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Phyllis Diller’s Overnight Barbecued Chicken

My family has been making this chicken since 1977! The recipe is taken from the June 1977 Bon Appetit Magazine.  It really is finger lickin’ good!

My adaptions are omitting the 2 tsp salt in the sauce and decreasing the poaching time of the chicken. I also prefer boneless chicken thighs to the whole broiler-fryers that you have to cut up. Buying ready to cook chicken saves time and the dark meat is juicier, as long as you don’t overcook it. This is a 2 stage cooking process; poaching and barbecuing.

Chicken Preparation

16 boneless skinless chicken thighs or 2 chickens, cut up

  • Place chicken in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and  either turn off the heat if using an electric stove, or turn your gas range to the lowest setting. 

  • Cover and let set 20 minutes.  Drain and place chicken in a large bowl. 

  • When the chicken has cooled pour the BBQ sauce over it. 

  • Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. If you need to save space in your frig, you can use a gallon Ziplock bag instead of a bowl.
  • Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk together or use a stick blender.
  • Reserve 1 cup marinade for serving and pour the rest over the poached and drained chicken
  • Grill chicken over hot coals until slightly browned. Really you only have to heat the chicken through on the grill. The degree of crispyness is a personal choice since the chicken is already cooked. I prefer the chicken heated through over a smokey fire, others prefer blackened chicken. 
  • Heat the reserved sauce and serve at the table. 
  • Additions to the menu could be fresh sweet corn, Illini Sweet is a Michigan favorite, a light cole slaw and marinated 3 bean salad. This is classic Midwest summer cooking. Bon Appetit!

Marinade Ingredients

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, not packed

1 1/2 cups ketchup

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

2 1/2 tablespoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons salt, optional

Hot pepper sauce, the more the better; the original recipe is 2 dashes; I prefer 1 teaspoon

Marinade Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  1. Whisk together a few minutes with an immersion blender or a hand whisk
  2. Another option is to grill chicken as desired, raw or poached, and serve the bbq sauce on the side at the table. It’s a great overall bbq sauce!
  3. Voila!

You may ask who is Phyllis Diller? She is a very famous comediennne and actress of the mid-century who also raised a family. Many of her comedy routines centered around her husband, Fang. Poor guy. She is an older version of Joan Rivers, but glamorous only in a funny way.

Bon Appetit/June 1977

Lemon and Fennel Marinated Lamb

I found this recipe in Food and Wine magazine. We ( Dave)  marinated it in a large Ziploc bag and then grilled it on a Weber style charcoal grill.  For the ground fennel we used an old coffee grinder to grind up dried fennel seeds. And yes, use the entire lemon ground up in a food processor for the marinade.

I also used the Creamy Polenta recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated which you can find in my website.

Roasted Vegetable Terrine

Awesome presentation for a brunch, lunch or dinner party! It’s just as easy to double the recipe and make 2 terrines. Give one as a gift to a friend or neighbor. Definitely make this at least a day ahead of serving so it has time to chill and condense. Serves 8 as a generous side dish or main luncheon or brunch entree.

In 2 large shallow baking or roasting pans spread out the following vegetables:

1-1 1/2 pound eggplant, sliced 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut in half, skin side up

2  yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut in half, skin side up

Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt or sea salt

Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes or until tender, but not to the point of being overly delicate . The skins should not brown.

Heat a large saute pan and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Saute just until tender:

 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, sliced crosswise 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half lengthwise and sliced crosswise thin to medium

At the very end of the cooking time add 1 clove minced garlic and stir 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

In a 9 or 10 inch round cake pan layer the vegetables with a slight overlapping pattern circling the perimeter.

Sprinkle each layer with:

Parmesan reggiano cheese, grated very fine

Salt and pepper

Begin and end with the eggplant. Layer the other vegetables twice.

Start with 1/2 the eggplant and layer in the bottom of the pan.

Take 1/2 the zucchini and layer in an overlapping or close pattern.

Next layer the red and then the yellow peppers.

Repeat zucchini and peppers.

End with the eggplant.

Place the filled pan on top of a sheet of parchment.With a small sharp knife score around the bottom perimeter of the pan. Take the parchment and finish cutting the circle with a sissors.

Place the parchment on top of the terrine. Then take a slightly smaller round baking pan and place it on top of the parchment.

Fill this pan with heavy weights, such as cans and jars of food. Refrigerate at least 7 hours.

Liquid will rise to the top. This needs to be drained as well as you can.

Choose a round serving platter or even a pedestal cake plate to serve your terrine.

Run a dull knife around the perimeter of the terrine. Place the inverted serving platter over the top of the terrine. Keeping them close together invert them. Voila!

Slice into 8 pieces like a pie. First cut in half, then halve the halves, then halve the quarters.

Recipe originates from The Barefoot Contessa, by Ina Garten

Creamy Polenta

My favorite polenta recipe so far! This delish soft polenta is great because you can make it ahead of time for a dinner party, even chill it the day before or keep it warm and finish it in the oven just before serving. The recipe is originally from Cooks Illustrated which is an online source you need to pay for to subscribe. Cooks Illustrated is always the best source of thoroughly tested and researched recipes.

Bring to a boil in a heavy bottom large pot:

7 1/2 cups water

2 cups whole milk (organic milk has a real milk flavor and is rich in Omega – 3 fatty acids)

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Place a ring of aluminum foil on the burner, underneath the pot to limit the amount of heat transfer. The goal is for the polenta to steam and not simmer.

Slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time, add and whisk in:

1  and 1/2 cups medium grind cornmeal (Bob’s Red Mill Organic Medium Grind is perfect unless you have a source of freshly ground)

Most recipes mix with a wooden spoon. I prefer the metal whisk to prevent lumping.

Bring it to a slight boil and then manage the heat with a low temp or use of the aluminum ring. Do not allow polenta to simmer.  You should only see steam rise and not a true boil either. If your polenta simmers or boils at your lowest temperature setting, add the aluminum ring for your cooking pot to buffer the heat.

Stir often with the whisk and steam at least 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the grind of the cornmeal. Taste should be very loose and creamy, not gritty. Remove from heat.

Add 1/2 stick unsalted butter and stir till melted. Organic butter does taste much better!

Also mix in:

1 large clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Pour into a 9 x 13 inch glass baking pan. Sprinkle with:

1 cup finely grated parmesan regianno.

Cover with Saran wrap. Chill or keep warm at room temperature if serving within an hour or so.

Before serving remove Saran, blot condensation from the cheese with a paper towel, and bake at 450 degrees till bubbly. This will take 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the temperature of the polenta.

Serve right away. Makes enough for 8. This is a creamy soft polenta, great as a side dish with roasted lamb!

Prosecco and Fruit Terrine

I have made this for friends many times. They always love it! Fresh fruit and clear sweet sparkling wine make beautiful terrines. This is very easy and quick. No baking, only cooling time in the frig. Recipe is originally from Gourmet Magazine, August 2002. Reminds me of the mid-century Jello Salads, but without the food coloring and with the added kick of Prosecco. You can also call it Solid Sangria!

3 cups fresh fruit, anything except pineapple, mango or papaya works with gelatin. Choose a variety of color. Peel the thicker skinned fruits. I like blueberries, blackberries, white grapes, and raspberries.

4 – 1/4 oz envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin (other brands may clump)

1 – bottle Proseco, Italian white sparkling wine

1 cup sugar

4 tsp fresh lemon juice 

10  – 6oz ceramic or glass cups

  • In a medium sauce pan combine 2 cups Prosecco and sugar. Heat and stir till sugar is dissolved.
  • Remove pan from heat.
  • In a medium bowl place gelatin. Slowly whisk in Proseco until dissolved and let sit 1 minute till softened.
  • Add gelatin mixture to heated Prosecco mixture and whisk to combine.
  • Stir in remaining  Prosecco and lemon juice.
  • Cool mixture and stir occasionally, just to room temp.
  • Once gelatin is at room temperature, spoon 2 tablespoons into each mold.
  • Chill 1 hour to set. (keep remaining gelatin at room temperature)
  • Arrange fruit in each mold. Molds will be inverted, so keep that in mind.
  • Divide remaining gelatin mixture among molds.
  • Chill at least 6 hours.
  • To unmold, dip molds individually in a pan of hot water 3 to 5 seconds to soften. Loosen from sides with a sharp knife.
  • Invert each terrine onto it’s serving plate and shake to unmold.
  • Voila!

Shrimp Korma with Brown Rice

This awesome recipe was worth making twice this week. After making it for dinner early in the week I made it again, a double batch, and  served it at a dinner party over the weekend! They all loved it! Full of flavor, authentic Indian cuisine and low in fat and calories! The only changes I made was as I usually do, double the spices: onion, red bell pepper, curry, garam masala, ginger, garlic… got the idea. If you are making 1 recipe, use 1/2 can light coconut milk in the Korma and add the rest to the brown rice with the broth!   I bought frozen shrimp from our local produce/meat market;raw, shelled and deveined, 16/20 per pound. I also added a few more shrimp than the recipe. p.s. India Tree brand Garam Masala from Seattle is an awesome brand!

I think it is worth replacing refined rice with brown rice. Saute some onion in olive oil, add the brown rice and saute a few minutes, add twice as much broth and/or light coconut milk and simmer 45 minutes! Perfecto! No gluten, no simple carbs, lots of fiber and a chewy nutty flavor much better than bland white rice. The  whole grain/high fiber brown rice carbs stick with you without the simple white rice/low fiber carb rush.

Plan to serve this dish in a bowl with a spoon……….you don’t want to miss a drop!

Top this dish off with Greek yogurt, Fage 0% fat is my favorite………..Enjoy!

The Menu

Avocado n Strawberry Salsa with Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Marinated Fresh Michigan Asparagus Salad

Shrimp Korma with Coconut Brown Rice

Proseco and Fresh Fruit Terrine

Quick and Authentic Black Beans and Brown Rice



Brown rice takes 45 minutes to cook, so start the rice first. Make a double batch and keep it on hand for a quick addition later in the week. Rice is gluten free and a fabulous source of complex carbohydrates and fiber!

  • 2 Tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt, optional
  • Heat a small sauce pan and add oil. When warmed add onion and saute till tender.
  • Add rice and saute a few minutes.
  • Add broth and bring to a boil.
  • Cover and simmer 40 minutes or until tender.
  • Makes 3 cups.

Black beans are rich in high energy complex carbohydrates and fiber. Tomatoes prevent prostrate cancer. The hot dried chorizo adds big flavor with minimal fat per serving. Black beans or black bean soup is a specialty of Cuba and Puerto Rico. 

2 Tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 oz. HOT Spanish dried chorizo, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano, dried
1 – 15 oz. can whole tomatoes, undrained and broken into pieces
1 – 20 oz can seasoned black beans, undrained
1 – 15 oz can Northern beans, drained and rinsed or a 2nd can of black beans
3/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
3 cups chopped tomatoes
Red wine vinegar
  • Heat a medium saucepan and add oil.
  • Saute onion until tender.
  • Add chorizo and saute 3 minutes.
  • Add bell pepper and jalapeno and saute 3 minutes.
  • Add seasonings and garlic and saute less than 1 minute.
  • Add canned tomatoes to make the sofrito. Saute 3 minutes
  • Add the beans, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Place 2/3 cup brown rice in a serving bowl. Pour 2/3 cup Black Beans over top.
  • Spoon 1/2 cup fresh tomato and 2 Tablespoons cilantro over beans.
  • Sprinkle with red wine vinegar to taste
  • Serves 6

Coconut Rice

1 cup brown rice (my favorite is the short grain brown rice) Jasmine, basmati or traditional rice may be used. Decrease the cooking time to 20 minutes.

1- 14 ounce can light coconut milk

1/2 cup water

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 -1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • In a medium size saucepan combine the above ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 45 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper and mix.
  • Serve hot.

Avocado n Strawberry or Raspberry Salsa

1 pound strawberries, medium diced or 1 pint whole raspberries

2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into large dice

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced or 1/2 bunch, minced

1 fresh jalapeno, minced

1/2 cup fresh lime juice or 1 juicy fresh lime, squeezed

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt or sea salt

Combine avocados and lime juice to prevent discoloration/oxidation. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently. Serve the soon the better with home made tortilla chips. Store bought chips also work

Tortilla chips: Preheat oven to 350 and brush small or 4 inch corn tortillas with vegetable oil. Cut into 1/4’s. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt. Bake 10 minutes or till crisp.

I fine tune recipes I love. I don’t like leftover pieces of jalapeno or limes or a 1/4 box of strawberries…..add the whole thing and make it work! This is my 2nd rendition of this recipe originally from Cooking Light.

Toasted Barley and Berry Granola

Granola & Milk, a take along breakfast

Granola, Vanilla Yogurt & Fresh Fruit Parfait shown here with Granola ready for snacking

The crunch in the Banana Crunch Muffin & the Parfait comes from this granola

The granola recipe is below. To make the parfaits layer Dannon Vanilla Yogurt (do not use the Lite variety! It tastes bad & has a brown like color), Toasted Barley & Berry Granola, more yogurt and then top with a mixture of fresh berries. Serve right away or it becomes soggy.

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted pumpkinseed kernels
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted sunflower seed kernels
  • 1 ½ cups pure maple syrup (thank you to Peachie Martin for her Michigan UP maple syrup!)
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon  (my favorite is Penzey’s Ceylon Cinnamon; I also added their Vietnamese Extra Fancy Cinnamon)
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cardamon (this is essential for a delicious flavor & fragrance!!!)
  • 8 cups rolled barley flakes
  • 1 cup toasted wheat germ or wheat bran
  • 1 ½ cups dried blueberries (do not use the cranberries infused/flavored with other juices!!)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried cherries

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Place pumpkin and sunflower kernels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 5 minutes. Cool.
3. In a mediuim bowl combine syrup through cardamon with a whisk.
4. Pour barley, toasted kernels and wheat germ into a large mixing bowl. Stir in syrup mixture.
5. Spread barley mixture on 2 large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until slightly light brown, stirring every 15 minutes. Works well to use a large pancake turner to flip sections of the mixture to toast it all.
6. Cool baked granola. Stir in dried fruit. Store in airtight containers. Makes 16 cups.

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, March 2010

NSF 2/2011