Ring In New Year With Chicken Littles

If you're still looking for a New Year's Eve dinner menu that will impress your guests but not take hours to prepare, look no further. Robin Miller, host of "Quick Fix Meals" on the Food Network, visited The Saturday Early Show as Chef on a Shoestring to make a New Year three-course meal for four on a budget of $40.

For much more about Miller and her show, click here.

Here is her menu for Saturday:
Cumin Pumpkin Soup
Cornish Game Hens with Brown Rice Stuffing
Green Beans with Orange Vinaigrette
Orange-Poached Pears with Fudge Sauce
Cranberry Fizzle

RECIPES

CUMIN PUMPKIN SOUP

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy


Ingredients:
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup lowfat milk
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
Fresh sage leaves
Popcorn and pumpkin seeds, for garnish

Method:
In a medium saucepan, whisk together pumpkin, broth, milk, and cumin. Add bay leaves and set pan over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat, remove bay leaves and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Garnish with sage, popcorn and pumpkin seeds before serving.

CORNISH HENS WITH BROWN RICE STUFFING
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
4 Cornish game hens, about 1 1/4 pounds each, giblets removed and discarded
Salt and ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced scallions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup instant brown rice
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
Prepared cranberry sauce, optional

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

  2. Rinse hens inside and out and pat dry. Season the hens, inside and out, with salt and black pepper. Place hens in a large roasting pan and set aside.

  3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add scallions and garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add brown rice and thyme and stir to combine. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth, cover and bring mixture to a simmer. Allow rice to cook for 3 minutes then add the sun-dried tomatoes and bell pepper. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

  4. Remove from heat and spoon rice mixture loosely into cavity of hens. Pour remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth into bottom of pan.

  5. Place hens in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until juices from thigh run clear when pierced with a fork, basting every 15 minutes with the pan juices.

  6. Remove the hens from the oven and transfer to a platter. Pour the pan juices over top and serve.
Serving suggestion: Serve the stuffed hens with cranberry sauce and a side dish of fresh or frozen snow peas sauteed in a little olive oil and seasoned with salt and crushed red pepper.

REINVENTED GREEN BEANS WITH ORANGE VINAIGRETTE
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy


Ingredients:
4 cups leftover or cooked green beans
2 shallots, minced
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Method:
  1. Place green beans and shallots in a medium bowl.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Add mixture to green beans and toss to combine.
ORANGE POACHED PEARS WITH FUDGE SAUCE
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes


Ingredients:
1/2 cup orange juice
1 orange, sliced into rounds
5 whole cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 pears, peeled with stems intact
1 cup prepared fudge topping

Method:
In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice, sliced orange, cloves, vanilla extract and pears. Set pan over high heat and bring to a simmer. Warm fudge topping in a saucepan or in the microwave until warm. Remove pears from liquid and transfer pears to dessert bowls. Remove cloves from liquid and spoon liquid over pears. Spoon warm fudge sauce over top.

CRANBERRY FIZZLE
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy


Note: To jazz things up, top each glass with a fresh lime slice and fresh mint leaves.

Ingredients:
1 part cranberry juice
1 part seltzer water
1 part white wine
2 limes, sliced, reserve 4 slices for garnish
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Method:

In a large pitcher, combine cranberry juice, seltzer, white wine, and lime slices. Serve over ice and garnish with reserved lime slices and mint sprigs.
  • Ellen Crean

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