The holidays are going to be very different this year for a lot of people, thanks to COVID-19. George and I have decided it will be just us and Linn-Linn the kitten celebrating here. I still want to put up decorations and make nice meals, though; it will help me feel more festive. I’ve been thinking about simple menu ideas and we’ll likely be having an Italian-themed Thanksgiving dinner with Great Aunt Martha’s lasagna recipe; for Christmas, perhaps chicken cordon bleu with bearnaise sauce, wild rice and vegetables. (We like turkey; we just like other things better.)

If your household is like ours and you want to celebrate the holidays with tasty food, but on a smaller scale, this year, here are some cooking ideas for you.

Steamed broccoli: Get the water boiling before you turn down the heat, put the steamer dish loaded with the vegetables in the pan, and cover. Remove broccoli from the pan while still crisp and deep green in color, not more than 5 or 6 minutes.

Roasted chicken: This is the best way I’ve found so far to bake consistently flavorful and juicy whole chicken. (It might work well with other birds; I haven’t tried.) The night before you cook, or several hours in advance, rinse out and dry the bird. Loosen the skin as much as you can without tearing it. (If it does tear, no big deal.)

-In a small bowl, mix about 1/3 C olive oil (depending on size of the bird) with seasonings of your choice such as: salt, pepper, seasoned salt, unflavored meat tenderizer, garlic powder, tarragon, sage, poultry seasoning, thyme, basil, oregano. Also have your favorite paprika nearby. Mix together well; the mixture should be fairly thick.

-Start with the chicken breast-side up and generously brush the oil/seasoning mixture under and over the skin. Sprinkle generously with paprika and brush more to distribute. Then put the chicken breast-side down in the roasting pan and repeat the process on the back and sides of the bird. Stuff the cavity with large pieces of chopped celery and lemon. Fresh tarragon leaves are good too. Keep in the frig to marinate for several hours and bring to room temperature at least one hour before roasting in the oven, covered, at 350 for about an hour. Let sit before carving and serving.

Baked mashed potatoes: If you love mashed potatoes and gravy, but want a make-ahead dish, this is it. Boil and drain your potatoes (I keep the skins on.) Mash potatoes with dairy ingredients you have on hand (no milk, maybe a hint of cream) such as butter, sour cream, grated cheese, cream cheese and seasonings such as parsley, dill weed, garlic powder, chives, salt, pepper, seasoned salt. Spread into a pan and bake until warmed through and lightly browned on top – about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the temperature of your oven.

And, here’s a great crock pot stuffing recipe I previously posted:

Remember to sing while you’re in the kitchen!

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,


Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)