Saturday’s 6th Annual Treasures of a Mother’s Heart retreat was a wonderful day that held all the good things that give homeschooling moms a boost and encourage them as they teach their children. Besides the endless chocolate, terrific fellowship, free-flowing Scripture, and inspirational messages, the chef at the Lariat Club Steakhouse in Peoria served up the most delicious of Christmas dinners to accompany our theme of God’s Gifts to Homeschooling Moms. (It seems like each year the food is even better than the year before!) Since yesterday was a cozy, rainy day at my house that called for comfort food and I had thawed chicken breasts, I decided to attempt a version of the chef’s recipe and it was delicious. (Chef Lariat had pounded the chicken breasts flat and stuffed them but I opted for the casserole plan so I could use my kitchen time to make banana bread, too.) My husband was still raving about this meal as he left the house this morning with leftovers in his lunch pail.
Chicken and Cranberry Stuffing
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pound package Pepperidge Farms seasoned stuffing mix
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
2 TBS. minced garlic (most important ingredient)
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1 stick butter
1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken broth made from scratch, canned soup base, or bouillon
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
In pan, melt butter over low heat and saute vegetables and garlic until tender. Toss with stuffing mix in large bowl. Pour broth over bread until the stuffing is completely soaked, even wet. (This is truly the secret to all great stuffing. My grandma’s perfect bread stuffing always looked like soup before it was baked.) Add almonds and craisins. Rinse and pat dry chicken and place in 13 X 9 pan. Spread dressing mixture to edges of pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Farm Journal Banana Bread
3 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 TBS. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
3/4 cup shortening (I use vegetable oil)
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk (substitute evaporated milk for even creamier and richer flavor)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mash bananas. Mix together all ingredients, alternating between dry and wet, and mix with electric mixer. Pour into two loaf pans that have been sprayed with vegetable spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Cover with foil if the tops begin to brown too quickly, which can happen in some ovens. Allow to cool completely and wrap in foil or bags. Store in fridge; this recipe also freezes well. I always love pulling out this tried and true recipe because it is in my old Farm Journal Bread cookbook where my daughter, Mollie, who was about 10 at the time, used the inside back cover to add the fractions when she was making multiple loaves of something or other!