Cornish Game Hens with Apricot Glaze

Romantic Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two

With Valentine’s Day upon us, it got me thinking about the very first Valentine’s Day meal in our new home, which I prepared for my Valentine 17 years ago!  My culinary skills have greatly improved since then, but I have a fondness for some of those early dishes I use to lovingly prepare for my fireman.

It is still one of my favorite memories of a Valentine’s Day dinner, as we had moved into our first home.  With a newborn and two toddlers it was not an option to even consider going out to dinner as I was still nursing my son.  So I decided set up a “table for two” in front of our fireplace.  On the menu was Clams Casino, Apricot glazed Cornish Game hen, rice pilaf, and artichokes francaise.  For dessert I made a heart-shaped chocolate brownie pie with Bailey’s Irish Cream in the whipped cream.  The demands of motherhood soon called, but it was such a romantic time because we had a private table in a very romantic setting surrounded by the three beautiful reminders of what our love for each other had created. 

To me there isn’t a more perfect way to spend a quiet evening at home, being in love, and being surrounded by the ones you love, in the house that love built.  Below our a few recipes from that special night!

Wishing you and yours the most crazy, sexy, delicious Valentine’s Day ever!sexy-fire


Susan xoxo

We clean up nice! Me and my fireman
My three reasons


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You can double the amount of ingredients and make this on a larger scale for a roast chicken.  One jar of Apricot jelly with a little bit of honey would stretch this perfectly.

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I like to use a glass baking dish for these, because I find with baking rack in a roasting pan they get dry.  These stayed perfectly moist and I removed them from the pan after about 5 minutes.  Wash and dry the hens, remove gizzards, discard.  Season cavity with salt and pepper, add in the lemon quarters, rub with dry rub ingredients, drizzle with a little bit of EVOO.  Place in 400° oven for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven, place prepared glaze over the top, and finish roasting another 15 minutes or until their internal temperature reaches 165° F.  Tent with foil for about 10 minutes.  Then slice in half and serve with Rice Pilaf if desired.

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Cornish Game Hens with Apricot Glaze

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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The perfect blend of spice and sweetness perfectly balanced it makes an elegant presentation that only looks like you spent all day in the kitchen!

  I like to spice up my chicken, so when you cut into it you get a flavorful bite.  The smokiness, and spice from the rub is perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the apricot glaze.  It is a perfect taste.  Making this dish again makes me realize how special the connection is for me between the  food I prepare and the love I share with those I cook for!

Credit: Mangieri-Maurath


  • 2 Cornish game hens (these were popular and trendy 17 years ago)
  • 1 small jar of apricot preserves
  • 1 tbsp. of butter
  • EVOO
  • 1 tsp. each of cinnamon, and Chinese 5 spice
  • 1 tbsp. of brown sugar
  • Dry rub, ingredients as follows:  salt and pepper to taste, 1 tsp.each of garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, rosemary, thyme, paprika, and 1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper


  1. Set oven to 400°.
  2. Pat dry Cornish game hens, season skin with dry rub, top and bottom both hens, sprinkle cavity with salt and pepper, slice a lemon half and stuff into two pieces and insert into cavity of hens.
  3. Place hens in large roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Roast in oven for 45 min.
  5. While hens are roasting, in a medium saucepan, combine full jar of apricot jelly, butter, Chinese 5 spice, cinnamon, and brown sugar, simmer on low until jelly is melted and heated through.  Remove hens from oven and brush on skin of hens. Continue baking 15 more min. then remove from oven and tent with foil for 10 min.  Hens are done when their internal temperature reads 165° F.  Serve with Artichoke Francasie, and Rice Pilaf.  Devour!



Canned or frozen artichokes can be used here.  Just make sure to pat dry with a paper towel.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  These could not be easier.


Set up your flour and egg station.  My kitchen is tiny and I tend to work over my large double sink.  Wow! I need a new cutting board!!  I digress, so you have two eggs here with a healthy dose of pepper sauce, flour is seasoned with salt and pepper, can’t help myself.  I like to dredge in flour, move them to a plate, then do the egg dip, right next to the stove so I can drop into a hot skillet and cook off right quick.


Looking lovely, I add a little bit of EVOO, and let them do their thing.  I used very little so I didn’t need to wipe it out, if you went a bit crazy, wipe the pan out, you don’t want these oily.


Add the butter and swirl it around the pan to make the sauce, let the butter melt, then add in lemon juice, and white wine.  You could use chicken stock in place of wine.  I intended to use capers here, but I ran out, totally fine without, but I do love the briny taste of them.

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This is such an elegant, sexy side, that is perfect for a special dinner or can be doubled and served as an appetizer which is what I did that night.  Remove from pan, place on serving plate, spoon over pan sauce.  Finish with fresh chopped Italian leaf parsley, and a squeeze of lemon right before serving.  Serve this immediately to ensure the egg coating is still slightly crisp.


Artichoke Francaise

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An easy understated elegant side dish or appetizer, that is perfect for any occasion!

  • Frozen, defrosted artichokes can be used as well.
  • Credit: Mangieri-Maurath


  • 1 15 oz can of artichoke hearts halved and drained
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp. of capers if desired, rinsed or unrinsed, I love the brine, but you do you
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose unbleached flour
  • splash of hot pepper sauce
  • juice of on lemon, plus the zest
  • 5 tbsp. of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • olive oil



  1. Heat a large frying pan with a tbsp. of butter and tbsp. of olive oil
  2. Dry artichokes and season with salt and pepper, dredge in flour
  3. Shake off excess flour.
  4. In a bowl, combine egg and pepper sauce, dip artichoke into beaten egg add to hot pan, fry until golden.  Remove to plate.
  5. With a paper towel, clean out frying pan, add remaining butter, put back on burner, add lemon juice and white wine, let thicken slightly, add artichokes back to pan. Simmer for 5 minutes, top with capers and fresh parsley, transfer to serving dish cover, to keep warm.

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I like to keep this simple.  You can use fresh or frozen peas in this, but I like it with just carrots and onions.  Couldn’t be easier.


The angel hair, gets toasted but it will not be hard when you are done.  It gets soft with the rice and adds a nice nutty flavor.  My Mom always made this the same way, only she used vermicelli, but angel hair is fine in this, and that is all I use.  Now you are ready for the veg.  Add in the  salt, pepper, and veg.  Cook about two minutes more.  Then add the rice and broth.  Let it boil, then turn to simmer, cover for about twenty minutes and let it do its thing!  No lifting the lid!


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Finish with some fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, and plate next to your lovely Cornish game hen!


Rice Pilaf

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A tasty side that's buttery, light, and so full of flavor. A perfect side for any occasion

Credit: Mangieri-Maurath


  • 3 tbsp. broken angel hair pasta ( I used about ten strands)
  • 2 tbsp. of butter
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 cup of basmati, jasmine rice or long grain white
  • 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  •  kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley to garnish, (optional)



  1. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add broken pieces of angel hair, cooking until they turn brown, when browned add butter and onion, carrots, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.
  2. Cook about 2 min.  Add rice, ( I used Jasmine, because I adore it) and chicken stock, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is fully absorbed. No peeking, let it do its thing!  Remove from heat, let sit about five minutes off the stove.
  3. Fluff with fork and serve.



5 Comments Add yours

  1. DGGYST says:

    Apricot Jelly is a magic multitasker. It should be a basic condiment staple, like mayo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure! I am all for it becoming a condiment! So good for so many things!😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mistimaan says:

    Loved it


  3. This looks delicious! I’m with you staying in on Valentine’s Day. Restaurants are way too crowded and by the looks of your Cornish Hens and Apricot Glaze, I’d rather be eating that instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww…thanks for saying so!! Netflix, Cornish Game Hens with Apricot Glaze, and chill! Perfect Valentine’ Day! 😊


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