butter (for sauce)
½ – 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons flour
Salt & pepper to taste
To Make:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Scatter broccoli in a greased 13X9 casserole dish, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon EVOO, salt and pepper, toss to coat, and roast for 15-20 minutes. While broccoli roasts, combine melted butter, smashed butter crackers, and parmesan cheese in a small bowl; set aside.
Remove broccoli to plate to cool and lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together shredded/diced chicken, cooled broccoli, and rice; set aside. In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt 1/3 cup butter. Add in flour to make a roux and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, chilies, and milk. Stir over medium heat until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add in half the cheese, continue stirring to melt cheese, and season to taste.
In the casserole dish, layer broccoli/chicken/rice mixture with sauce. Top with the remaining shredded cheese. On the top, sprinkle the butter cracker topping.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbling and the top is golden brown.

Chicken Marsala Recipe
I cannot sing enough praises about this dish. It may be one of my favorite things I’ve ever made.
Source: Savory Sweet Life w/ my own modifications – “An easy but elegant chicken dish!”
Serves: 4
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour or corn starch for gluten-free
Salt & pepper and herb de Provence to season flour
up to 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil + 2T butter to sauté chicken
1/4 sweet onion or shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces container of mushroom, sliced and cleaned ( baby Bella)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons heavy cream (nylon spoonful)
4 tablespoons butter
Sprinkle 1/8-1/4 cup cheap powdered Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
Garnish with chopped parsley or oregano
Italian blend cheese
1 head garlic, roasted in foil w/ EVOO for an hour on 375

Roast 1 head garlic
Split each chicken breast through the middle to make 2 pieces. Place plastic wrap over them and pound each one flat using a meat tenderizer/mallet until they are about a quarter inch thick. Season a good amount of salt and pepper on both sides of each piece. Place seasoned flour on a plate and and dredge each piece of chicken in it.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat and when the oil is hot fry each piece of chicken for 5 minutes on each side until they are golden brown (this may require you to do this in 2 batches).
Remove chicken from pan and arrange in a single layer in shallow ovenproof pan carefully soak up any remaining oil with paper towels and discard.. Put in low oven (275-300 degrees) to stay warm.
In same pan:
Add 2 tablespoons butter onion and garlic to skillet and saute (do not brown) for a few minutes until soft. Add mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes making sure to season them with salt and pepper lightly. Add marsala wine & chicken stock about halfway through. Use slotted spoon to lift mushrooms out of skillet and arrange on top of chicken breasts. Sprinkle with cheese and put back in oven until you finish next step.
Add cream & parmesan w/ 4 T butter allowing the liquid to boil rapidly until reduced by half. Remove chicken from oven and pour wine mixture over the chicken and serve.

Served with rosemary mashed potatoes. 4-6 russets, 1/4c cream, 1/4c butter, 1/4c whole milk. Steep with 1 sprig rosemary. When drain potatoes-add cream mixture and 1 sprig minced rosemary.


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