Tag Archives: Pricerite

Resolutions and Recipes: Chicken Marsala

5 Jan
chicken marsala

Tonight's dinner!

Chicken Marsala is one of my favorite meals. Don makes a great one. Each time I had a baby, the night before we went to the hospital (or in Alex’s case the night before the first of four times we thought we were going to the hospital) he asked me what I’d like for my “last meal” and it was Chicken Marsala every time.

Chicken Marsala is also one of those cheap meals that we keep in our rotation of meals. We don’t make it every pay period by any means, but maybe once every month or two. Did I mention it’s one of my favorite meals?

Here’s what we spent on tonight’s meal at PriceRite and Aldi’s:

Mushrooms: $1.99

Whole wheat spaghetti at Aldi’s: $1.09

Bag of frozen chicken tenders at Aldi’s: $5.99 but we only used six of the tenders, not the whole bag, which is usually about 18 tenders, so we used about $1.99 worth of tenders.

TOTAL: $5.00 plus we had a salad so add another dollar or so.

For our Marsala wine, we use Holland House Cooking Wine that I keep on hand all the time (I keep both Marsala and Sherry cooking wines on hand.) We used about 1/4 cup tonight.

Here’s the thing about Don though: he’d make a great video blogger chef or a great webinar blogger chef because he cooks without a recipe. He’s a fantastic cook but it’s almost always out of his head.

So tonight, we did our best to get his recipe out of his head and onto a piece of paper (rather, onto a paper napkin) so that I could pass it along.

Here it is:

Step one: cook the chicken.

Take 6 chicken tenders (or however many you think you need) thawed and cubed, and cook them. You can bake them, fry them or saute them. He fried them tonight, which in my opinion is the best, but not the healthiest way (shocker.) Tonight before frying them, he rolled them in flour first and added a little salt and pepper too.

Technically they don’t even need to be cooked all the way through because they’re going to go back into the pan in a little while.

Take them out and set them aside. He puts them in a dish that has paper toweling on it, to catch the grease.

In the same frying pan, saute the mushrooms in either butter or olive oil. We buy fresh, whole mushrooms and either slice them as we did tonight, or cube them, depending on what we’re cooking.

Put the chicken back in and saute together.

Next, de-glaze the pan by adding in the 1/4 cup of Marsala and 1 cup of chicken stock.

While the pasta is cooking, add the Marsala Wine and the Chicken Stock.

You can be cooking your pasta at the same time.

Cook chicken, mushrooms, marsala and chicken stock together until it boils.

Cook the chicken, mushrooms, Marsala and chicken stock together for a minute or so until it comes to a boil.

Season with salt, pepper, garlic and basil.

At this point Don likes to thicken up the sauce to just how he likes it. In his words, “I take pats of butter and roll them in flour and add in enough pats of butter and flour until it’s the way I like it.”

He said you can also make a rue of butter and flour if you would like, or you can just add the flour to thicken.

Once the pasta is done, we toss it all into a serving bowl with the chicken and Marsala on top. He sprinkles parsley on top for looks.

We used to always make a bed of rice for under the chicken, and sometimes we still do, but when we lived in New Jersey, one of our favorite Italian restaurants served it over pasta, and ever since then, that’s an option for us as well. That’s the way the kids like it best. Using the wheat pasta makes it a bit healthier too.


Resolutions and Recipes: A tip I can share, and a recipe I can’t

4 Jan

Our gravy recipe is top secret!

When I was growing up, the day my mother “made the gravy” which some of you call sauce, was a huge deal. It was an all-day affair and included the cooking of both the meats (pork chops and meatballs) and the sauce. The house would smell incredibly good all day long and we knew that at the end of the day (literally, not figuratively) there’d be macaroni and meatballs for dinner.

The recipe was top secret. No one knew it and it was a combination of recipes from both grandmothers, according to my mom. When she was cooking the gravy you had to stay out of the way and not touch anything, not even the wooden spoon that sat in the pan all day. That spoon was part of the reason the gravy tasted as good as it did.

The gravy recipe yielded more than enough gravy for just one meal, and my mom would divide up the extras into “Newport Creamery” ice cream containers and freeze them that way for future meals. (Those of you in New England know what Newport Creamery is!) Then, on a busy night, instead of having to cook an entire meal from scratch, one of us could just take out a container of gravy and transfer it into a microwave bowl for reheating. Boil some pasta, make a salad, and there’s dinner.

My dad used to joke that he couldn’t “trade her in for a newer model” because my mom would take with her the secret to making the gravy and without that, he would never survive. That and a whole bunch of other things, but really that’s a whole other post. 🙂

When I got married and it was the day of my bridal shower (August 6, 1995) I received a small wrapped box from my mom; it hardly weighed anything at all. But, what was inside was worth its weight in gold, and more. It was….the recipe for the gravy, along with a card which read, “From me to you, one of the secrets to a good marriage. Love, Mom.”

The recipe and the card, in the original box, truly is one of the secrets to a good marriage.

Clearly, I can’t share the recipe with you. It’s top secret. I keep it in the original box, with her card and the box is labeled down the side because I store it like a cookbook with all my other cookbooks, and also because when I was working as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator one day, I got a cell-phone call from my husband (who usually had to make the gravy since I worked weekends.) I whispered into my phone, “What’s wrong??” because he never called me when I was working. “I can’t find the recipe for the gravy,” he said. Hence the red Sharpie title down the side of the box.

For several years I made the gravy myself, but I did let him in on the secret when I started my Stampin’ Up! job so that we didn’t miss out eating it just because I was working. What I can share with you though is this: Making your own gravy and meatballs is a huge money-saver and so much more delicious than not.

See the wooden spoon? Very important.

The total cost of our gravy according to yesterday’s PriceRite receipt is as follows:

Crushed Tomatoes: $2.97 total for the three cans needed

Tomato Paste: $1.56 total for the four cans needed

Grd. Beef for meatballs: $12.72

Pork Chops for the sauce: $8.57

Total: $25.82

We store ours in ziploc bags in our freezer, marked with the date.

That amount of money gave us EIGHT meals. Our pasta is 88 cents per box so you need to add that into each meal as well, plus the cost of your salad that night if you make one.

So for about $5 per meal (that includes the salad and the pasta,) you get an AMAZING dinner that feeds five of us, and I mean amazing. There is nothing like a homemade macaroni and meatball dinner. That’s one dollar per person, per meal. Can you beat it?

homemade meatballs

The kids rolled these, they get more and more uniform each time they do it. Although we did get the question, "Can we make these any shape we want?" No...

There is the opportunity for the kids to help out if you’d like, when rolling the meatballs. The recipe makes for a ton of meatballs so once again, having the extra sets of hands does make a difference and their pride in being able to say, “We rolled all the meatballs,” as you take your first bite, is priceless. Some day our girls will each have the recipe as well, so it’s good to give them this experience early on.

You can make it in the crockpot or on the stove. We had a lot of meatballs this time, on purpose, so it took up two stovetop pots.

So there you have it, the recipe I can’t share with you but the tip for saving money and eating well that I can. I hope that at least that part of it helps you in your meal planning and budgeting!