Chicken with Mushrooms

There is nothing better than being able to cook a healthy delicious dinner in 30 minutes. If you eat a lot of chicken, like many of us, this dish is far beyond the day to day chicken dishes. It has a depth of flavor that makes it especially yummy.

I love the taste of earthy mushrooms, and this is a great way to add them to dinner. I like to serve this chicken with couscous and fresh green beans.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces sliced mixed mushrooms, such as button, cremini, and shitake
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large shallot, small dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup chicken bone broth
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

In a heavy skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken and place in the hot pan. Brown for 3 minutes each side, then set aside on a plate.

Add the butter, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan, and season with salt and pepper. Let the mushrooms cook until just softened, about 4 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar and fresh thyme leaves, let cook for another minute. Add in the bone broth and bring to a simmer. Place the chicken back in the pan, and any juices from the plate. Simmer on low until cooked through, about 10 -15 minutes. Chicken juices will run clear when fully cooked.

Plate the chicken in a serving dish and pour the mushrooms over the top and sprinkle with the fresh parsley. When plating put a serving of couscous on a plate, place a chicken breast and mushrooms on top, then add a few fresh beans on the side.


Pasta Meatball Bake

Some time ago I purchased an Instant Pot, and while it is great for some things, I do not like it for pasta. I tried a couple of times and the texture was just wrong. It was, hmmm, what word am I searching for here? Gummy, and not at all appetizing. However, the idea of making pasta all in one dish seemed practically genius to me.

I started looking and found a video where a home cook placed spaghetti and other ingredients in a baking dish and voila, a short time later, not gummy pasta. Since then I have tried various pasta shapes, ingredients, and sauces.

This is a great dish to make on days I know I’ll be working late. In a magical world I would go to the freezer and get a container of homemade marinara, and a packet of twelve small prebaked homemade meatballs and set them in the fridge to defrost all day. However, in reality, that happens about one out of ten times. Most of the time I make this dish with a good quality marinara like Rao’s. It is worth the money, and as close to homemade as I have ever found. If the freezer is depleted of homemade meatballs too, there is usually a bag of fully cooked Italian style meatballs from the grocery, I like Nature’s Rancher.

Pasta Meatball Bake

1 16 ounce box pasta (I like penne, rotini, or riccioli)
1 24 ounce jar sauce (I like Rao’s Marinara or Arrabbiata for some spice)
12 thawed fully cooked small meatballs (I like Italian style)
3 cups water
1 cup shredded good mozzarella cheese (I use shredded Swiss)
Garnish with fresh basil or Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 425

Give a 9 x 13 baking dish a light coat of cooking spray. In the dish put the pasta, meatballs, pasta sauce, and water. I like to swirl some of the water in the sauce jar to get it all. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add red pepper flakes if you want a bit of heat.

Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Check the pasta, it should be just about done. Stir and add the cheese. We don’t like a lot of cheese so 1 cup is enough, you can add more. I use swiss cheese most of the time, because Dean doesn’t like mozzarella unless it is fresh.

Leave it uncovered and put it back in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove and sprinkle the herb of choice on top. I serve it with a refreshing salad with a tangy vinaigrette.


Creamy Peanut Butter Fudge

I finally made Dean a batch of creamy peanut butter fudge. This recipe is super peanut buttery, and is incredibly tasty. I like chocolate fudge to be firmer, but for peanut butter fudge I like it softer and creamier. This recipe is always a crowd pleaser.

1 1⁄2 Cups granulated sugar
3⁄4 Cup unsalted butter (do not substitute)
5 Ounce can Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 1⁄2 Cups creamy peanut butter
2 Cups miniature marshmallows
1⁄4 Teaspoon Kosher salt
1 Teaspoon good vanilla extract

Using nonstick spray prepare an 8″ or 9″ pan and set aside. Parchment can also be used if you prefer.

Using a saucepan set to medium high heat add the butter, sugar, evaporated milk, and salt. Stir to mix and bring to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Allow the mixture to continue to boil while constantly stirring for 5 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the stove and add the vanilla, marshmallows, and peanut butter. Stir until completely melted and blended together into a smooth yummy peanut butter sauce.

Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and place in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. Using a knife move around the edge of the pan and flip over onto a board to release the fudge from the pan. Cut into desired size pieces. It is best to wipe the blade between slices so it results in cleaner cuts. Refrigerate and enjoy!