Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Valentine's Dinner for Two

I appeared on KARE 11 Showcase MN this morning and prepared an easy dinner for two. This year I made Chicken Marsala since boneless chicken is much less expensive that beef tenderloin (my favorite). Marsala wine is a fortified wine produced in Sicily. A small bottle lasts a long time and costs less that $8.

Here's the menu:

Chicken Marsala (main dish)
Serve Chicken Marsala with egg noodles and steamed broccoli or asparagus. Top the broccoli or asparagus with Gremolata. (See below).

Makes 2 servings

¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced shallot
¼ cup Marsala wine or chicken broth
¼ cup chicken broth

Place the flour and salt in a plastic food storage bag. Add the chicken and shake to coat well. Heat the oil and butter in a 9-inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat.

Add the chicken and cook until one side is browned, about 3 minutes. Turn and add the mushrooms and shallots and continue cooking until the second side is browned.

Pour the Marsala into the pan and stir to remove the browned bits from the pan. Add the chicken broth and cover. Reduce heat to low. Cook about 5 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center.

Tip: If the sauce is too thin, blend 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 1 tablespoon butter until it forms a paste. Crumble a little at a time into the sauce and cook briefly until the sauce thickens. To use cornstarch to thicken the sauce, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 tablespoon Marsala or water and stir into sauce.

Gremolata: Gremolata is traditionally served with Osso Buco but turns everyday steamed broccoli or asparagus into a celebration. Combine 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, 1 clove garlic and chop together. Season with salt and pepper.

Fabulous Fudgy Brownies (desserts)

“These brownies are really good,” my daughter commented as she went back for seconds. Unlike brownies from a box, they have a fudgy, deep chocolate flavor and moist, dense texture, and they can be prepared almost as quickly. Omit the glaze if you’re adding other toppings.


1/2 cup butter
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup butter

Place butter and chocolate in a medium bowl and set bowl over, not in, simmering water until chocolate melts; or use a double boiler. The last little lumps will melt as mixture sits. Cool slightly.
Heat oven to 350°F with oven rack in middle. Line bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, extending foil about 2 inches beyond pan on each long side. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine sugar, vanilla, and melted chocolate in a large bowl, and stir slowly to mix. Add eggs and mix with a wire whisk until well blended. Slowly stir in flour until it disappears. Whisk about 15 seconds or until smooth. Pour into prepared pan, pushing batter into the corners.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until center seems set when touched lightly with a finger. Brownies will also start to pull away from pan edges. When set in center, the batter won’t jiggle. Cool in pan on wire cooling rack.
For the glaze, melt 1/4 cup butter and semisweet chocolate in a small bowl set over, not in, simmering water, stirring occasionally. Cool until slightly thickened.
Pour glaze over brownies and spread evenly. Let stand until glaze is set.
Remove brownies intact from pan by loosening ends with a metal spatula and lifting, using the aluminum foil. Cut into bars. Make sure foil is not stuck on bottom of any brownies.
For Valentine’s Day, cut two brownies with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce with toasted pecans.

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