29 June 2010

Italian Deliciousness

Eric and I have discovered in the past year or so that we enjoy being in the kitchen together. I love to cook and plan healthy, delicious meals for my family, and Eric loves to be with me, so we've learned that the kitchen is a great place for us to enjoy some time together once in a while. I still do most of the cooking around here, but, when Eric helps, it makes me melt a little inside. 

For our anniversary, I decided I wanted to make one of his favorite Italian dishes, chicken marsala. Prior to this, I had never cooked with wine, so I didn't even know where to begin. I asked a couple of friends and did some research. Marsala wine is apparently not an easy find. I probably could have found it if I went to Whole Foods or an actual wine store, but we're on a tight budget. My friend, Mindy, suggested that we use merlot, and so we did. 

It turned out perfectly. I researched several recipes before deciding which one I wanted to use as a guide. I made a couple of changes (next time, those changes will involve less fat). The flavor was amazing. I look forward to making it again (though it will not frequent our menu because the calories are pretty high). 

Here are the recipes for the incredible meal we enjoyed on our anniversary. Chicken marsala, roasted garlic mashed red potatoes, and roasted honey almond green beans. Yum! If you try any of these recipes, please let me know how it turns out and what you think!

Chicken Marsala

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
1/2 C flour
3/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 t oregano (dried)
1/4 C plus 2 T butter
1/4 C plus 2 T olive oil
2 C sliced mushrooms
1 C marsala or merlot wine (NOT cooking wine)
3 cloves roasted garlic (or 2 cloves freshly minced garlic)

Combine flour, salt, pepper and oregano. Dredge chicken breasts lightly in flour mixture and place in large skillet in which the oil and butter have warmed. Cook for 3 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken. Add mushrooms, garlic and wine. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Chicken and mushrooms will finish cooking and the sauce will reduce.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes

6 medium red potatoes
4-6 cloves roasted garlic (to taste)
1/3 C milk, cream or evaporated milk (skim milk works fine, but cream or evap milk would probably be even tastier)
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste

Combine cooked potatoes with other ingredients (boil or baking works best). Mash them the way you would any other potato recipe combining all the ingredients together. I creamed mine together in my kitchen-aid, but they would be great done the traditional, chunky way with a hand masher.

Roasted Honey Almond Greenbeans

1 lb. fresh green beans
1 T olive oil
2 T honey
1/3 C sliced almonds
salt and pepper to taste

Snap ends off fresh green beans. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over green beans and toss to coat. Spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

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