Comfort Food: Chicken Marsala

When Evan started his job in the fire service, there was definitely an adjustment period- scheduling is a bit of a hassle, and it’s surprisingly rough to adjust to not sleeping next to another person every night. What I didn’t anticipate, though, was the freedom that I get from having every third day to myself…which I mainly use to make food that Evan wouldn’t love. That’s right, friends- I don’t get to look at my husband for one out of every three days, but I do get to cook anything I want. #hiddenbenefits!

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Recently, I’ve really had a strong craving for comfort food. I grew up with grandparents that farmed, so we ate a lot of incarnations of beef and potatoes. As a result, my comfort food is (kind of grossly) anything that contains gravy. Also, as it happens- Evan hates all of my gravy-heavy childhood favorites. So last duty day was the perfect time to break out my mom’s Chicken Marsala recipe.

This recipe has lots of steps, but as long as you prep everything in the beginning, it’s pretty straight forward. It’s my understanding that some people put Chicken Marsala over pasta, but that seems ridiculous- gravy goes over potatoes. Consequently, I serve mine with garlic smashed potatoes. You can certainly make your own starch decisions 🙂

Chicken Marsala

–          ½ onion

–          2 cloves garlic

–          12 ounces mushrooms (I used baby bellas and oysters, but whatever you like is certainly fine)

–          1 ½ pound or so chicken breast halves (I just wanted to make sure I had four pieces)

–          ½ cup flour

–          Salt, pepper, olive oil, butter

–          ½ cup marsala wine

–          ½ cup chicken broth, divided

–          2 tbsp heavy cream

IMG_4814Prepare your ingredients: first, mince onion and garlic. I have a crazy garlic mincer that we got as a wedding present (over a year ago) that I just found in the drawer, and I love it! It has wheels on the bottom so you use it like a toddle zooming a toy car, it chops everything finely, and I don’t have to get garlic everywhere, and it washes very easily- I highly recommend it. Also, cut your mushrooms either into slices or quarters- I couldn’t commit, so I used both shapes. Measure the flour into a wide/flat bowl or just onto a plate, season generously with salt and pepper, and set aside. For the chicken, place each breast half between some waxed paper and pound to about 1/2-1/4 inch thin- if you don’t have a meat mallet, you can certainly use a rolling pin or even a bottle of wine. No judgment here!

IMG_4820 Make the chicken: heat a heavy bottomed skillet to medium, and add two rounds of olive oil and about a ¼ inch slice of butter. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour (lay chicken in flour to coat each side) and place in a single layer in the hot skillet. Cook until golden brown and cooked through, about five minutes on each side. Remove chicken from skillet and let rest on a plate while you make the sauce.

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Make the sauce: turn the heat to medium low. Deglaze the skillet by adding about ¼ cup of chicken broth, along with the onions and garlic, and gently scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the deliciously browned bits. Add the mushrooms and continue stirring the contents of the pan for about five minutes, or until the mushrooms are softened and golden brown. Add the rest of the chicken broth with the marsala, and cook for about three more minutes, slightly reducing the sauce. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in cream, and return the chicken to the pan, coating with marsala mixture. Serve over your choice of starch and enjoy!

Father’s Day

Every summer I get the idea that I’m going to have all of this time to relax, and enjoy the nice weather, and be very serene and peaceful. And every single summer I’m surprised at the alarming amount of activity that I need to engage in, none of which involves laying in my hammock chairs reading a book.

IMAG0910Yes, everyone is busy in the summer. Luckily for us, Evan and I are usually ‘good busy’- last weekend we went to our first college reunion, which was awesome, and next weekend will be a whirlwind of visiting with our niece. This past weekend was a similarly frantic few days, but I was so happy to be able to spend some time with my dad and Grandpa.

My grandparents were a little amused by their first selfie.

My grandparents were a little amused by their first selfie.

I also finally met my brother’s girlfriend, who was darling, and her puppy. Howie was pleased to find his new bestie 🙂

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It’s hard, sometimes, to make the drive up to see my family. Every time I do, though, I feel like I get the gift of time and relaxation- I can’t feel guilty for not checking things off my list when I’m not at home, right? That’s so restorative. Did anyone else do anything refreshing this weekend?

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Plated Review

So, a few weeks ago I saw an ad on Facebook for Plated– have you heard of it? It’s a food delivery service (that originally got its start on Sharktank, which I think is awesome) that delivers exactly enough food to create two servings of a meal; each week there are six or eight meal options. Evan and I aren’t independently wealthy, so I normally would not be interested in shelling out $15/serving for a meal that I still have to cook- that seems a little steep, since getting a decent restaurant meal will also run me about that much (in Ohio) with the added bonus of no dishes. The promo, though, was $20 in shipping for four meals, and I can handle $5/plate. So, after perusing the menu and engaging with paypal, I was scheduled to receive two meals. Here’s my review:

Plated   As promised, I arrived home from work to a Plated box sitting on my front porch. Although it was delivered a few hours previously, it was packaged with insulation and some ice packs, and everything inside was still cold.

Plated PackingWhen I opened the package to take inventory, I was delighted to see all the tiny packages and bottles. Two things, though- this feels like a ton of waste! I’m not usually overly environmentally conscious, but between the box packaging and the ingradients packaging, I thought I was throwing a lot of things away. Also, I was missing a chicken breast and had to go pick one up to make the meal. Customer service was great- they apologized and added credits for two free meals to my account, which was lovely. But…I still had to make that extra trip that food delivery should, ideally, eliminate, and then I had to buy two more meals, because the minimum to ship is four meals. So…I don’t know if my take away here is positive or negative. Likely, it’s pretty neutral.

Pork CutletsAnyway, the first meal I made was Pork Cutlets with Peas and Salsa Agresto. I kind of felt like an Iron Chef with the salsa- there were a few herbs, and two kinds of nuts. The salsa went perfectly with the pork, which was a bit plain, but there was a ton left over. Also, as it turns out…I don’t actually love peas. I’m glad that I tried them, though- they were really nice and fresh, and I like trying new things. You’ll also notice some salad on my plate. Maybe Evan and I are over eaters, but a piece of pork and some peas was a bit skimpy for dinner for us, and we like to supplement anything we can with salad. So, overall- the food was good, the ratio of protein to sauce was a bit off, and the calorie count (700/serving) seemed pretty high for the actual amount of food we were eating.

BBQ ChickenThe second meal we made was Pulled Spicy BBQ Chicken with Pico de Gallo. This meal was a bit more work- make the rice, roast the chicken, chop all of the pico ingredients, make the BBQ sauce. Again, though, the instructions were clear and I felt like a super chef, which is nice. I liked the idea of making the BBQ sauce and was surprised at how well it turned out- I would probably make it again in the future if I wanted to impress someone. The pico was also delish, but we were unclear on what to do with it since we usually eat pico on chips. The rice and beans were good, but a bit dry and bland, so we solved both of those problems by mixing in the pico for some ‘fiesta rice’. Also, we put the chicken on buns, but we know that’s just a personal preference. Overall for this one- everything was good, we were a bit confused about what to do with the pico de gallo and had a ton of rice and beans leftover (at least half).

Overall, I love the idea of Plated- I don’t always have time for meal planning, and it really does take discipline to plan your shopping trips and get the right amount of everything. I’m not prepared to make a final decision, since we still have a few more orders coming to us, but I’m excited to see what our next experience brings. Have any of you tried Plated, or another meal delivery service? How do you like it?

**If you’re interested, you can get two free plates of your own with this link!