Comfort Food

Comfort Food

Chinese New Year - Just a Month Away!

We love to celebrate Chinese New Year and this year the date is February 3rd. Sometimes, we combine our Chinese New Year celeberation with part of our Valentine celebrations ... because of the beautiful story describing the Blue Willow china pattern. If you don't know that story, visit this site to read the romantic fable!

Here's a post from a girlfriends luncheon I had last year ... celebrating both events ... using my Blue Willow.  Then, the pictures and recipes became a part of my "Made at Home" newspaper cooking column.  I've shared the recipes for the beautiful composed salad and the yummy dessert! Enjoy!

Honey Walnut Chicken Salad

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 ½ cups walnut pieces
One red bell pepper, sliced
2 cups pineapple chunks
1 cup sesame sticks
Salad greens
1 can cream of coconut
2 cups pineapple juice
Honey Pineapple Coconut Salad Dressing

To make six main course salads, sauté the chicken thighs in 2 tablespoons canola oil for four minutes on each side. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with pineapple juice. Bake them at 350 degrees for thirty minutes. Chill overnight, in the juice.

Glaze the walnuts by sautéing them in 2 tablespoons of the cream of coconut. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of onion powder and ½ teaspoon of chipotle powder. Transfer to a tray lined with waxed paper and let them cool.

Make the salad dressing by combining 1 cup of mayonnaise with ½ cup of pineapple juice, ¼ cup of Southern Illinois honey, ¼ cup of cream of coconut and a dash of rice vinegar.

Compose the salad by topping the greens with sliced chicken, red peppers, walnuts, pineapple and sesame sticks. Top with the dressing.

I patterned this salad after a favorite Chinese dish ... Honey Walnut Chicken ... and, of course, you don't have to use Southern Illinois honey!  

Almond Gooey Cake
A bite of this easy cake is just like a bite of a Chinese almond cookie, topped with cheesecake! Make the crust by blending one yellow cake mix (dry) with one stick of room temperature butter and one egg. Press the crust into the bottom of a prepared 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Make the topping by blending together 8 ounces of room temperature cream cheese, 2 eggs, 1 box of confectioner’s sugar and 1 ½ teaspoon of almond extract. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving with fresh berries and whipped cream.  For valentines day, cut the pieces with a heart shaped cookie cutter!

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