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Cranberry Chicken

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Before I get to today’s post, I want to do a quick update for The Postcard Project.  People have started signing up but I want to encourage everyone that is participating to add your name to the list. Many have told me they are sending mail but aren’t on the list yet.  The list is where I’ll be drawing from for the prizes!  Oh, did I forget to mention there are prizes at stake?  My blue ribbon chocolate chip cookies, to be exact!  I’ll be drawing at random from those signed up each Friday this month (winners will be announced each Saturday), then at the end of the month I’ll award a batch to the person who sent the most mail.  So you have a chance to win whether you’re sending 1 letter or 100!  Every letter makes a difference, especially to the person who receives it.  This project will never take over the focus of my blog, but I do intend for it to be ongoing.  I’ve already started on my own goal and it has been so fun writing to people I rarely correspond with.  I can’t wait to share some of the funny cards I got with you guys.  In the meantime, I give you Cranberry Chicken! :)

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Pinterest.  Have you heard of it?  Bloggers have been annoying me with their urgings to get on there for months and I fought it hard, not wanting yet another reason for internet addiction in my life.  Even when I was getting 15,000 views a day on my blog (which is not the norm, I can tell you) because of people “pinning” my cupcake bites on Pinterest, I did not sign up.  I was steadfast and strong in my resolve.  But then a personal friend sent me an invitation to join, telling me I “had to do it” and I guess she was right because I did it, despite myself.  It was almost like some evil force in the universe overcame me and made me forget all my reasons for not wanting to.  An evil force named Tracy.  Oh yeah, girlfriend, I just called you out! :)

So, what does this have to do with cranberry chicken, you might ask?  Well, if it weren’t for Pinterest, I would never have made this cranberry chicken!  I bookmarked it ages ago and forgot about it because I never go back to look at things I’ve bookmarked.  But when I signed up with Pinterest, I decided to use it instead of bookmarking things and I transferred all my favorites into boards on Pinterest.  This chicken was one of the first things I transferred and I could barely remember marking it.  And I made it the same week!

I don’t know if this is how everyone uses Pinterest, but I “pin” things, mostly recipes, that I want to try in the future and it is so much more useful to me than bookmarks.  I can categorize things and then I see a visual picture to remind me of what I wanted to do and when I click the picture, it brings me to the web page I got it from.  It’s very handy, but it is also addicting because I can spend an hour looking at everyone else’s pins and repinning them to my own boards for future reference.  Handy and evil!

OK, so let’s talk chicken.  This recipe is another super-simple one with just a few ingredients and fantastic flavor.  It doesn’t have an overwhelming cranberry flavor, in fact the only cranberry taste comes from the whole cranberries themselves because the sauce has onion and Catalina dressing in it to make a flavor all of its own.  It’s a little sweet, a little tangy, and a lot delicious.  Dennis and I both give it two thumbs up!

Cranberry Chicken

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (8 oz) bottle Catalina or French Dressing
1 (1 oz) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 (15 oz) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken pieces (breast halves and/or thighs)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a large casserole dish with oil and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the dressing, soup mix, and cranberry sauce and whisk together until blended. Pour enough of the sauce in the dish to make a thin layer, then place the chicken in a single layer on top. Pour the remaining sauce over the top, making sure all the chicken is well-coated. Bake, uncovered, for 1- 1 1/2 hours.  Serve over rice, ladling extra sauce over the top.

Recipe source: Very Culinary

Basic Crockpot Beef Roast


OK, I just want to warn you that this recipe includes two of the Midwestern housewife’s pantry staples that most foodies seem to abhor: cream of ___ soup and dry onion soup mix.  So if you are against such things, go ahead and just close this now before I get you too riled up.  Because I’m going to use them, and I’m not going to apologize for it.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way!  This is yet another homestyle meal that Teri taught me to make, and it’s so simple and easy!  You may be scratching your head, wondering why I’m bothering sharing this recipe with you, because you’ve been making something similar since you lost your first tooth, but I’m hoping there are others out there who never learned how to make a delicious and tender roast.  This is for you!  And for those who know how to make a delicious and tender, yet complicated roast, and need a backup recipe for busy days.

Growing up, my mother never made a single pot roast.  Which is weird, because it’s something her own mother made almost every time we visited.  You how you grow up watching your Mother and thinking, “I’m never going to do that when I grow up?”  Well, I think my Mom did that with her mother’s cooking.  Because Grandma was all about the homestyle cookin’ and Mom was all about the weird healthy food.  Bowls of lentils.  Fish stew.  Salad sprinkled with Spike in lieu of dressing, which was forbidden.  Some of her food was delicious, like her chicken chili, but most of it I couldn’t tolerate, and that was probably the only reason I was thin as a child. I refused to eat most everything she served us for dinner.  I think the school lunch program saved me from starvation.  It’s so sad, because if I ate all those foods now, I know I’d love them.  The stubborn ignorance of childhood!

Wow.  Talk about getting off-subject.  Let’s get back to the roast, shall we?  As with anything cooked in a crockpot, the meat is rendered extremely tender during the slow-cooking process and the broth from the roast combines with the soup to make a nice gravy to coat everything.  Teri recommends serving the roast with fresh bread and I chose to make rolls out of my favorite honey oatmeal bread, but would have gone with my favorite rolls of all time if I’d had milk.  Any fresh bread will do the trick, though–you just need something to sop up the gravy! :)

Basic Crockpot Beef Roast

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (3-5 lb) roast (Teri recommends one with fat marbled throughout for moisture)
Meat seasoning/butt rubb/seasoned salt to taste
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of golden mushroom soup
1 (1 oz) envelope dry onion soup mix
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 lb bag baby carrots
8+ stalks of celery, trimmed and cut into thirds

Sprinkle meat with seasoning of choice and sear in a non-stick skillet over high heat on all sides. Meanwhile, place vegetables in bottom of crockpot. Once meat is seared, place on top of the vegetables. Spoon the soup over the top over the meat and veggies, then sprinkle the soup mix over that. Cover and set on low all day (about 8 hours).

Check it out yo! Remember the Fairy Hobmother who gave me a $50 gift card to buy a blender? Well, I decided I needed a new crockpot much worse than a new blender (my old one didn’t even have a knob and took two days to cook anything), and this roast was the first thing I made in it. I got the Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-quart Programmable Slow Cooker.  I’m in love!  You can program it by setting it for a certain amount of time, or you can stick the thermometer probe through the top into the meat and program it to turn off once the meat comes to the right temperature, or you can put in on manual mode and just let it heat/warm until you turn it off.  It even has a snap-tight lid, making it perfect for mess-free travelling, which would have come in handy when Teri put one of the roasts we made in her trunk and it fell over during transit onto her brand new Bible! She says she now has an official “preacher’s wife” Bible because it’s stained with pot roast juice. haha!

Did the Fairy Hobmother visit any of you guys? Do tell what you got!

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