To celebrate the holidays, Chanin and I went out to a very nice dinner on my company’s dime. Because my company has employees located in different parts of the world, it’s virtually impossible to get everyone together and have a “normal” Christmas or Holiday party. So each year Chanin and I celebrate on our own. This year we decided to have dinner at
So, we’re at the store the other day and spotted the Marsala wine and thought “Hey, we should make Chicken Marsala!” I love mushrooms so I went and picked some out and we also got a few of the other necessary ingredients. The next day I looked up some recipes with the help of FoodieView.com, which is a recipe search engine which searches lots of different sources. One of the recipes, from Cooking Light magazine, looked promising so we decided to make that one. I had planned on making this dinner but we decided that I should make the next dinner (probably Shrimp with Red Chiles, Ginger, Garlic & Scallions) and Chanin would make this one. She’s good at making adjustments and I pretty much just stick to the recipe so this one suited her better. I’ve put our version below but if you’d like to see the original (and slightly more healthy) recipe you can find it here.
Now, on to the recipe:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms (fresh) 3tablespoons finely chopped shallots 1 1/2tablespoon minced fresh garlic 4(6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 1/4teaspoon salt, divided 1/4teaspoon black pepper, divided 1/2 cupall-purpose flour 1 canfat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 3/4cup dry Marsala wine 1/2cup frozen green peas 3tablespoons heavy cream 1 packagefettuccine
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 teaspoons olive oil, shallots and garlic; cook until tender. Add mushrooms and cook 3 additional minutes; remove mushroom mixture from pan. Set aside.
Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to a 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chicken breast halves in flour.
Add butter to pan, and place over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add broth and Marsala to pan and scrape pan to loosen browned bits. Bring mixture to a boil and thicken with a flour water mixture (1 teaspoon of flour to 2 tablespoons water). Return chicken to pan and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes; add cream, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Return mushroom mixture to pan and stir in peas. Cook until thoroughly heated. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta.
Chanin modified the recipe to use some ingredients we already had on-hand and to make a larger amount of sauce. The original recipe was lower fat but considering that this made four big servings we don’t think it was too bad for us. I’ll just skip the ice cream tonight!
Today we made homemade French dip sandwiches for dinner. And when I say “we” I mean Chanin. I put the full recipe below so you can try it out sometime. It’s really easy to make (at least it looked easy from my view on the couch) and I’d highly recommend you give it a try because I think it was the best French dip I’ve ever had. And since it’s a crock pot recipe you get to smell it cookin’ all day. If anyone out there happens to try this please let us know in the comments!
Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches
- 1 (3lb) Beef roast
- 1 (1oz) packet dry Au jus mix
- 1 teaspoon Beef bouillon granules
- 1 teaspoon Onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Pepper, coarsely ground
- 1 thinly sliced Onion
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons light Soy sauce
- 2 cups Water
- Hoagie Rolls
- Trim excess fat from the beef roast, and place in a Crockpot.Add the next 9 ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, then on low for 4 hours.
- Remove meat and shred with two forks. Serve meat on toasted and buttered hoagie rolls. Skim fat from cooking juices and serve as a dipping sauce.
There’s nothing like a chilly day around the holidays to bring out my inner baker. I love baking (yeah, I know it’s kind of girly) but unfortunately don’t do it very often because I never seem to have enough time. But, today I had the urge to eat some cupcakes so I went in search of a good recipe. I looked online and found hundreds of recipes but ended up using my trusty cookbook “Baking Illustrated.” It’s a cool book that’s made by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and the people from America’s Test Kitchen on TV. I think I like it so much because it’s very scientific. All of the recipes are tested many times over with many different variables until the best combination is found. It suite me well since I’m a techie kind of guy.
The cupcakes turned out really well and definitely satisfied my craving. Chanin really like them also. The only thing that bothered me a little bit is that they seemed a little too “thick.” I feel like I need a big glass of cold milk to really enjoy them (but that’s OK because I love milk).
I attempted to do some fancy frosting work on the cupcake tops but that was pretty much a disaster. First, I tried using a Pampered Chef cake decorator but it didn’t hold enough frosting so it was a little tough to use. Then I used a pastry bag which ended up bursting about 1/4 of the way through the first cupcake. So I ended up just spreading the frosting with a butter knife which worked out well. I’ll pick up some real pastry bags and tips for the next batch.
Overall, the cupcakes were a success and I’d try this recipe again. It’s about time for bed right now but I’ll be looking forward to a cupcake for breakfast!!
Keep reading for the full recipe…
Yellow Cupcakes with Simple Chocolate Frosting
SIMPLE CHOCOLATE FROSTING
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. For the frosting: Bring the cream to a simmer in a small pan or in microwave. Put the chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream in. Then, cover with foil and let sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth and place in refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour.
2. Transfer the frosting to a bowl and whip at medium speed until it’s fluffy and and can form medium-stiff peaks.
3. For the cake: Heat over to 350F and line muffin tin with paper liners
4. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking power, and salt. Add the butter, sour cream, egg, yolks, and vanilla and beat the wet ingredients into the dry at medium speed until smooth and satiny (about 30 seconds). Then, mix by hand until no flour pockets remain.
5. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until tops are pale gold and toothpick comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack
6. Spread lots of frosting on top and enjoy!
If you’ve been reading the site you may already know that we’ve been contemplating which type of Christmas tree to buy. Real or Fake. We thought about it and eventually decided to go with a fake tree because we were just too worried about a real tree drying out and burning our house down. We spent a few hours this past weekend traveling around to some local stores to see what they had in stock. We had also looked online but the sticker shock was too much for us. Artificial trees can get really expensive so we were pretty surprised.
If you’re looking for an artificial tree we’d suggest looking at Michael’s (craft store) and Lowe’s since that’s where we had the best luck. We also looked at a few other stores including a pool store (Paddock Pools) but decided we weren’t ready to spend $600+ on a fake tree!!! Our tree from Lowe’s wasn’t exactly cheap but it looks real and nice and full.
Setting up the tree was pretty easy and it was nice to have a clean floor when I was done (no more pine needles!). We spent this evening decorating the tree and we’re really happy with how it turned out. The biggest downside is that it just doesn’t smell like a Christmas tree. We bought some special spray, which helps, but nothing can really replace that real tree smell. A few pictures are attached below and you can click them to enlarge them. This pictures don’t really do the tree justice but you get the idea.
We just finished watching The Polar Express (it was on ABC and we recorded it on our DVR) and we both really liked it. I was never that interested in it because when it came out I thought the animation looked kind of cheesy but I think we were both pleasantly surprised after watching it. We’re suckers for Christmas movies and we both really like to get into the spirit. The movie was made well and during many parts it really felt like we were a part of the movie. I’m sure all kids would love this movie as well. So if that sounds good to you then you should definitely check out this movie. It may be playing on ABC again sometime before Christmas but I’m not sure.
If you don’t believe in Santa you just might after watching this movie!
Have you seen it? What did you think? What are your favorite Christmas movies? To leave comments click on “Comment” near the title of this post.
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After noticing that my (humble) husband James never posted any information on the extremely major surgery he underwent just three weeks ago today, I thought I would post my first blog on this site.
Monday, November 6th James endured a four hour open-heart surgery in order to re- repair a congenital heart defect. He was born with Dextrocardia with Situs Inversus, an Atrial Ventrical defect and a Hypoplastic Pulmonary defect. In short, what this all means is that all of James’ organs are reversed, like a mirror image and that his heart and lungs have been adversely affected. Yes, it is a WHOLE lot more difficult than this very basic explanation, but this seems to be the easiest definition for most people to grasp.
During the surgery, James had a new conduit and valve placed, and had a large heart murmur closed. At 5 ½ years old, James had a similar surgery performed on him, and it was known at that time that James would need this surgery to be redone and completed as an adult.
As it is apparent by James’ recent blogs, he is doing remarkably well, just as his doctors expected, because of his young age and his otherwise good health. Prior to his surgery, James was silently suffering from shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat. The doctors’ warned us that if he did not have this surgery, over time he would develop Pulmonary Hypertension.
Since the surgery, although James has had a bout of Pericarditis, he has been progressing very nicely and is now walking quite a bit. His doctor said today that he should be ready to get back home, start working, and even drive again soon.
We are all very proud of James’ courage, strength and determination. He has had an amazingly well-natured disposition throughout this whole experience! I am so lucky to have such a wonderful and special husband!!