But I very seldom follow it. ~Alice In Wonderland
I’ve been feeling much like Alice with my cooking lately (hence the lack of blog updates in the last two weeks or so). She wanders around lost in Wonderland, sees a little bottle of a strange liquid with a tag that says “drink me” so she drinks it. She thinks about for a second. . .
“If one drinks much from a bottle marked poison, it’s almost certain to disagree with one sooner or later.”
But in the end, she drinks it. Why does she drink it, you ask? Well, because that’s what it says to do, of course! Duh. What would YOU do? Not drink it? Oh, please. You’d be curious too…just like Alice!
So how does this relate to my kitchen conquests? Let’s say I find a recipe that I’m interested in trying, but in reading over it I think of a couple things that I think may improve it. But then I get nervous. I’m not the expert, right? The person who wrote the recipe for this magazine/major website/cookbook are the experts. I should do what they say. They say “drink me,” I say “okay, get me a glass with some ice.” I give myself good advice, but I never want to follow it!
Here’s the thing though….9 times out of 10, I should. The reason I haven’t updated my blog lately is because the last few new recipes I’ve made have been mediocre at best. I can’t put something in my blog that I don’t recommend. That just defeats the purpose of blogging all together! The worst part is, those recipes would probably be in here had I just followed my gut and made the changes I thought I should make. First, I tried a pie that had a pat in the pan type of crust (a butter/flour/oat mixture pressed into a pie plate). The recipe did not call for baking it off before adding the filling and the crumb topping and baking it again. I wanted to because I thought it might by soggy if I didn’t. I ended up following the recipe and guess what….SOGGY! Still tasty, but not blogworthy. It fell apart when I tried to cut slices and put them on plates. BOO!
Then I made a baked pasta dish that was a complete and total flop and I think it would have been delightful had I just went with my gut and subbed regular marinara for a big can diced tomatoes with juice. But I didn’t…cuz I’m not smart like that. That one was so awful I could hardly eat it. Blech!
Tonight, I took a recipe that I know we love and put my own spin on it. This Chicken Marsala Pasta Toss is inspired by this recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. I had cooked chicken on hand so breading and pan frying like I usually do was out of the question. Instead I cubed the chicken, made a quick marsala pan sauce and tossed it with whole wheat rotini. The results were totally yummy!
CHICKEN MARSLA PASTA TOSS (Recipe Inspired by: Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
- Half a box of whole wheat rotini
- 2 tsps olive oil
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 1 1/2 cups sliced button mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cut into cubes
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp dried marjoram, crushed
- 2 tbs. butter
- 2 tbs. flour
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry marsala wine
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.
Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet, cook green onions and mushrooms until tender, about five minutes. Season with a pinch of salt. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add remaining olive oil to skillet and add chicken. Season with salt and pepper and add marjoram, stirring until just warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
Melt butter in skillet and add flour, stirring to form a roux. Cook for one minute. Slowly add chicken broth and wine, stirring constantly. Simmer sauce until bubbly and thickened. Add chicken and veggies to the sauce and heat through. Add sauce mixture to pasta and toss to combine. Garnish with additional green onion strips, if desired.