Its been a crazy week

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And I am really not in the mood to deal with this….

Oh well. Into the breach, y’all.

Chicken Marsala

We don’t often go to Olive Garden (and an Actual Italian Restaurant is directly out). It’s a bit pricey for our budget (we are sooooo cheap), and it’s not very preschooler-friendly. But every time we do go, I get the Stuffed Chicken Marsala. It’s gloriously delicious. I’d always kindof assumed that it was a difficult recipe, so I’d never tried it. But if there’s one thing that food blogging has taught me, it’s that the fancy recipes that we think are difficult are actually easier than takeout.

Chicken Marsala has a very small ingredient list, and many of them are things you already have. If I want to make this, I do need to plan ahead because I don’t generally keep mushrooms or Marsala wine in the house, but they’re both easy to obtain. I based this on the recipe in my BHG cookbook (they don’t seem to have it online) – the main difference is that I stuffed the chicken with cheese and herbs and they don’t.

Here is my ingredient list:
- chicken breasts (I used 2 big ones – in the future I’ll use smaller ones)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp dried marjoram (or substitute as you like)
- 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper
- 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
- shredded Italian cheese (a single kind like parmesan or a mix, as you prefer)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup Marsala wine

For equipment you will need:
- small bowl
- something to pound chicken with
- cutting board
- plastic wrap
- skillet (cast iron is, of course, recommended)

Watch carefully; this recipe is so short that you might miss it.

Step one: Mix the flour, seasoning, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl.

Step two: Lay the chicken on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and pound it until it’s around 1/4 inch thick.

Step three: Careful now! Use a sharp knife to cut a “pocket” in each piece of chicken. Stuff this pocket with cheese and any herbs you may want (I used marjoram, to match the breading).

Step four: Dip the chicken in the flour mixture (step one) and shake off excess – they only need a light coat. Set aside.

Step five: Melt one tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Saute the mushrooms and green onions in it, over medium-high heat, until they’re softened. Remove from skillet. (I just put them back into the measuring cup.)

Step six: Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and allow to melt. Add the chicken breasts (don’t crowd the pan) and allow them to brown on each side. This’ll take about 6 minutes or so.

Step seven: TURN OFF the heat. Move the skillet to a different burner. Add the mushrooms and green onions back to the pan. Make sure there are no flames about, and add the Marsala wine to the pan, followed by the chicken broth. (I actually mixed the two together in a measuring cup.)

Step eight: When the liquids have calmed down a bit, put the skillet back on the heat and bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes. The liquids will thicken into a lovely sauce.

Serve! It’s really good with pasta, but I suspect it’d also go well with rice! You can put it on a plate and stage it all pretty if you want, or you can just devour it, your choice.

I was absolutely amazed at how SIMPLE this recipe really is. It took less than 30 minutes, only a few ingredients, and the hardest part was pounding it out! (Bonus for doing it on a busy weeknight: take your frustrations out on the chicken.) Seriously: this is how difficult it was to make:


That’s right: wearing a Legend of Zelda hoodie, one hand in the pocket. You can practically do it in your sleep. (That’s also how glamorous it is to be a nobody food blogger.) This is only marginally more difficult (if at all) than any of the typical “weeknight” recipes you’ve got in rotation, and definitely adds a touch of class to your Wednesday night.

Do you have any restaurant recipes that you love, but are afraid to try at home?  (Make a suggestion and maybe I’ll try it for you!) Have you ever tried a “fancy” recipe and been surprised by how easy it was?

Chicken Spaghetti

My dear friend Kayla recently made this for a gathering at her house, and we all fell head over heels in love with it. Her Chicken Spaghetti is delicious. To die for. And best of all, easy! Please welcome my first guest poster!

When Jamie was trying to come up with recipes for her “Basic Recipes Everyone Should Know” list, she polled a few of her friends, myself included, for their favorite and fallback recipes. When I suggested chicken spaghetti, she asked if I’d guest post it, since apparently I’m famous for it. It’s quick, simple, and delicious and you only need a handful of ingredients to make it, most of which you probably have on hand.

I forgot the cheese

Ingredients:

2-3 chicken breasts (I use 3 usually)

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

3 cups dry spaghetti (broken into 2″-3″ pieces)

1 yellow onion

2 cups chicken broth (homemade or store bought)

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Optional ingredients:

1 4oz jar of pimentos
1 green bell pepper

First fill and boil one stock pot of water. Add your chicken and boil for a few minutes then simmer for 30-45 minutes. When your chicken is done reserve two cups of the broth that it was cooking in (or use 2 cups store bought broth). Shred your chicken, if you have a stand mixer – USE IT, if you don’t, go ahead and shred it by hand this time but buy a stand mixer before you make this again.

Stand mixer? No this is my chicken shredder

Next break your spaghetti into 2″-3″ pieces until you have about 2 1/2-3 cups uncooked (I suppose you could do this while your chicken is shredding). Cook the spaghetti in the remaining broth (that you cooked the chicken in) until al dente. While the spaghetti is cooking, go ahead and dice your onion.

Looks like 3 cups to me

Don't cry, it really is a simple recipe

When the spaghetti is cooked drain it and dump it into a large mixing bowl (I use a giant snack bowl that I got during Halloween a few years back, it’s the perfect size. I’m sure they sell them during other holidays too). Add the chicken, soup, onion and 1-2 cups of cheese and stir.

There's only about a cup of cheese in here. I don't always measure (shhh)

You’re going to have a thick goopy mess at this point that is going to be relatively difficult to stir. That’s where the chicken broth comes in. Slowly add the broth (starting with 1 cup) until the spaghetti is stir-able but not soupy. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and top with the remaining cup (or however much you want) of cheese.

Don't forget the cheese!

You can cover it and freeze it for up to 6 months at this point, or refrigerate it for up to 2 days, but I usually want mine right away. Tent the dish with foil (so your cheese doesn’t burn) and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes – until hot and bubbly. Take the foil off for the last 5 minutes of baking et voila – chicken spaghetti! Serve with garlic bread and vegetable of your choice.

Finis!

I stuck mine under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the cheese a bit, but then I forgot about it so I didn’t end up with deliciously stringy melted cheese this time. It still tasted great though!

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