Catalina Chicken and Whistling Women

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Cooking does not have to be a complicated thing. Neither does life. Keep it simple whenever possible, like this Catalina Chicken!

Catalina Chicken and Whistling Women

This past weekend I came across a book that I could hardly put down. I generally go to bed about an hour early each night to give myself time to read. (Sidenote: It is amazing how much giving up television has improved the quality of my life!).

So I came across this book and I’m going to tell you a little about it, but not enough to spoil it should you decide to read it, too. It’s called Whistling Woman and it is based on the ancestors of the authors. So many of the history, stories, and personalities of the characters echo those of my own heritage. My people were descended from Cherokee and “Black Dutch”, with a little Swedish, Irish, and German thrown in for good measure. The women in this book, and the men, too actually, could have easily been related to me. Their background, personalities, and even some of the family stories sound like they came from my own people.

The main character is a girl named Vashti Lee. Only, she hates that name so she insists that everyone call her Bess. Her grandmother is a Cherokee from North Carolina (where my Cherokee ancestors are from). One day, Bess is picking berries with her great grandmother and a lady walks by. Her grandmother tells Bess “She’s a whistling woman”. Bess asks what this means and her grandmother declares “You know what they say, a whistling woman and a crowing hen will never come to a good end. That there is a whistling woman. She whistles all day long and she don’t care none who hears it!”. (This is paraphrased from my memory of the book).

Bess decided right then and there that was exactly the kind of woman she wanted to be. The rest of the book follows along as she grows into a woman, struggles with a life that washes over all of us unexpectedly from time to time, and learns to be strong – just like her grandmother told her she would be someday.

I come from a long line of whistling women. Some might view them as eccentric, head strong, stubborn, or even trouble makers. Some of them were tiny little women in stature but never afraid to go head to head with a man twice their size. So many stories swirl around in my mind that were passed down to teach us inner strength and fortitude, joy and gratitude. Unfortunately, not many of the stories are fit to be shared in such a public venue so you’ll have to catch me when I’m doing one of my talks in person to hear them :).  Some of my best friends have been whistling women and those who I admire most..whistlers all.

Looking back on my life and even living it from day to day, I do believe I was born to be a whistling woman. 

And I find my whistle becomes louder and more out of tune the older I get…and that suits me and my maker just fine 🙂 You can find out more about this book and buy a copy in paperback or ebook by clicking here.

Today’s recipe is simple. It needs only three ingredients but you can feel free to dress it up and add more if you like. But you know, cooking does not have to be a complicated thing. Neither does life. Keep it simple whenever possible. That gives you more time to whistle 🙂 

Catalina Chicken and Whistling Women

To make this, you’ll need an onion, a bottle of Catalina Dressing, and some Chicken.

I am using boneless skinless chicken breasts here but you can use whatever you like and you can easily make enough chicken for 6 people with this same recipe, without having to add any additional dressing or onion.

Catalina Chicken and Whistling Women

Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker, top with onion and dressing. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or on high, 3-4.

Now we’re gonna make our yummy sauce to go over it! 

Oh by the way, when your chicken is done it will be pink. I don’t mean pink like it was before it was cooked, but I mean pink as in the red catalina dressing will have turned it pink. We’re fixin’ to cover that up so don’t worry. Besides, take a spoonful of that sauce or try a forkful of that chicken. Chicken that tastes like that can be any color it wants! 

Catalina Chicken and Whistling Women

When chicken is done, remove chicken breasts from slow cooker and ladle the sauce into a saucepan.

Catalina Chicken and Whistling Women

Take 2-3 tablespoons of flour and vigorously stir it together with equal amounts of water. Pour this into the sauce.

Catalina Chicken and Whistling Women

Bring just to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly.

Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for a few minutes, or until desired thickness.

Catalina Chicken and Whistling Women

Pour over chicken.


Were you destined to be a Whistling Woman? Do you have Whistling Women in your life?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!


Catalina Chicken and Whistling Women

This Catalina Chicken recipe is simple. It needs only three ingredients but you can feel free to dress it up and add more if you like.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken
Servings: 4
Calories: 246kcal


  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 16 ounce bottle Catalina Dressing
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour


  • Place chicken in bottom of 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Top with chopped onion and entire bottle of dressing. Cover and cook on low, 7-8 hours or high, 3-4 hours.
  • Once chicken is done remove it to plate and cover with foil to keep it moist. Ladle sauce in slow cooker into a small sauce pot.
  • In a cup, vigorously stir together flour with 2-3 tablespoons water using a fork. Pour into pot with sauce.
  • Place sauce over medium high heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat to low and simmer until it reaches desired thickness, just a few minutes more. Pour over chicken and serve.


Calories: 246kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


“Many people lose the small joys

in the hope for the big happiness.”

~ Pearl S. Buck

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  1. I love to whistle!! As a child, following Mama about the farm…she whistled pretty much every where she went…she could twirl her bucket of milk without spilling it! and whistle at the same time…we whistlers are good at multi-tasking!
    My relatives also hail from the Black Mountain, NC region…..
    Love your page….thanks for all you do and your bright and happy smile….and good food to comfort us with!

  2. I wonder if “Light” dressing could be used? Or, homemade “Catalina” dressing? I have been making homemade dressings (I wonder why I waited so long to make them) & the one I have is super yummy for “Catalina” dressing.
    Sure love your books, thoughts & recipes. 🙂

  3. My Granddaughter’s name is Catalina and I can’t wait to try this! She will think her Mimi has made a dish especially for her. Thanks Christy for another great easy recipe.

  4. I CAN whistle, just never could carry a tune very well while doing it ~ but, man, can I whistle LOUDLY for the horses!! <3 Learned that from my daddy, though!! 😉

  5. My grandmother died when I was around 10 and she would pinch you if she caught a girl whistling. Not the proper thing to do I suppose. I am now 55 and whistle just fine. So glad to finally know someone else has heard this. Love myy Southern Plate.

  6. I forgot to say this sound so much like many women in my family that came before me-they may not have been rich in monetary things-but love of God and family was passed down through the ages. I have had many whistling women before me.

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