Fall Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

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Although Cornish game hens seem made for company, they are a favorite weeknight dinner for our family.  They practically cook themselves and fill the house with tantalizing aroma. Thanksgiving has come and gone in Canada and is still a month away in the US, but these little hens had all the flavors of Thanksgiving packed into each one.  Stuffed with a whole grain rice mix studded with pecans, cranberries, orange and pomegranate, they were simply delicious!  I used a Uncle Ben’s Ready Whole Grain Medley with quinoa, brown rice and garlic, straight out of the package, uncooked.  This type of rice is precooked. Any combination of rice/grains can be substituted but it should be almost fully cooked before stuffing.  Served with a side of butternut squash, it was sublime!

Fall Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

  • 4 Cornish Game Hens, patted dry inside and out with paper towels
  • salt and pepper
  • Poultry seasoning mix(I used a Montreal chicken spice mix)
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 8.5-once package of Uncle Ben’s Ready Whole Grain Medley with quinoa, garlic and brown rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup of pecans, chopped
  • Arils from half of a pomegranate(about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 orange, peeled, seeds removed and diced in chunks(I used a tangerine)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Salt and pepper the inside cavity of the hens.
  3. Combine the grain medley with the cranberries, red onion, pecans, orange and pomegranate arils.  Fill each bird cavity with the stuffing.  Tie each bird with kitchen twine or a skewer to prevent the stuffing from falling out during roasting. Dab the butter between each wing and breast and a bit more above the stuffing where the legs are trussed.
  4. Place the hens evenly spaced on a shallow baking sheet. Sprinkle each bird with some of the poultry seasoning.
  5. Bake at 450 F for 45 minutes.
  6. Serve with a side of fall vegetables such a butternut squash and/or brussel sprouts.

There’s a lot of optimism in changing scenery, in seeing what’s down the road.” Conor Oberst. Photo credit MZ

Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad with Pomegranate, Apple and Walnuts

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After all the Thanksgiving feasting and left over creations, you might be craving something light and healthy by now.  This salad, inspired by Philadelphia’s famous  Israeli restaurant Zahav, a personal favorite, is a modern take on tabbouleh.  It would be great on its own or with some added shredded left-over turkey or chicken or as a side to grilled fish.  Full of fall flavors and crunch, it introduces a surprise burst of flavor from quick pickled onions seasoned with the Middle Eastern spice, ground sumac.  Don’t have sumac, just add a squeeze more of lemon juice. Continue reading

Mahi-Mahi with Blood Orange-Pomegranate Salsa

With the thermometer still flirting with below freezing temperatures, I was longing to be transported to warmer climes even if it was just in the kitchen.  Colder weather brings the best citrus selection and the offerings at the supermarket were my inspiration for this dinner.  Citrus fruit add brightness to recipes and provide a  big dose of vitamin C in our diet at a time of year when we really need it.  Pomegranates boosts the antioxidant power of this healthy dish.  To create the salsa I chose a combination of blood oranges, Honeybells, pomegranate, lime and jalapeno for their rich jewel colors.  imageYou can substitute whatever citrus fruit you prefer or have available.  Wake up your taste buds and take them out of hibernation with this invigorating dish. Plus you’ll feel like you are actually sticking to your resolutions of eating healthier just as your resolve is weakening!  A win-win.

MAHI-MAHI WITH BLOOD ORANGE-POMEGRANATE SALSA

4 4-oz wild caught, center cut Mahi-Mahi fillets(Costco), thawed if frozen, seasoned with salt and fresh ground pepper, to tasteimage

1 blood orange

1 Honeybell orange

2 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced

1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded, membranes removed, diced finely

zest and juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped coarsely

seeds of 1/2 pomegranate, about 1/2 cup

To make salsa:  using a sharp knife, peel oranges and remove all the bitter white pith.  Working over a small bowl, cut between membranes to release the fruit segments, catching the juice.  Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Combine all remaining ingredients and mix gently.  Salsa can be made up to a day ahead but it is best served fresh.

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While flavors of the salsa meld, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter  in a frying pan.   Sauté 2 fillets of fish at a time, turning once, about 3 minutes per side, until fish is opaque.  If your BBQ grilll is not buried in a foot of snow as ours is, or if you can sweet talk someone into grilling in the snow, you can grill the fish instead.

Transfer to a serving plate.  Spoon salsa over fish.  Serve with a side of vegetables and a starch.  We served steamed broccoli with a side of brown rice and quinoa.   Add a wedge of lime on the side.

A fast and healthy dinner to transport you to the tropics in the heart of winter.   A feast for the eyes too!

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