Friday, February 8, 2013

February 8, 2013

Another week come and gone.  It was a busy week (though that goes without saying these days!) and chilly, so I tried out a new recipe for soup night.  I made broccoli potato soup which I wasn't sure was going to be a hit, but I paired it with popovers which I knew would be devoured without hesitation.  I was thrilled when the entire dinner, soup and popovers, was enjoyed by all.  Our family has had neither broccoli soup nor potato soup before, so we had nothing to compare it to and we loved it!  As a point of reference, Ryan didn't even need to use Frank's on it!  Both the broccoli and the potatoes are highlighted, and the texture was nice.  I was a bit nervous to share this recipe precisely because I didn't know what it should taste like so I brought some of the soup to one of my best friends.  She loved it as well, so the soup definitely earned it's keeper status.  It would even be easy to turn this into a completely vegetarian soup by trading out the chicken stock for vegetable stock. We might do that during the upcoming Lenten season.

For the first time ever I made popovers.  I served along side the soup and at first they got some suspicious glances.  I told the kids they were going to love them if they gave them a chance and I was correct.  I grew up on popovers and they are, in my mind at least, amazing.  Airy goodness that melts in your mouth, especially when a little butter and homemade jam are applied.  (I am smiling at the thought of this...I will have to make these again soon).  When I asked my mom for her recipe she laughed a little because the ingredients are so commonplace and the recipe is so straightforward.  The final popovers are so beautiful you cannot believe how easy these are to throw together.  These would be a lovely addition to a dinner party menu because of the presentation.

As for the chicken Marsala - this is a favorite recipe of mine.  I haven't made it in a long time because a few years ago I was serving it almost once a week and my husband grew weary of it.  To celebrate my birthday I decided on this for dinner, and we all enjoyed it.  If you make this just remember to give yourself enough time to marinate the chicken!

Have a wonderful week!

New Recipes
Broccoli Potato Soup

Tried and True
Chicken Marsala

Broccoil Potato Soup

* 3 cups cubed peeled potatoes
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 cups chicken broth
* 1 3/4 cups water
* 1/2 tsp pepper
* 1/8 tsp salt
* 3 cups frozen broccoli
* 3 tbsp flour
* 1/3 cup skim milk
* cheddar cheese, for garnish
* minced fresh parsley, for garnish

1. In a large saucepan, combine the first 7 ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, simmer covered for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
2. Stir in the frozen broccoli, return the soup to a boil.
3. In a small bowl whisk the flour and milk until smooth.  Stir the flour and milk into the soup.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more or until the soup has thickened.  Remove the soup from the heat and let it cool slightly.
4. In batches process the soup in a blender until smooth.  Return the soup to the pan and reheat.
5. Serve the soup and pass parsley and cheese for each person to add as desired.

We have had neither potato soup nor broccoli soup, so we had nothing to compare this to.  That being said, we loved it!  Some at the table skipped the cheese altogether while others were a bit heavy handed with it.  It is a very satisfying soup without tasting heavy.  Perfect for a chilly winter night!


Ingredients (to make 12)
* 4 eggs
* 2 cups milk
* 2 cups flour
* 1 tsp salt

1. Heat the oven to 450.  Grease the popover pans.
2. Beat the eggs slightly by hand, then add the milk, flour and salt.  Beat the batter just until smooth.  Do not overbeat.
3. Fill the cups 1/2 to 3/4 full.  Bake for 25 minutes, and then lower the oven temperature to 350.  Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
4. When you take them out of the oven, immediately pierce the top of the popover with a sharp knife.  This slice allows the steam to escape and helps prevent the popover from sinking down into itself as it cools.

I grew up on these with Sunday pot roast dinners, and was thrilled to receive 2 popover pans for my birthday this week.  These are amazing fresh from the oven.  The recipe is so easy, and you probably have every ingredient on hand!  While popovers are best made in a popover pan, you can make these in a muffin tin, but they won't have the traditional shape.  You do want these to be quite dark, and when you take them out of the oven you might think that you have overcooked them.  But soldier on - slit the tops with the knife, and when you serve them they will have softened just enough and will be perfect!

This recipe is to make 12, but you can divide this to make 3, 6 or 9, simply make the appropriate adjustments to the ingredient amounts.  My kids loved these and now wonder why I haven't been making these for them for years.  Also - while obviously still bread, these do have higher protein and lower carbohydrates then most breads or biscuits.

Chicken Marsala

* 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
* 1 cup Italian salad dressing
* 1 tbsp flour
* 1 tsp Italian seasoning
* 1/2 tsp garlic powder
* 1/4 tsp paprika
* 1/4 tsp pepper
* 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
* 1 tbsp butter
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* 1/2 cup Marsala wine
* 1 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
* 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

1. Flatten the chicken to 1/2 inch thickness. Place it in a container or resealable bag with the salad dressing. Marinate for 6+ hours or overnight.
2. Drain and discard the marinade. Combine the flour, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, paprika and pepper.  Sprinkle the seasoned flour on both sides of the chicken pieces.
3. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, melt 1 tbsp of the oil and the butter.  Cook the chicken on each side until browned, approximately 2 minutes each side.  Transfer to a 13x9 baking dish coated with cooking spray.
4. Gradually add the chicken broth and wine with the skillet to loosen the browned bits.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Pour the sauce into a bowl and set aside.
5. Add the remaining oil to the skillet, and cook the mushrooms in the oil for 2 minutes.  Stir the sauce back into the skillet to combine with the mushrooms.  Pour the mushrooms and sauce over the chicken.
6. Sprinkle the chicken and mushrooms with the parsley,.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

We served this with egg noddles, but will work well with mashed potatoes or rice, or even just fine without a starchy side dish.  25 minutes was the correct time for me in my oven, but keep an eye on your chicken.  When it is pounded thinly and already browned, you may fund a few minutes less is the appropriate amount of time for your oven.  One last note - even my non-mushroom eaters enjoyed the flavor of this chicken and sauce; they simply pushed the mushrooms to the side of the plate.