Easy Recipe – Cornish Game Hens with Orange Sauce

During big holidays, my mom would often cook up a wonderful Turkey dinner. During those meals, I would decide to have some breast meat or some thigh meat. I might decide on a wing or maybe I wanted a leg! I didn’t typically have a little of all of these things though.

When it wasn’t a big holiday (just any day of the year), my mom might decide to make each of us in the family a Cornish game hen for dinner. As a kid, I loved that. It looked like a turkey, but it was real little. It was all mine to do with as I pleased. I could eat breast meat, thigh meat, both wings and both legs if I wanted to!!!! Mine all mine!!!!

What I didn’t know back then, was Cornish hens are fairly inexpensive and easy to make.

Ingredients, (try to use organics whenever you can)

  • One hen per person (in this recipe 2 will be cooked)
  • Spray avocado oil (ok to use another type of spray oil)
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (ok to use another type of oil)
  • 2 teaspoon coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup orange juice

Prepping the Oven, the Dish and the Cornish Hens

First, position your oven rack to allow the hens to cook close to the center of the oven. Set the oven to 375°F, (191°C), on bake.

Bring your ingredients out so they are ready for use.

Place a wire rack on the bottom of a baking/roasting dish, (no lid needed for this recipe).

This is my 9 x 9 CorningWare dish. Inside it, I have placed an 8″ round stainless steel rack.

I love my CorningWare SimplyLite bakeware. Mine all came with glass and plastic lids. I have used these dishes for hot and for cold food. I have used them for various salads (like potato salad). I have used them to transport cookies to a party. I use them in the oven all of the time (without the plastic lids). The dishes clean up beautifully with my secret weapon (seen at the bottom of this post).

I have several sizes of CorningWare brand Simply Lite Glass Bakeware.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any of this size still being sold. The closest I could find was a rectangular pair of dishes made by Corning, but they don’t have lids. They look like they could hold 2 or 3 game hens each, though. If you have a larger family, these may be perfect for you.

I was able to find a pair of wire racks that might work well for you in these Corning dishes. There are 2 racks and also 2 metal pans. The set is very inexpensive. The pans don’t look deep enough for roasting the hens, but they can be used for other things, and at the price they are asking, consider them a bonus.

Spray some avocado oil on the rack and over the bottom of the dish.

I like this kind of spray oil.

Your hens may be either fresh from the butcher or packaged and ready to be cooked (the ones I have are packaged.

I love meat processors that are proud to say they don’t use antibiotics ever! This company also doesn’t use preservatives, added hormones or steroids in their Cornish hens.

Open the packages and remove the hens. Verify the cavity inside the hens are empty (you do not need anything that might be inside the hens, in this recipe).

Rinse the outside and the inside of each hen using cool water. Pat dry the outside of each hen with a paper towel. Place them in the baking dish.

I have tucked the wings of the hens. I have also put them in reverse directions. Later, I will separate them to the corners.

Brush the surface of the hens with grapeseed oil.

I use grapeseed oil instead of many other food grade oil options out there.

Once the oven has reached the correct baking temperature, put the hens in the oven.

Making the Orange Sauce.

In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos,

Simple Truth brand makes a wide variety of organics.
Organic Coconut Aminos.

Measure and stir in 2 tablespoons of honey.

I had just enough honey for the recipe.
Organic Honey

Measure and stir in 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar. Keep stirring the ingredients until the honey is fairly well dissolved.

No, not organic. This is what I had in my cabinet.
Distilled White Vinegar

Measure and pour in ¼ cup orange juice.

I like to use organics when ever I can, but sometimes my local grocery is out of stock on organics.

Back to the Hens

Baste the hens with some of the orange sauce now and at least 2 more times (about every twenty minutes to a half of an hour).The hens will be in the oven for between an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and thirty minutes.

The hens browned some while I was making the orange sauce.

In the last 30 minutes of cooking (to finish even browning and cooking), I separated the hens.

Not all ovens are alike. Your hens may cook quicker or may take longer to cook.

The birds are beautifully cooked, the dish is a splattered, baked on mess. I’ll show you an easy product at the end of this, for easy cleanup of this kind of dish.

At an hour and 15 minutes of cook time, check the hens for doneness. Pierce the center of a thigh with a meat thermometer (avoid touching bone as that could cause an incorrect temperature reading). The hens should be at least 180°F (82°C). Any juice that comes from the hens should not be red or display any hint of pink. When the hens are fully cooked, juices running from them will look like oil, (kind of transparent or golden).

Side Dish 1

About half way through the hens cooking time, I started making a couple of side dishes. I rinsed and cut golden potatoes.

After they were rinsed, I cut out any parts of the potato that were undesirable.

We found this Royal brand bamboo cutting board on Amazon, as part of a set of 3, (one small one medium and one large size).

You may not know this, but bamboo is a hard wood. Bamboo is not a tree, but a grass. Even though it is a grass, it is harder than oak. Bamboo will grow to maturity, ready for harvest, in 3 to 5 years. Oak matures in 20 to 30 years. It makes more sense to harvest bamboo than oak for the sake of cutting boards. The next time you want to buy yourself a nice set of cutting boards, save a tree and purchase bamboo cutting boards.

I put the potatoes in a 5 quart pot of water with a half teaspoon of salt.

I love my GreenPan Brand pots and pans. They have held up better than any non-stick pots and pans I have ever owned.

I brought them to a boil. They boiled for 30 minutes. I drained them and served them on the side with butter and sour cream (well kind of butter and kind of sour cream).

The best investment I ever made, was when I bought my GreenPan set of cookware. I have owned lots of non-stick cookware, but others I have owned seem to always get scratched. I end up throwing them away.

I haven’t had that problem with this brand. I’ve had my set for about three years now, and don’t expect to purchase any other brand going forward. My set has a non-stick ceramic interior. Everything washes off easily.

We try our best to eat healthy. This is one of the item I use on a regular basis.
My body doesn’t like it when I eat any dairy. This is a non-dairy plant based cream cheese alternative. I love it!!!! This and the Smart Balance are delicious on the boiled golden potatoes.

Side Dish 2

I grow my own vegetables during the year, but this year, I haven’t grown green beans. Even though, we love green beans with dinner. Honestly, one of our favorite green beans are canned. We often use Del Monte brand green beans.

They only take a few minutes to heat up. I use this CorningWare SimplyLite 1 and ½ quart casserole dish several times a week. Unfortunately, these dishes aren’t easy to find now.

I use this dish when I want to warm up food in the microwave or bake something in my oven. It comes with a glass lid to reduce splatter mess and a plastic lid too for cold item storage.

I love this brand of green beans. I grew up eating these when I was young and never got tired of them.

If you really like fresh green beans, click here to Learn how to grow your own “Pole Green Beans“.

Dinner is Served

Well, everything is done and the meal look great. I hope some day soon, you treat yourself, your family and or friends to a wonderful Cornish game hens meal.

This place setting is beautiful, and is full of spring colors, but it really is a hodgepodge of items.
The tea cup is “Royal Sealy China” brand.
The tea pot is Hall’s Alladin pot in Yellow (1940s)
The flatware is Oneida. The pattern is called Copeland. It is nickel free (identified as 18/0).
The salt and pepper shakers were handed down to me from my mom. They are Anchor Hocking glassware (vintage).
The plate is an Occupied Japan plate that is part of my Occupied Japan collection (1940s).
Click here to read about “Occupied Japan Collectables”.

Making Your Place Settings Shine

Napkin Rings

The napkin ring you see in this post is a very simple white ceramic ring with gold trim around the edges. As simple as it is, I was not able to find any like it. I did find some white ceramic rings you might like though. They are very inexpensive. Take a look and see what you think of these napkin rings.

I love crystal. I have a set of crystal napkin rings that I use a lot. If you like crystal too, you might really enjoy this set of crystal napkin rings. They are kitCom brand (2.3″ x 1.2″). They are stated to be sturdy and durable (and are of European craftmanship).


I’m allergic to nickel. Did you know, as of the time of this writing, up to 17% of women are allergic to nickel and 3% of men are too. Most flatware found for sale has nickel in it.

The Copeland pattern is nickel free and is still available through Oneida.com. I found a similar pattern on Amazon, also by Oneida. The pattern is called Reyna. It too is 100% nickel free, identified as 18/0, (18% chromium 0% nickel).

If you like this pattern, but aren’t able to find it, in the link above you may see other patterns you like. Just make sure you select a pattern that says it is 18/0 if you want nickel free flatware.

A Recipe Book I Have Used for Years

When I was a young housewife, I was given a cook book that I have used and used. It is The Joy of Cooking. This is a book you should add to your cooking must haves.

Here is A Helpful Cleanup Hint

Remember I told you earlier about a way to easily clean CorningWare baking dishes. During cooking when splatter becomes baked onto CorningWare, it can be a nightmare to clean. Use Cerama Bryte.

You will also want to use a cleaning pad designed to be used with Cerama Bryte. Cooking splatter comes off so easy this way.

After you have removed all of the splatter, rinse the baking dish thoroughly, ensuring all of the Cerama Bryte is gone. After this, put the dish into the dishwasher or wash the dish by hand (ensuring all of the cleaning product is rinsed away).

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