winner winner chicken dinner

wpid-20150407_155309.jpgNo surprises here today–title and opening photo have given it all away. The latest run through Great-aunt Helen’s recipe box turned up a recipe written in a familiar hand. I was tickled to find a recipe attributed to my mom, written up when I was only eight.

Figuring mom must have made this “Chicken Barbecue Sauce” when I was growing up, I was excited to try it in my own kitchen. It was only slightly more complicated than emptying a bottle of barbecue sauce over chicken, but knowing that DIY usually tastes better I gladly assembled the ingredients and combined chicken, onions, and sauce in a pan. Stoneground mustard subbed in for regular, though all else stayed the same. An hour in the oven made the house amazingly fragrant with the scent of sweet-tangy barbecue sauce.

wpid-20150407_175147.jpgThough not overly photogenic, the chicken made a lovely (and winning) dinner. Sides of roasted sweet potato and steamed veggies completed the meal.wpid-20150407_175337.jpgMy mom noted that she had gotten the recipe from her sister-in-law’s mom, convoluting its origins further. She cites it as a favorite chicken recipe, remembering an engagement party for my cousin where the grandmother-of-the-bride made multiple large foil pans of this dish to serve all who were gathered to celebrate.

This triggered the memory that celebrating with family was important to Helen. With no immediate family of her own, she joined us for every birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Easter. I also remember picnics at local parks, celebrating nothing more than a fine summer day.

In the spirit of Great-aunt Helen, then, give yourself permission to celebrate something–anything–tonight. While birthdays, engagements, and the like are wonderful reasons to gather and enjoy food and drink, it’s just as valid to celebrate that you’re making and serving a meal to those you love.wpid-20150407_155328.jpgNext week we’ll find even more to celebrate as we find another cocktail to pair with Helen’s recipe collection.

51 thoughts on “winner winner chicken dinner

  1. i love the story behind this recipe and all of the images and memories it triggered. it’s amazing what power food holds, isn’t it? it’s kind of magic.

    • Liking your choice of the word “magic.” Absolutely! Fun to know you work with kids who are forming some of those memories now πŸ™‚

    • yep, keeping it simple works–especially back in the day when more folks cooked. Thinking a pile of mashed cauliflower would also go well here πŸ™‚ Thanks for coming over, Seana.

  2. “Wochester” sauce? LOL. “Tiny bit one gano?” I’m confused. Help me out here. Looks like a great way to end the 1970s, eating BBQ chicken. All I’d add is a little triangle of cornbread. Mmmm.

  3. What a really nice point you make in this post, Liz! We should be celebrating it all, moments large and small. And homemade barbecue sauce should be part of all our celebrations!

    • Agreed, Kerry. Three cheers for DIY BBQ πŸ™‚ Am betting you do your share of celebrating the small stuff! Thanks much for your kind words.

  4. What a great find! It’s hard to beat good BBQ chicken. I keep saying I need to experiment with barbecue sauces, this would be a great start. Can’t wait to see the drink that goes with it next week!

  5. You can’t beat barbecue sauce on chicken, Liz. Your mom’s touch seems to be a good one. Yum. I like your side dishes, too. Yum yum. You are so right about celebrating life with a good meal. Don’t rush, don’t eat on the front seat of your car or out of a bag if you don’t have to because of job duties. Gack. I had enough of that to last two lifetimes. I’m all for celebrating a well-cooked, well-cherished, well-shared meal and meal-time, my dear friend.

  6. Liz! It’s a winner!! I think I can actually do this one! And kiddo approves ..but, I have one important question – what does the first line say? Brown Chicken.? Huh? Help a girl out, would ya? Oh, wait…brown the chicken? Yes?

    • Definitely kid-friendly, this chicken. Yep, brown the chicken first. Though with oil or no, I’m not sure. I used cooking spray. You can do this, Bonnie!

  7. Who needs food to be photogenic? Food’s only photogenic before it’s eaten, so food that’s too photogenic didn’t serve its purpose!

  8. I just love old hand-written recipe cards handed down generations. There’s just a wonderful sense of nostalgia. Also, cute title! Haha! This dish certainly looks like a winner!

    • Thanks, Mary πŸ™‚ Glad to have you here. Would imagine you have more than a few hand-written recipe cards that have been handed down through generations in your collection!

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  10. Family recipes are always the best, Liz! I love the onions in the bbq sauce, especially and your side dishes look delicious. I enjoy barbecue chicken anytime, cold leftovers make a delicious chicken salad sandwich, even if it sounds strange the mayo and sauce make it tangy and moist. Sit down meals are somewhat challenging but this sounds perfect for a holiday or Sunday dinner!

    • Thanks πŸ™‚ Totally get it about the cold bbq chicken–it’s great that way and yum on the mayo in the sandwich. Doesn’t sound strange to me. Good to have you here!

  11. You have a beautiful tradition of food and recipes in your family. I just adore your handwritten recipes and notecards. Have you checked out Nancy Fuller and Farmhouse Rules yet? We have such a strong tradition of Friday night chicken dinner in our family. πŸ™‚ When is that cocktail recipe coming? And are we meeting up next year when we are in Indy?

    • Thanks, Shanna. Yes, did check FR out online. Not able to watch it here 😦 Yay, Friday night chicken dinner. Sounds perfect. Do you switch the prep each week? Cocktails soon to follow. And yes, absolutely see you in Indy. Counting down to the move, I’d bet. Wish I could help!

  12. OMG i love this. I’ve missed you while I’ve been in Mexico. I’ve fallen behind on all of my favorite blogs.This may be the greatest of your Helen tributes because you really loved this one and have some distant memory of maybe having had it intersect with your life. I also love that it put you in a celebratory mood enough that you encourage us to try this (which I think I will!) I don’t know why I’m so moved by your unrelenting tribute to aunt helen. She just seemed so cool and left behind this secret legacy. I just would be so honored if someone did something like that for me. Keep it up. I”m loving the aunt helen series. xo much love.

    • Thank you, Amanda. Love that you feel Helen would be a kindred spirit. (this is me reading between your lines–??) I’ve completely fallen behind on other blogs as WP has stopped sending email notifications. Driving me nuts, so apologies for all I’ve missed on your end. I know the Reader would keep me current, but relying on email updates was easier. Arrgh. Regardless, appreciate your kind and supportive words very much πŸ™‚

      • That’s so annoying. You can sign up for emails from my blog since i switched to self hosting. You have to go to it and sign up. That should fix the problem. As for helen, total kindred spirit. But I’m not sure if it’s more you than her. I live how you’re honoring her so in that way we are kindred spirits. Im loving the helen series. πŸ˜‰

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  14. Hey Liz! it looks like a big hearty meal!
    It is so lovely for you that you have her recipes! xxx And also for all of us to try them out too! πŸ™‚ x

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