Sunday Dinner at Grandma’s?

Do you remember the cozy, Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house? Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole and maybe a pie for dessert? Yeah . . . well neither do I. (If you do remember those–I envy you!)  These were times when families gathered and shared their past week’s trials and triumphs, hugged and giggled, shared family memories.  You know, what I like to think of as scrapbook moments.

Could be the fact my grandparents lived in northern Michigan and I was with my parents all over the country–no not military but oil field, my father was a petroleum engineer. We did move almost every 18 months, though.  Seeing my grandparents was a special time during the summer vacations we took.  There were moments when we as a family would enjoy a meal together but not like at grandma’s–those were special times.

But my point is I think as a whole new generation we’ve gotten away from the sit down family meals with our hectic lifestyles. Let’s face it, it’s not easy, even on weekends to find the time and focus on making such a meal. But believe it or not, I did it a few weekends ago.   Along with struggling with a deadline, critiques and judging a contest, I managed a simple chicken dinner for my family (No, I’m not a grandmother–not until I’m at least fifty. Do you hear that girls? Momma still has eight years to go.).

So I wanted to share a simple, easy, inexpensive recipe with you for those days when you want to try your hand at a Sunday dinner at home. I purchase chicken legs and thighs in bulk family packages and separate them into family portions to freeze. They are fairly inexpensive pieces so I try to always have them on hand. Here is the recipe. (Oh and it’s healthier than fried, too. It’s baked!)

 Mermaid Loni’s Oven-Fried Drumsticks

serves 5-6

1/2 cup vegetable oil   1 cup baking mix (Bisquick® or Jiffy Mix®) –2 tablespoons paprika– 3 teaspoons Creole seasoning–

1 teaspoon garlic powder–  1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning– 1/4 teaspoon black pepper–  10-12 chicken legs

  • Preheat oven to 450°. Pour the vegetable oil into bottom of 15×10/or 15×11 inch baking pan.
  • Mix thoroughly– the baking mix, paprika, Creole seasoning, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and pepper together in a bowl.  Pour into a paper bag.
  • Add the drumsticks a few at a time, shake to coat well.  Arrange in the baking dish.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, turn over with tongs and bake another 15 minutes (30 minutes total) or until juices run clear when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.  Arrange on a serving plate and serve immediately.

Now while the chicken was baking I prepared a few remaining potatoes I had and realized it wasn’t enough for mashed potatoes.  I keep staples of instant mashed potatoes on hand to thicken gravies at times.  I made up a few servings of these and added them along with a touch of chicken broth to make mashed potatoes (I like mine just mashed–still lumpy but you can whip them if you prefer.)  For the green beans, I realized I didn’t have the french fried onions to top it with so instead  I used corn flake crumbs at the last five minutes.  It works in a pinch.  For dessert we had apple crisp as we sat outside around our fire pit that night, catching up on the week past and the week coming up.

It was a great night and a fantastic dinner (if I do say so myself). Just being together around the table, enjoying a fall camp fire in our back yard (love the smell of wood smoke that clings to your clothes afterwards).  You do with what you have–and make your own traditions.   In these times, when time is so special it’s difficult to have those sit down family moments.

I would love to hear what you do to make family time special at your house.

20 thoughts on “Sunday Dinner at Grandma’s?

  1. You are so right, those sit down dinners are special and create lasting memories. Thank you for sharing that wonderful recipe, I’ll have to give it a try.
    Things at my house seem to be busy all the time with two teenagers at home, both involved in everything under the sun. It may not be anything fancy, sometimes just a salad and bread, and it’s rarely at the same time twice, but I try to have a sit down meal together every night where we play high/low. You go around the table and everyone shares the high point of their day and the low point of their day and why. It is entertaining and can be insightful, especially with teenagers who excel at the one or two word answers.

  2. Oh yeah! I hear you Dana. I have two teenage daughters who are off the wall, though (movie /youtube quotes/funny antics) but get them to talk about their classes that day (one in h.s. the other at our local college) and you might as well be talking to the wall. I like your game though of high/low. Good one! Thanks for commenting today. Enjoy the recipe, too.


  3. Loni, Yum! That sounds so good. Just in time for lunch, too. I’ve got little ones, so they have no choice but to sit down to a family dinner, LOL. But one thing we started doing is buying sparkling apple cider and plastic champagne glasses, so that when the adults drink champagne, the kids can have a special drink and participate in the celebration, too. They LOVE it.

  4. Loni-Mermaid – that recipe sounds so yummy! Thanks for sharing – I’ll have to try it soon. I still remember Sunday dinners at my Nunnie’s house. She always made a chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream. Yummmmmmmmm!

  5. Loni,
    It’s so funny that you mention how you love the smell of the smoke as it clings to your clothes! I’m the exact opposite. We have a fire pit outside, and I’m constantly stripping my kids down in the screened-in porch and making them go get showers. I hate that smell! And it never fails that someone climbs into my bed (on MY side) and puts their smoke-smelling hair DIRECTLY on my pillow! Can you tell that bothers me? LOL.
    Our family usually eats together at the same table for meals. It’s not always pleasant–rarely is–but it’s something I insist on because I didn’t have that growing up. My kids generally argue about something ridiculous that causes me to wonder why I insist on this sit-down ritual. 🙂 We usually ask hypothetical questions or tell jokes. Sometimes we talk about friends, school or upcoming events. Mostly we argue about who kicks the chair under the table or who had more lemonade than someone else. Like I said, not always pleasant. But with kids 5,6,8,10 and 11, “debates” always happen.
    Once a week, we bake two whole chickens in a roaster with potatoes, carrots, onions, celery. It’s super easy and once the initial work is done, it makes the house smell so good. Not like smoke-smelling clothes. 🙂

    1. Kim,
      Sorry. I guess it’s just a me thing. I like innscense, too. Wood smoke reminds me of my “Great” Grand-folks house up in nothern Michigan. They used wood burning stoves in the kitchen (one of the antique ones).

      Wow! I didn’t know you had such a group–Bless you and your table! How do you find time for everything? I do agree with how good a roasted chicken smells. I miss my DH’s grandmother making one occasionally. She was more of a ham person though.

      Hugs 🙂

  6. Loni – I love recipes! Going to try this one.

    I remember huge family dinners at my Grandparents and they have special memories for me. I try to give my kids the love and belonging that I had but it is a different world for them. They aren’t growing up with their cousins on the same street and Grandparents right next door, like I did. I hope they feel the love even thought the crowd is smaller.

    For me, I get the feeling back when I pull out my granny;s old Corning ware dutch oven and cook with it. The memories that old piece of glass holds for me are too may to count.

    1. Yes, those old memories are special. There is something to be said for using the old ways. I was given a cast iron skillet that belonged to my hubby’s grandma Doe. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas I have to make her traditional “Doe-bees” (fried hot roll mix dumplings) in that skillet. It’s an honor. It makes me miss her. She was a heck of a lady.
      Pass on the dutch oven–along with a story or two to the next in line.

  7. Hi Loni,
    I’m not much of a cook so I have to make up for it in different ways. Even though the food I prepare isn’t that great, we do eat it together every night 😉 With it just being the three of us, dinnertime and special memories are usually had sitting in our living room with our folding tray tables as football plays on the TV in the background. Now the special food memories will be made when we travel down to my hubby’s sister’s house. Then we’re talking tamales, chiles rellenos, frijoles, carne asada, the works. They let me help stuff things usually but that’s about it!
    Thank you for sharing your cozy memories with us. They sounded warm and wonderful.

    1. Carlene,
      We all have things that we do to make memories and special times. It’s not all about the food–it’s about the love. It sounds like a wonderful feast down at your sister-in-laws. Thank you for sharing. Hey football and folding trays–I remember it well. Still do it for movie night, too.

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