What’s for Dinner? How About Quick and Easy Chicken Marsala

We all have fall-back recipes that we know how to make well and that we know will taste good. Some fall-back recipes are simple fare, such as soups or sandwiches. And some are a little bit “fancier” that can function as a great meal for guests on the weekend or as just an ordinary weeknight meal.

For me, one of these go-t0 dishes is Chicken Marsala.

Chicken Marsala was one of the first dishes that I mastered and I made it for friends at a dinner party several years ago. It’s always a big hit, no matter if I make it for a lot of people or just for dinner one night.

You’ll definitely enjoy it!

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Chicken Marsala

Serves 4

(Photos in this recipe depict servings for more than four people)

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1  to 2 tablespoons of garlic powder (depending on preference)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • Marsala wine*

*Do NOT use the “cooking wine” version of Marsala.

Equipment:

  • Skillet
  • Shallow bowl

 

Instructions:

1. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, oregano, garlic powder, rosemary, parsley, and ground black pepper.

2. Over medium heat, add enough olive oil to the skillet so that the bottom of the pan is coated in a thin layer of oil.

3. While the oil is heating, dredge each chicken breast in the flour mixture. Each piece of chicken should be completely coated in a thin layer of flour and spices.

4. Carefully place the chicken in the pan. Try not to knock too much of the coating off in the process.

5. Brown the chicken on each side, for approximately 5-7 minutes per side. The flour will create a slightly crispy exterior.

This photo shows what the chicken looks like both with the pre-cooked flour coating and what it looks like when one side has been browned.

This photo shows what the chicken looks like both with the pre-cooked flour coating and what it looks like when one side has been browned.

 

6. Once all pieces of chicken are browned on each side, reduce heat slightly and add approximately 1/2 bottle of Marsala wine. (If you feel 1/2 bottle is not enough you can always add more. 1 full bottle is plenty for 8 pieces of chicken.)

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You’re ready to add the wine!

My go-to Marsala wine.

My go-to Marsala wine.

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The wine should nearly cover the chicken in the pan.

7. Bring the wine to a simmer over medium heat and cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until the wine has reduced and thickened. If you are having difficulty determining whether the wine has reduced, simply taste the sauce. If the alcohol taste is still very strong, continue simmering.

8. Serve with your favorite side dish such as potatoes, rice, pasta, or veggies.

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Nanny’s Chicken Noodle Soup

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Hi there! I hope you’re all enjoying your summer, despite this week’s super hot temperatures. Between job applications, work, and planning my own wedding, I’ve been keeping busy. I know most people don’t really crave soup during the summer, but I’ve been craving this traditional Williamson family dish ever since finding a recipe similar to it on Pinterest.

My mom’s mom, Nanny (Mabel), was, hands down, the best cook I’ve ever known. No one ever passed through the doors of her home without being offered something to eat, and everything she made was amazing. I remember staying over at the house during the summer, helping my Nan in the kitchen while my sister would be watching TV with our Pop (Ralph) in the living room. In the afternoons, we’d have toasted PB&J’s on Pennsylvania Dutch potato bread, and with whatever we would have for dinner, there was applesauce on the table. Always applesauce. Even though my grandmother was legally blind, she could still whip up delicious meals. This lead to more of a “to taste” and “to feel/texture” method of cooking, which is why I don’t think we’ll ever be able to make her chocolate peanut butter fudge topping correctly: she never wrote it down, so we don’t know the proportions.

After pinning a recipe for chicken noodle soup, one of my older cousins commented that it sounded like the one Nan would make. This is one of those “puts the meat on your bones” recipes, and I strayed from the Pinterest recipe a little bit to make it more authentic to the taste I remember. Enjoy!

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Yes, I *did* realize after I put the soups in the pot that I had forgotten to get a group shot of the ingredients.

Nanny’s Chicken Noodle Soup
Ingredients

1 26 oz. can of condensed cream of chicken soup (or whatever adds up to about 26oz.)
1 10.75 oz. can of condensed cream of mushroom soup (I accidentally threw that can out before I took this…)
3 14.5 oz. cans of chicken broth (or one BIG can)
2 cups diced, cooked chicken meat
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. seasoning salt (I left this out to cut down on sodium)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 9 oz. bags of Reames egg noodles*

(My mom reminded me that it has to be Reames egg noodles, since that’s the kind that Nanny always used.)

In a large pot, mix the cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, and chicken meat. Season with onion powder, seasoning salt, and garlic powder. Since Nan never really measured the seasonings, I didn’t either. I used the “about right” measurement. Bring to a boil, and stir in the noodles. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

 What are your family’s favorite recipes?

Make Dinner Easy: Roast a Chicken in the CrockPot

Looking for something easy and inexpensive to make for dinner tomorrow night? Have a CrockPot?

If you’ve answered yes, then I have a recipe for you!

It’s no secret amongst my family and friends that chicken is probably my favorite food. Mostly, I love it because it is such a versatile ingredient. So, I’m always looking for new chicken-related recipes.

Although I don’t mind more complicated recipes, easy recipes are always great to have when you’re short on time or simply don’t feel like putting the effort into making some extravagant meal. For example, I made Chicken Paprikash a few weeks ago for the first time and by the time I was done I needed a nap (just kidding).

So, I was very excited to learn that you could roast a whole chicken in the CrockPot. Oh, I love the CrockPot…haha.

Roasted Chicken is always a good bet.

 

 

Ingredients:

— 1 whole chicken for roasting*

— 1 cup water

— Olive Oil

— Seasoning of your choice**

*Make sure you buy a roasting chicken and not a frying one. All of the roasting chickens available at my grocery store were around 6 1/2 to 7 lbs.

**I used Chef Paul Prudhomme’s “Chicken Magic” Seasoning. However, feel free to use whatever you want. Many spice brands have a rotisserie spice blend that would be good. Also, you can never go wrong with plain salt and pepper!

Tools:

— 1 Large CrockPot (Remember, you’ll need to have a CrockPot that the chicken will actually fit in. My CrockPot is oval and works really well for this kind of recipe.)

— 1 pair of tongs

— 1 basting brush

— A small oven safe dish or ramekin (to prop the chicken up with)

Instructions:

1. Place the chicken in your kitchen sink and remove it from the packaging. (This can be somewhat messy, so have your waste basket on hand.) If your chicken was frozen, it should be completely thawed prior to cooking.

2. Once you’ve removed the chicken from its wrappings, you will need to remove any of the “innards” (giblets) that have been left inside the chicken’s abdominal cavity. Sometimes the giblets are in a small bag, but sometimes they are loose. Your best bet is to use tongs to remove them. After you’ve removed these items, rinse out the inside of the chicken’s abdominal cavity.

3. Prepare your CrockPot. I wanted to prop my chicken up a little in the CrockPot, so I placed a small oven safe corning ware dish in the bottom of the CrockPot. Also, spray the inside of the CrockPot with some non-stick cooking spray.

4. Place the chicken in the CrockPot.

5. Take a small amount of olive oil and baste the chicken with it. This will help the skin brown and become crispy.

6. Sprinkle your chosen seasoning over the chicken, making sure to coat the legs and wings.

7. Before you begin cooking the chicken, pour about 1 cup of water into the bottom of the CrockPot. Feel free to use less or more, depending on your personal preferences.

8. Turn the CrockPot onto the Low setting and cook for 6 to 7 hours. If you wish to cook the chicken in a shorter amount of time, you could cook it for approximately 2 hours on High and then reduce the heat to low for another 2 to 3 hours. When it comes to cooking chicken, it is all about temperature. The chicken is done when the internal temperature of the meat is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

9. Once the chicken is cooked, it will look like this:

10. Carefully remove the chicken from the CrockPot. Allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. This will allow the chicken to retain its moisture.v

Serve and enjoy!

Pinterest Made Me Make It: Chocolate Cobbler

I know, I know. I’ve been a very naughty blogger. But, I’m back now! Job hunting is time, and brain, consuming…

In my absence, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest and have found a good number of awesome crafts and recipes that I’ve been trying. Some have worked out, some haven’t. And there are still many more that I haven’t yet had the time to attempt.

When I saw this recipe for Chocolate Cobbler last week, I knew that it would be one of the recipes I tried soon. I mean, really, who doesn’t love chocolate?

“Granny’s Chocolate Cobbler”

I found this recipe through this Pinterest-linked blog. The recipe, however, is actually from Tasty Kitchen recipe website contributor Susan Hawkins.

While I’ve eaten similar ooey-gooey chocolate concoctions before, I’ve never heard it called “cobbler” before. I mean, cobbler is supposed to include fruit, right?

Regardless of the name, Chocolate Cobbler is extremely easy to make (you don’t even need a mixer!) and doesn’t require any out of the ordinary ingredients.

Serves 10

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 7 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup (5 and 1/3 Tablespoons) melted butter
  • 1 and 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Hot Water

Tools:

  • Ceramic or glass oven safe baking dish, approx. 8 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep.
  • Spatula
  • Whisk
  • 2 mixing bowls, one large and one small.

Instructions:

1. In the large mixing bowl, combine the flour, Baking Powder, and salt. To these ingredients, add 3/4 cup of granulated sugar and 3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder.

2. Using the whisk, blend these dry ingredients together so they are mixed evenly.

3. Add the milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract to the mixture. Using the spatula, stir until the batter is thoroughly mixed and smooth. Set this bowl aside.

4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the remaining granulated sugar (1/2 cup), the remaining cocoa powder (4 Tablespoons), and the brown sugar. Use the whisk to evenly mix the sugars and cocoa.

5. Even though the original recipe does not direct you to grease the baking dish, I went ahead and sprayed mine with some cooking spray to be on the safe side.

6. Add the wet, batter-like mixture to the baking dish and spread it out evenly. Then, sprinkle the sugar and cocoa mixture evenly over the batter. It will look like this:

7. Finally, pour the hot water over the top of everything. DO NOT MIX IT. Just let it be.

8. Place the baking dish in a 350 degree oven and bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, test the center of the cobbler with a toothpick. If it is still extremely wet when you pull it out, bake the cobbler for another 5 minutes. (NOTE: The toothpick will never come out completely clean since this is cobbler, and not cake or brownies. Use your best judgement.)

9. Remove the cobbler from the oven, let cool for at least 10 minutes and enjoy!

The cobbler is very similar to volcano cake or chocolate melting cake. It is meant to be eaten warm. The top is a crunchy, cake like crust and the inside is a molten chocolate sauce. Very good, but also best in small quantities. Add ice cream if desired — it is cobbler after all!

Note: I refrigerated the cobbler after people were done eating it. While I normally wouldn’t do this with brownies, cookies, or cake I wasn’t sure how the cobbler would behave since it was both wet and dry. (Better safe than sorry.)

I really liked this recipe, but I wonder how you could change it up a little bit. It would be interesting to try different types of chocolate (maybe dark chocolate) or possibly see how it behaved with different types of flour.

The Easiest, Most Delicious Potato Recipe Ever

Nostalgia is a powerful thing. Smells, sounds, tastes, feelings that just send you back to a previous time and place. It’s really amazing if you think about it. I heard a song on the radio last week that I probably hadn’t heard since it was first popular in 2000 — you know, one of those one hit wonder songs that were so bad they were good?  Even though I cringed at the lyrics that I now get at age 24 and went over my head at age 12, I still smiled and chuckled. It made me remember the people and events I spent those formative years with, and those memories, bad song or not, are always worth remembering.

But random memory triggers aren’t the only things that can bring you warm feelings. Consistency does that too.

Every Christmas Day, I go to my Aunt Susie’s (my Grandma’s sister) house for a huge Christmas open house. Situated on the border of a large park system, her house is a dream for a history person like me. It is filled with hidden nooks and crannies, with a double staircase, and a summer kitchen. And every year, like clockwork, she and my Grandma make what they have dubbed “Christmas Potatoes.” Even when my Grandma makes them at other times in the year (for smaller occasions) she still calls them Christmas Potatoes.

Really, they could be called Hungarian Potatoes. Or Paprika Potatoes. Or as they’re called in my own brain, Amazing Potatoes.

They’re probably so good because they are just so simple.

So, I figured I share the recipe with you.

Amazing and Easy Paprika Potatoes

Serves 4 -6 (All depends on how many potatoes are in each can)

Ingredients:

4 cans of Whole White or Whole New Potatoes*

1 stick of margarine (or butter)

1 heaping teaspoon of good Hungarian Paprika**

*The two names are interchangeable — they’re the same thing.

**The paprika is the most important ingredient. While you can make the potatoes with any kind of paprika, the better the  quality, the better the taste.

Instructions:

1. Open and drain the cans of potatoes. Cut any dark spots off the potatoes.

2. In a small saucepan, melt the margarine.

3. Add the paprika to the margarine, stir.

4. Drop the potatoes in the paprika-margarine mixture and coat them thoroughly.

5. Place the potatoes in an oven safe dish. I use a cookie sheet, but any oven safe dish or pan will work. Cover with aluminum foil.

6. Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

7. Enjoy!