Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Chicken Marsala. Sometime I feel really good at cooking

This might have been one of the best things I’ve ever made. Seriously, after I served it and we were eating, I wouldn’t shut up about how good it was. Well really Emeril is and I just copied him.

After my new found love for mushrooms, I had been wanting to try making chicken marsala pretty badly. The process started with me aimlessly trying to find marsala wine in the liquor section of whole foods. After some searching, I successfully found it without asking for help, which probably just left me looking more lost and helpless then if I had just immediately got assistance.

This recipe is super easy and so well seasoned. Maybe too well seasoned, but I like it. It calls for some of Emeril’s essence, basically a mixture of spices he concocted and trademarked as his own. This stuff is good though. The recipe calls for you to make way too much. So I have leftovers, which surely won’t be to waste.

Here is the recipe:

Chicken Marsala


- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
- 2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in halves and pounded thin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups sliced mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake)
- 3/4 cup Marsala
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped chives, for garnish
- Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme

1. First create the Essence by combining all ingredients. It makes about 2/3 cup and you won’t use all of it.
2. In a shallow bowl or plate combine the flour and Essence and stir to combine thoroughly.
3. Dip the chicken breast halves in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.
5. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
6. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
7. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter to the pan and add the mushrooms.
8. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown at the edges and have given off their liquid.
9. Add the Marsala wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
10. When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
11. Lower the heat to medium and return the chicken breasts to the pan and continue to cook until they are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add salt and pepper, to taste.
12. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately.

For the real deal recipe, look here.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Annual Batch of Christmas Chex Mix

It has been called Christmas Crack before. People go crazy for it. I go crazy for it. My sis and I made it one year to give as Christmas gifts. In the process, we ate probably half of it and had to make another batch, so we actually had enough to give away. It is purely addicting and I can vouch for that from personal experience.

This time around I made it sans sister, which just isn't the same, but the result was just as good. I don't know why I had not posted this amazing and staple recipe in my life until now, but better late then never! The original recipe came from Nestle Tollhouse Swirl Morsels. They no longer make these, which is quite sad, but Christmas M&M's are a good stand in. 
Here's the recipe for our:

Caramel Popcorn Chex Mix

- 9 cups toasted corn cereal
- 4 cups popped popcorn
- 1 1/2 cups slivered almonds
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 (10 ounce) package of morsels of some sort (If you go back in time to 2008, you can use the pretty Nestle Swirl Morsels)
- 1 (6 ounce) package dried sweetened cranberries


1. Preheat the over to 250°F
2. Grease a large roasting pan.
3. Mix cereal, popped popcorn and nuts in roasting pan.
4. In a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup.
5. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
6. Boil, without stirring, for 5 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla extract and baking soda.
8. Pour evenly over cereal mixture; stir to coat evenly.
9. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
10. Cool completely. Then stir in morsels and cranberries.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuscan Vegetable Soup

I do really like soup, but I feel every time I have made one from scratch (not counting chili is good!), I am not completely satisfied with how it comes out. It will be edible, but I won't look forward to having the leftovers. I have had a theory that soup taste better the longer it cooks and marinades. Soups made in a crock pot are probably best, but this soup has proved me wrong. In about 40 minutes, you are eating a flavorful bowl! 

Here's the recipe for Tuscan Vegetable Soup:

- 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium canellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 carrots, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 stalks celery, diced, (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 small zucchini, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes
- 2 cups of frozen spinach
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional


1. In a small bowl mash half of the beans with a masher or the back of a spoon, and set aside.
2. Defrost spinach in a microwave safe bowl.
3. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
4. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
5. Add the broth and tomatoes with the juice and bring to a boil. Add the mashed and whole beans and spinach and cook for about 3 more minutes.
6. Serve topped with Parmesan.
Original recipe can be found here.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Everything taste better in a jar

Mom and I are obsessed with Undercover Cupcakes from Cookie Confidential in Philly. Today we made our very own copycat versions!

I love drinking out of mason jars. Everything always seems to taste better in a jar! So why not put a cupcake inside one? Genius, right? Such a lovely presentation AND it allows for extra layers of frosting which helps fill my motto: the more frosting, the better!


1. Bake up any cupcakes of your choice.
2. After they have cooled, cut each cupcake in half horizontally. You will be using 1.5 cupcakes in each jar.
3. Prepare your favorite frosting and get it ready to pipe out. (You could also just spread it, but I found to get down deep into the jar it was easier to aim with the tip of a bag.)
4. Place your first layer of cake in the jar and pipe a layer of frosting on top.
5. Repeat process two more times.
6. Voila perfectly pretty jar filled cupcakes.

Monday, December 2, 2013

You know you are a cornbread fanatic when.....

These 3 events happen within a span of a week.

Sidecar Bar is my new favorite place in Philly. Because of this:

One of my favorite place to get cornbread is Whole Foods. They sell slabs out that you pay for by weight. While in NYC, I might have worked above a Whole Food and bought these on a daily basis. BUT to this day I have never had such a thrill as this:

Cranberry Cornbread!?!?!?!?! It's amazing! And only Philly is so lucky to have it!!!

I got home after Thanksgiving weekend and well whipped this up: