At least once a day I discuss what I am making for dinner with family, friends or even strangers at the grocery store. While chatting on the phone with a friend a couple days ago, I mentioned that I was making Chicken with Shiitake Marsala for dinner that evening.
"I am just making baked chicken," she commented. "Your dinner sounds too fancy and complicated to make for my family."
"Poppycock," I replied. (I really didn't say poppycock. I just like saying poppycock.) But I did explain to her that making something a little different for dinner was not difficult at all.
Most dinner entrees I prepare (and have posted on my blog) actually can be prepared in about a half hour. And my dinner making time is usually not a continuous chunk of time as I am also doing laundry, picking someone up from somewhere, and getting ready for the next day's personal chef client all at the same time. It is not rocket science to prepare a good dinner. It just takes a little planning to make dinner interesting.
Here is how I get dinner on the table during the week with have a minimum amount of thought and stress on my part.
On Sunday afternoon, I chose 3 entrees to make during the week. With leftovers and nightly activities, about 3 dinners is a good number for me to prepare between Monday and Friday. I hit the grocery store with my list and buy everything that will be needed for the meals. That way, I won't have to run to the store at 5 p.m. with the other harried dinner-makers to pick up a pound of ground beef or a package of mushrooms.
When it comes time to make dinner each night, I tape my recipe to the kitchen cabinet so I can refer to it and note any changes I have made along the way.
one pan dinner that was a snap to prepare. Don't let the fancy, restaurant-sounding name scare you from making this tender chicken entree with a Marsala sauce loaded with shiitake and crimini mushrooms. All the ingredients are readily available at your local grocery store so picking up the ingredients is a one-stop shop.
Our family enjoyed the Chicken with Shiitake Marsala along with steamed broccoli and cranberry brown rice (1 and 1/4 cups brown rice simmered for 45 minutes in 2 and 1/2 cups chicken stock and tossed with 1/2 cup dried cranberries the last 5 minutes of cooking) that was served along side.
The most glowing review came from My Oldest.
"Dinner was just bursting with flavors. From the sweet of the cranberries mixed with the brown rice to the garlic and mushrooms in the sauce on the chicken, it all went together well. And it was so colorful too."
Sounds like a restaurant review. Or maybe just an extremely hungry teenager.
Shake up dinner in your kitchen this week. Give Chicken and Shiitake Marsala a try for your family tonight.
Chicken with Shiitake Marsala
5 chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each), boneless and skinless halves
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 package (3.5 ounces) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 package (10 ounces) crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 heaping tablespoon flour
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1 cup chicken stock, low sodium
1 medium tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Heat a large saute pan to medium high heat and add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook for about 4 - 5 minutes per side or until just barely cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
In the same saute pan over medium high heat, add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the chopped onion, garlic, both types of mushrooms, and basil. Saute for 8 - 10 minutes or until the onions and mushrooms are tender. Sprinkle with the flour and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the Marsala wine and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 2 - 4 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add the tomatoes and the chicken and continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until it is heated through. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve.