Chicken Marsala a la Cooking Light

One thing I love about Cooking Light magazine is they offer so many recipes of classic, fattening dishes in new, lighter, and healthier recipes. One great example of this is their Chicken Piccata recipe which is still a favorite of mine. But today, we are talking about Chicken Marsala. This recipe calls for some of the butter to be refined. I am not sure if that is in part to save some calories or if its a traditional way of preparing Marsala, so if you skip this step, please do at your own risk.

  • 4 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • cooking spray
  • 1 8oz. package of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup fat free, less sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 dry Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 2 Tbsp. half and half
  • 4 cups of hot, cooked fettuccine

Place 3 Tbsp. butter in a glass bowl and microwave for 45 seconds or until melted. Let stand for 1 minute. Skim foam from surface, discard. Pour melted butter through a fine sieve over a small bowl, discard milk solids. Set refined butter aside.

Heat a large non stick skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Add mushrooms, garlic and shallots and cook until moisture evaporates, about 3 minutes. Remove mushroom mixture from pan, set aside.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle both sides of each breast with 1/8 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish and lightly dredge chicken breasts in flour.

Add clarified butter to pan over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan.

Return mushroom mixture to pan; add broth and Marsala, scraping pan to loosen brown bits. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced down to about 1 cup.

Add peas; cook for 1 minute.

Add remaining butter, half and half, remaining salt and pepper and stir until butter is melted. Return chicken to pan and cook until thoroughly heated through. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta.

Indian Chicken Curry (YUM!)

I am not Indian, I have never cooked Indian nor have I ever been to India. As far as the authenticity of this dish, I can only compare it to the half dozen or so times I have gone to or ordered out from an Indian restaurant and the reviews it got on, which is where I found it. I’d say it holds up pretty well! My husband and I were very pleased at how well it turned out! It was quite delicious, pretty simple and the house still smells incredible. I served it over rice and with homemade naan.

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger root
  • 1/2 tsp. white sugar
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Heat olive oil over medium heat and cook onion until slightly browned. Add garlic, curry cinnamon, paprika, bay leaf, ginger, sugar and salt, stir for 2 minutes. Add chicken, tomato paste, yogurt, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Remove bay leaf, stir in lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Serve over rice or with naan.

Chicken Pot Pie with Flakey Butter Crust

This is simply the best pot pie I have ever tried in my life. Additionally, I tweaked the way I normally make pie crust and honestly, I have never tried a better crust. I can’t wait to try it with a dessert pie soon! First, you are probably familiar with a basic pie crust recipe that calls for chilled butter and ice water. When they say chilled, they mean chilled and when they say ice, they mean ice. It is the difference between a flaky or doughy crust. What I did was freeze the butter and then grate it with a cheese grater. I also chilled the water until ice crystals formed. I do believe that made the incredible difference I speak of!

Alright, here is the fabulous pot pie recipe, from scratch (with the exception of chicken broth, I did use store bought.)

For the Crust: (You make this twice, once for the top layer and a second time for the bottom.)

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, frozen and grated
  • 1/4 cup ice water

For the pie filling:

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup frozen peas (I didn’t have any peas so I used corn and it worked well)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 large potato or 2 small, diced (peeled if desired)
  • poultry seasoning to taste
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 of an onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth (divided)
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1 cup milk

For the crust:

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Grate butter.

Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles course crumbs.

Mix in water, 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture forms a ball. Careful not to over work it. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

On a floured surface, roll dough to fit 9″ pie pan. Tip: with each roll of the rolling pin rotate crust. Flatten it while keeping an almost perfect circular shape at all times. When its time to transplant dough to pan, very gently roll the dough up (like a poster or map) and then unroll on pie pan. And don’t forget to repeat this recipe or you will only have half the crust!

Before filling the pie, bake the bottom crust in pie pan at 425 degrees for 6 minutes.

For the pie filling:

Preheat oven to 425. In a pot, combine chicken, carrots, peas, celery, potatoes, and poultry seasoning. Add broth to cover mixture, about 2 cups.

Boil for 15 minutes, remove from heat, drain and discard liquid. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat butter over medium heat and cook onions until tender and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, celery seed, and garlic salt. Slowly stir in remaining 2 cups of broth and milk. Simmer on medium-low heat until mixture thickens.

Combine sauce and chicken/veggie mixture. Toss to coat.

Pour into prepared pie pan. Don’t forget to bake the bottom crust for 6 minutes before adding filling! Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut slits for steam to escape.

Bake at 425 for 35-40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Shredded Chicken Tacos

We all have an idea of what a taco is, right? A hard shell stuffed with ground beef, flavored with a packet of taco seasoning topped with cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce and maybe some tomatoes. Although these tacos sometimes hit the spot, they are no more a Mexican dish than a plate of sweet and sour pork. In California we are blessed with taco trucks, restaurants, and markets bringing us the purest, most authentic Mexican food this side of the border. Here is one authentic, delicious Mexican taco recipe that will please every taste bud on your tongue and redefine the word “taco.” Thank you, for this recipe which will now be a staple in my kitchen.

  • 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp white distilled vinegar
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 1/2 tsp ancho chile pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds bone-in skin on chicken breasts (you could also use thigh, legs parts)
  • adobo sauce to taste
  • 1 package corn tortillas

For the garnishes: (optional)

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • lettuce, tomatoes, avocados
  • hot sauce

In a medium bowl, mix together tomato sauce, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and sugar. Season with adobo, set aside. (I put about a tablespoon in mine.)

Season chicken with adobo. Heat oil in a large non stick skillet over med-high heat.

Cook chicken until lightly browned on both sides, turning once, about 5 minutes. Add reserved tomato sauce mixture, (be careful, sauce and oil will splatter) bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low, cover, simmer until cooked through, flipping once, about 20 minutes or until internal temp reads 170 at thickest part of breast.

Transfer chicken to a cutting board; reserve sauce in pan. Remove and discard bones and skin, using 2 forks, shred meat and return to pan.

In skillet mix chicken and sauce, continue to cook until sauce reduces and blends with chicken and begins to caramelize. (about 10 minutes.) Transfer mixture into serving bowl and spoon into warm tortillas and garnish as desired.

Chicken Piccata

This is a wonderful, lemony fresh way to prepare chicken. Its light, delicious and so tender you can cut it with your fork. The capers and parsley meld perfectly with the lemon, its simple, fresh and healthy!

  • 12 oz boneless, skinless chicken tenders
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp capers, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper

Pound chicken tenders with the smooth side of a meat mallet or with a rolling pin covered in plastic wrap. Flatten until 1/4″ thickness and then dredge through flour.

Heat a large skillet over med-high heat, add the oil and heat until sizzling, place the chicken in the skillet. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and cooked through. Add lemon juice, parsley and capers. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Season with pepper.

Serve the chicken with the juices from the pan. Yield 4 servings.

Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This recipe was a new one, it is from the latest issue of cooking light. The chicken is moist and delicious but my favorite part was the stuffing which I think would make a great spread on a toasted baguette or even tossed with baby greens and a little olive oil. At only 210 calories per stuffed chicken breast, make sure you save room for dessert!

  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/4 crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • salt
  • pepper

Preheat broiler. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise, discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin side up on a foil covered baking sheet. Flatten with hand, broil 15 minutes or until blackened.

Place  bell pepper in a ziplock bag, seal and let stand for 15 minutes.  Peel and finely chop. Prepare grill to medium high heat. Combine bell peppers, cheese, olives, and basil.

Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast to form a pocket. Stuff 2 tablespoons of bell pepper mixture into each pocket and close opening with a toothpick.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken on grill coated with cooking spray. Grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from grill, cover loosely with foil, let stand 10 minutes.

Spicy Chicken Shawarma

I’m sure I have mentioned, I have 2 favorite magazines as a source of my most favorite recipes. One of them is Cooking Light, and that is where I found this little keeper.  The recipe calls for tahini which is a sesame seed paste and a staple in the Middle Eastern diet. You can find it at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and I have even heard Costco. Well, I don’t have a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods near me and since the recipe only calls for 1 tablespoon, I am not sure what I’d do with a gallon of it from Costco. If you are in the same boat, you can try making your own but again, that is a lot of leftover tahini. Anyway, you can substitute with hummus which is what I did, or according to Alton Brown, peanut butter will do.

  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 5  tablespoons  plain Greek-style yogurt, divided
  • 2  tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 1  pound  skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
  • 2  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  tablespoon  tahini
  • 4  pitas, halved
  • 1/2  cup  chopped cucumber
  • 1/2  cup  chopped tomato
  • 1/4  cup chopped red onion

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in 1 tablespoon yogurt, 1 tablespoon juice, and 2 garlic cloves. Add chicken; toss to coat.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until browned and done, stirring frequently.

While chicken cooks, combine remaining 1/4 cup yogurt, remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, remaining 1 garlic clove, and tahini, stirring well.

Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons tahini mixture inside each pita half; divide chicken evenly among pita halves. Fill each pita half with 1 tablespoon cucumber, 1 tablespoon tomato, and 1 1/2 teaspoons onion.

Walnut-Crusted Chicken Breast with Pomegranate Syrup

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup walnuts finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp minced crystallized ginger (or candied ginger, its the same thing)
  • 6 cups of mixed greens

Preheat oven 425, coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Whisk the egg with the water in a shallow dish. Combine the walnuts, bread crumbs, and salt in another shallow dish. Dip the chicken into the egg and then the nut mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet and coat with cooking spray.

Bake, turning once, for 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 165. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice breasts.

Meanwhile, bring the pomegranate juice, honey, and ginger to a boil. Boil about 15 minutes until reduced by half. Remove from heat, set aside.

Arrange mixed greens on a plate, place chicken on top and then drizzle with pomegranate syrup.

Be careful not to over dress with the syrup. It is so delicious but this is a classic case of less is more, the syrup is very strong and will over power your dish if you put too much on.