Cooking for me is a lot like exercising. It’s something I never really WANT to do, but if I make myself do it I always feel better afterward. I wish I were one of those people who naturally love exercising & cooking because I’d probably be a lot healthier if I were. But sadly I am one of those mere mortals who thinks of exercising & cooking (& cleaning while we’re at it) as mostly drudgery that I somehow never really look forward to no matter how much I know I’ll feel better if I just do it. In any case, in keeping with last week’s blog post about making 2014 a healthier, happier year, I felt inclined to post two recipes that I employed for lunch today, both of which turned out absolutely deliciously!
The “main dish” I made today was chicken marsala. I’ve made it once or twice before but this time I had to adapt the recipe a bit because I didn’t have any mushrooms. Here is the original recipe that I based mine off of: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-marsala/
I’m basically incapable of following a recipe “to the T” because I never seem to have all of the exact ingredients on hand or else I just don’t feel like using them all. For example, any time a recipe calls for salt & pepper as seasoning, I almost always skip them (like with this one) because I figure as an American I probably already eat way too much sodium as it is so why add more when it doesn’t impart much extra flavor anyway (in my opinion, that is)? So below is a quick description of how I adapted this recipe to fit my tastes/needs.
- Place a couple tablespoons of butter in an iron skillet on medium low setting on the stove top. (My other cooking issue is I hate measuring so mostly I just guess & hope for the best. It usually works out just fine.)
- While the butter is melting, combine about ¼ cup flour & a few teaspoons of garlic powder & oregano.
- Dip chicken breast strips in the above mixture. I use pre-cooked frozen grilled chicken strips from Sam’s Club because they are easier & encourage me to do a lot more cooking than if I have to work with raw chicken all the time.
- Place the lightly breaded chicken strips in the skillet. Cover with lid & cook for 2-3 minutes (considerably longer if using raw chicken I suppose).
- After a few minutes, add a few tablespoons of white cooking wine (I couldn’t find actual marsala wine but plain white cooking wine seems to work & taste just as well). Replace lid & let simmer for another 3-5 minutes; again length will depend on if you use raw or pre-cooked chicken.
Next up is baked rosemary butternut squash. I truly cannot believe I’ve learned to enjoy any type of squash because as a child it was something I hated. Even the smell of it made me nauseous. But I have learned over time that most Southerners cook vegetables completely wrong. No offense to my family & many other Southern families, but boiling vegetables & then seasoning them with nothing but salt, pepper, & butter is quite possibly the least tasty & least healthy way to eat almost any vegetable (boiling can kill off some of the vitamins & other healthy ingredients in veggies). I recently discovered an AMAZING recipe for a butternut squash/sweet potato/carrot soup (http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2010/05/curried-carrot-soup-with-pan-toasted.html),
& since then I’ve been enamored with butternut squash & finding new ways to cook it. Here’s the original recipe that I used today: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/rosemary-roasted-butternut-squash/
Again I had to adapt the recipe a little bit because I didn’t have fresh garlic or rosemary twigs on hand. And again I left out the salt & pepper.
- Set oven to 400 F.
- Peel & cut butternut squash into small chunks.
- Coat long cooking dish with olive oil. I used an 8 X 11 (I guess?) Pyrex dish.
- Sprinkle rosemary & garlic powder into the oil. Again I didn’t measure; I just guessed.
- Add in squash pieces to evenly cover the dish.
- Sprinkle a little more rosemary & garlic powder on top the squash.
- Place in oven & cook for 30 minutes. The recipe says 45-50 minutes but mine was done in 30 minutes.
Voila! Two very easy & relatively healthy homemade dishes. I guess my idea of healthy is a little different than some. I for one do not espouse the idea that to be healthy you have to be a vegetarian or vegan (nothing wrong with doing that if you choose; I just don’t think it’s the only right way). And I would much rather use REAL BUTTER than some disgusting fake margarine crap any day. Yes, it might have more calories but it’s also REAL. I trust cows more than stuff created in a science lab. (With that being said, I am very guilty of drinking diet sodas. It’s a bad habit I’m working on.)
I hope these recipes have given you some inspiration today. If you decide to try them, let me know how they turn out!