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.