Community Dinner, February

French chicken dinner

These dinners really are all about me. They are the perfect excuse to try new recipes from my favorite cooking magazines, spend an afternoon sipping a nice glass of white wine and listening to NPR, wear a apron, get the house cleaned up for company, find a new mixed CD to throw on the radio, etc.

It’s the simple things, really, that make me silly with happiness. Last night I cooked two chickens using the French Chicken in a Pot recipe from Cooks Illustrated. You slow-cook a chicken in its own juices for two hours in a Dutch oven, with a bit of garlic, celery and onion. One of the birds came out looking great, while the other needed another hour before it was ready. Thankfully the guests came in shifts last night and we didn’t play musical chairs or chickens. There was more than enough to go around. I let my roommate borrow my camera yesterday, so I didn’t have it around while I was preparing. These last-minute “let me take a photo of that before you eat it!” shots leave much to be desired.

veggie dinner

I also heard from several folk that last night was the first time they’d had brussel sprouts. As the self-deemed “Veggie Fairy,” I kept passing this dish until they were gone. This recipe is simple and it got great reviews, although it can be a bit expensive if the nuts aren’t on sale.

pistachio brussel sprouts

The cauliflower steaks were the most aesthetically pleasing. From the same section of new vegetable recipes in the latest Bon Appetite, this recipe was simple enough. I added broccoli to the puree to make a great green creamy vegetable mix as a base.


Next week is potluck. My mom is coming into town to help with my fundraiser next weekend and the free time I have, I’ll be spending happily with her. So, why not invite some friends over to feed me in the meantime? See. I told you — it all seems altruistic, but really I’m quite crafty.

Low-fat dessert

Mango and strawberry Jello, anyone?

16 Replies to “Community Dinner, February”

  1. Oh the chicken looks good–I get Cook’s Illustrated too and wanted to try that (the veggies look yummy too, I love brussels sprouts).

    I made the barley in my pressure cooker (first time I used it!) and it was delish! I ate it all week and I will make more this week (my husband wants to try it if I leave out the cinnamon)

  2. Looks fantastic! I recently (like in the last couple of years) discovered how much I love brussel sprouts. It looks like you cooked them just how I like them, carmalized. I’ve got a recipe that is just carmalizing them and then cooking with some balsamic vinegar.

    (And isn’t Cooks Illustrated the best?)

  3. I am totally trying that brussel sprouts recipe (wasn’t a fan of them as a kid, but they look good here!). And, yum — I’m taking a spoon to my screen trying to eat some jell-o right now.

  4. Yum and yum. Brussel sprouts are also delicious just roasted and sprinkled liberally with salt, but your house will be smelly the next day for sure. Ooh, and if you haven’t tried roasted asparagus, that is *so* good. Come on, Spring!

  5. You are so inspiring Kelli! I have been perusing Cooks Illustrated when I go to Barnes and Noble just to see what your talking about. Oh, and my house has been cleaned by Friday every week for the last 4 now to prep for some girlfriends coming over for coffee and prayer. It has been so great to get in touch with my inner hostess again.

  6. So nice Miss Kelli – looks yummy. What issue of Cooks Illustrated is the recipe from… might need to look through Pops’ stash of the magazine so I can finally use my dutch oven. Its been sitting on my stove looking pretty since Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. You are the most awesome person! That chicken looks wonderful. I would love to cook more (I love to cook and bake), but since right now Jordan is on a Spaghettios (sp?) kick, it does me no good to make ‘real food’. Before that it was pancakes. He used to be such a wonderful eater–veggies and fruit galore, but suddenly he doesn’t like anything. Anyway…cooking for one is no fun.

    Big hugs to you. We love you.
    Rhonda (and your favorite artist Jordan)

  8. Kelli,

    Here’s another yummy, nummy brussel sprout recipe for you to try:

    2 1/2 pounds small brussel sprouts, trimmed
    1/4 cup butter (I’ve also used I can’t believe it’s not butter with good results)
    2 Tablespoons sugar
    1/2 cup chicken broth (I use bullion cubes)
    1/2 c golden raisins
    1/2 c dried cranberries

    In a med saucepan over med high heat, cook brussel sprouts for 3 minutes. Drain and refresh them in ice cold water; redrain and set aside. Melt butter in frying pan over med high heat. Add sugar, broth, and sprouts. Cook tossing regularly until sprouts are tend and broth is reduced, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in raisins and cranberries and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

    My daughter LOVES these! Hope you do too!

  9. The califlower looks fantastic. I love brussel sprouts its my favorite veggie, unfortunately I had a hard time growing them in this climate. Thanks for all of the recipes always looking for new chicken recipes.

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