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all to myself

March 23 2009 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Chicken,Recipe » 30 comments

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I had almost forgotten what it felt like to eat dinner before dark, with the waning sunlight falling golden all around you, with the windows open, with a lazy easiness.  I did just this on Saturday night with my mother sitting across the table, two twinkling tea lights and a platter of chicken marsala between us.  And it was lovely, just lovely.  Get this: we even went for a walk around my neighborhood after dinner.  It was that warm!

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My mom was in town for the weekend, while Kevin was away with his friends (on mancation, as I like to call it), which means I had her all to myself.  What a treat!  We took full advantage of the one-on-one time by doing all the things we both love to do (but that certain other family members, ahem, aren’t so keen on).  We walked, we watched girlie television shows and movies, we went to a musical, we sipped sauvignon blanc and cava, we swapped  recipes and food magazines, we ate, we cooked.  While I worked on Friday, she even read the book I just finished, so we could talk about it over the weekend.

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We fit a lot into the short time she was here and, by Saturday night, we had the fatigue to prove it.  We had dinner reservations, but we ended up cancelling them and staying in.  My mom had a hankering for chicken (her husband is poultry-averse) and I was craving mushrooms (my husband, as is well documented on this blog, is a fungus-phobe).  Chicken marsala was the perfect fit (plus, it was one of my favorite things to eat at an Italian place near my parents’ house growing up and it always reminds me of my mom anyway).

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So she wielded the meat mallet to pound the chicken breasts, while I sliced mushrooms and shallots into thin half-moons; I boiled the fettucine while she slathered some thin asparagus stalks with olive oil; she set the table and poured the wine while I pan fried the chicken and let the mushrooms and some tiny frozen peas drink up the rich marsala sauce.

Then we feasted, with that golden light falling around us, with those windows open, with that lazy easiness, with that walk waiting for us after we ate.  All in all, the weekend was a complete indulgence—and over too soon.  I miss her already and I hope she’s having a spectacular birthday today!

Chicken Marsala
Adapted from Cooking Light

Printable Recipe

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
kosher salt and fresh-cracked black pepper1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons cream
8 ounces whole wheat fettuccine, cooked in boiling, salted water

Heat oil in a large skillet; add mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Cook 3 minutes or until moisture evaporates; remove mushroom mixture from pan. Set aside.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the pounded chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Place the flour in a shallow bowl and dredge the chicken breasts through the flour.  Shake to remove excess flour.

In the skillet used to saute the mushrooms, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Return mushroom mixture to pan; add broth and Marsala, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Stir in peas; cook 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon butter, cream, and salt and pepper to taste, stirring until butter melts. Return chicken to pan; cook until thoroughly heated. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta.

30 comments so far. »
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  1. Allison says on March 23 2009 at 11:55 am:

    I may not have enjoyed the musical but I KNOW I would have loved this meal and of course to have been in your company! Sounded like she got her perfect birthday weekend, well done!

  2. KatieJ says on March 23 2009 at 12:03 pm:

    This looks fabulous.. I guess the only thing that’s stopped me from making this is the bottle of Marsala…i’ll have to purchase one immediately! LOVE fungus and so does my hubby!

  3. Whitney Merritt says on March 23 2009 at 2:19 pm:

    Sounds like a wonderful weekend. I enjoyed part of my Spring Break at home with my mom.

  4. Sarah says on March 23 2009 at 2:36 pm:

    Whoa… this looks exquisite! Marking the recipe for my next dinner with guests. :)

  5. April says on March 23 2009 at 2:39 pm:

    What a sweet post. I almost teared up thinking of the wonderful week I just spent with my mom and how sad that I am it’s over now, too. Moms have no idea how wonderful they are, do they? The chicken marsala looks really tasty and pretty!

  6. sue bette says on March 23 2009 at 3:37 pm:

    Sounds like a great evening – I’m so thankful spring is here and the sun is still out past five.
    I love the way you plated the marsala.

  7. Melissa says on March 23 2009 at 3:58 pm:

    This makes me even happier that I am traveling to Texas by myself next week to see my mom for her birthday. You created quite a sense of that bond through your post and your food. :) And it’s one of my favorite dishes, both to make and to eat. Just lovely Kristin!

  8. Diane says on March 23 2009 at 4:18 pm:

    The weekend was fabulous..each and every second of it! Thanks for pampering me and indulging me in all my favorite things.It made my birthday so very special.The chicken marsala was as flavorlicious as it looks, I’m still doing my mmmmm,,mmmmm,Love, MOM

  9. Chocolate Shavings says on March 23 2009 at 6:28 pm:

    That sounds like the perfect dinner – family and good food!

  10. noble pig says on March 23 2009 at 6:31 pm:

    Absolutely beautiful, but it sounds like the company was even better. Sweet story.

  11. MommyAmy says on March 23 2009 at 8:06 pm:

    Oh how I loved evenings like that with my parents growing up! They were very into long walks after dinner, such good bonding time. I really hope to give my girls such memories as they grow up. :)

  12. Monica h says on March 23 2009 at 9:57 pm:

    I love mother-daughter time.

    Happy Birthday to her!

  13. anya says on March 24 2009 at 2:43 am:

    Having read your story, I feel a pang of missing my mother something really fierce. Kristin, you are a wonderful writer – you stir emotions and capture attention!!

  14. Val says on March 24 2009 at 4:25 am:

    Very tasty looking meal! Can’t wait to try this. Thank you for sharing the recipe & excellent pictures. ;o}

  15. KT says on March 24 2009 at 7:23 am:

    What a wonderful way for me to start the day – a new recipe, and a reason to call my mom and let her know I miss her! (Beautiful photos too, I love how the peas look so crisp…)

  16. Tabitha (From Single to Married) says on March 24 2009 at 7:29 am:

    Oh I’m jealous – girl time is the best, especially with moms! And your dish looks delicious!

  17. PA says on March 24 2009 at 7:53 am:

    I made this last night. So good! I just love everything you post. Thanks!

  18. Betsy says on March 24 2009 at 10:52 am:

    What a lovely post. I’ll have to try this one, as my husband loves chicken and mushrooms.

  19. Tracy says on March 24 2009 at 12:37 pm:

    Love this presentation! Am so copying this the next time I make a chicken and pasta dinner.

  20. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on March 24 2009 at 5:24 pm:

    Ali: We missed you! xo

    KatieJ: We had to get Marsala, too. And had to go to two stores to find it! But I’m stocked up now.

    Whitney: Your last Spring Break! Hope you enjoyed it.

    Sarah: Thanks! I hope you give it a try. Let us know how it goes, if you do.

    April: I don’t think they do.

    sue bette: Thank you!

    Melissa: Oooh, have a great trip!

    Mom! So glad you liked it (though I’m not so sure I can get behind the word “flavorlicious”). Such a fun weekend. Miss you. xo

    Chocolate Shavings: Well said!

    noble pig: It was, it was.

    MommyAnn: It was our thing, too. A girl thing, always.

    Monica: Me too!

    anya: Thank you so much.

    Val: Let us know how it goes!

    KT: Aww …

    Tabitha: Thanks!

    PA: Instant feedback! I love it! Thanks so much for letting us know how it turned out.

    Betsy: This will be perfect, then. I hope you enjoy it!

    Tracy: Thanks! And copy away … : )

  21. Farmer Gal says on March 25 2009 at 10:49 am:

    Whew, you’re making me hungry and you’re making me miss my mom! This recipe looks so good.

  22. ashley says on March 25 2009 at 11:54 am:

    This is such a lovely post! This dish looks so great, thanks for sharing :)

  23. maggie (p&c) says on March 25 2009 at 12:15 pm:

    Mancation! I love it.

  24. JIll says on March 26 2009 at 6:32 pm:

    I am new to your blog. I made this tonight and LOVED IT! Can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow. Thank you!!!

  25. Kelly says on March 27 2009 at 8:31 am:

    I’m one of those people who really can’t cook but I was inspired by this recipe. I tried it last night and it was a hit. Yum!

  26. maris says on March 28 2009 at 8:46 am:

    Your chicken marsala looks good but it sounds like the meal with your mother was absolutely wonderful!

  27. Kevin says on March 30 2009 at 12:47 pm:

    That is one tasty looking meal!

  28. JIll says on April 08 2009 at 8:37 pm:

    I made this for my Bunco group tonight and people were IN LOVE with it! Thank you so much for the delicious recipe. I served on a big platter, like your suggestion (though I would not have normally done that) and it was fabulous! Thanks!

  29. Michelle says on April 17 2009 at 2:08 pm:

    Hi! I made this last night and it was delicious. My lunch leftovers were even better, thank you for the great recipe!

  30. Kerry says on June 05 2009 at 12:16 am:

    This looks devine the family and I will be trying this out later out this week. cheers.

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