Tag Archives: shopping

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.


Thoughts on Black Friday: Can a Polly Pocket Marry a Transformer?

25 Nov

Today was Black Friday, and as my husband and I went through our day, some random thoughts and discussions came up. I figured I would throw them out there for you and see what you had to say:

1) Do you shop on Black Friday during the wee hours?

2) Do you shop on Black Friday online from home?

3) Do you shop at big box stores, at small local business, or at a combination of the two?

4) Do you try to buy the same amount of items for each of your children or do you try to spend the same amount of money on each of your children?

5) Do you have a list or do you see what strikes you as you go? Or by any chance, does anyone else have a spreadsheet? Just asking.

6) Can a Polly Pocket marry a Transformer? Our youngest is hoping Santa will bring a boy Polly Pocket so that she can have a wedding with her numerous girl Polly Pockets (and no we don’t watch Sister Wives.) My husband feels that Santa could probably bring a Transformer and he’d work out just fine for a wedding, but I do believe it must be a boy Polly Pocket. So what do you think? Can a Polly Pocket marry a Transformer?

My love-hate relationship with The Bins

29 Oct

The Bins

Today’s the day. I knew it was coming as the season began to change this month. Three weeks ago, it was Columbus Day Weekend and it was almost 90 degrees; my kids were in bathing suits. Two nights ago I was putting away laundry and there were still shorts and t shirts in the piles of clothes I was putting away. But, I knew it was coming.

One of my aunts calls the fall and the spring “The Black Holes of Fashion” because you never know how to dress. It might be chilly in the morning and hot by afternoon or cold at night and warm all day. It’s a constant game of layering outfits when I get my kids dressed each day or even myself: short sleeves and sweatshirts or long sleeves and leggings but no jacket.

Usually I look for a long weekend to do my bins, to switch my closets over, but judging from last night’s weather forecast for this weekend prior to Halloween, I told my husband, “It’s time,” and up into the attic he went last night so that when I arrived home there were stacks of bins halfway to the ceiling, full of clothing.

I am grateful that we have three girls and lots of girl cousins because get lots of hand-me-downs and we hand everything down after we’re done, to pay it forward. I can’t even imagine having to buy all new clothes for a boy and a girl for example, every single year, as my mom must have had to do. When you have “one of each” you can’t hand anything down from one to the other. But, having three girls and so many hand-me-downs to store, presents an issue: where do you store all those clothes for years and years, and how?

Originally when we had one daughter and no idea who was going to be born next, we saved everything and we had one stack of bins in our garage. I stored them labeled with a Sharpie marker by size and by season since here in New England we are lucky enough to have all four seasons. I narrow it down to Winter and Summer, lumping spring and fall in there as well. As we had more and more daughters however, and acquired more and more clothes (the outfits seem to multiply like the proverbial rabbits) we had to come up with a better way to store it.

Our solution was to have someone come in and access our attic for us. We were unable to do a pull-down stairway method, so every spring and fall my husband brings in a ladder from outside, sets it up in our bedroom and up he goes to take down the bins. Then I sort through all of the clothes, sending off anything that we’ve grown out of for good to the next lucky girls, and then sending him back up into the attic with the bins re-labeled for next year’s season. It’s a whole weekend process at least.

Currently we have ten bins and three bags of assorted clothing ready to be sorted this weekend. It’s a grueling process, but I will say this: I have an odd attachment to their clothes. I get very sentimental as I put them away each year and I get a slight thrill each fall and spring as I take the clothes out of the bins. I find myself saying, “Oh I loved this outfit on your sister!” as I pass it down to the next daughter. I love to hear them be excited when a certain outfit is now theirs, something that they always admired on their older sister. Or, as I pass down the special occasion dresses, I remember the photos they took or an event they attended in a particular dress, and I do get somewhat misty-eyed, I must admit. In fact, when it came time to give away my baby clothes for good (only saving the dearest and most special pieces) I photographed every single one. I have a folder with 42 pictures of baby clothing in it on my Kodak Easyshare site.

So as much as I am dreading my task this weekend, I am thankful to have the abundance of clothing to pass down to my girls, thankful I only have my oldest daughter to outfit each season, and I am looking forward to seeing what clothing is going into the drawers this year that we’ll be oohing and aahhing over this time around.