Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Chicken Mushroom Marsala Pasta

This was a recipe shared on a food message board that I belong to and this recipe sounded like something I would really like to try. I admit to changing it up just a bit to accommodate our tastes. I believe that this dish could easily be served for a dinner party.

I always prep all ingredients before preparing a dish.


This was a delicious and a quick and easy pasta dish.

Chicken Mushroom Marsala Pasta

1/2 pound ziti, cooked and drained according to package directions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Portobello mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry Marsala wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, separated
8 ounces mozzarella, cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons fresh flat leaf-parsley, chopped
2 chicken breast halves, roasted and cut into bite sized cubes (see note below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions, al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a separate sauce pan heat oil and add mushrooms. On medium heat sauté until the mushrooms are lightly browned. Add onions, salt and pepper and sauté until the liquid has evaporated. Add the marsala wine and cook until all liquid has evaporated. Add in butter, stir until melted and then add in flour cooking for a minute to a minute and a half. Slowly add chicken stock stirring constantly while scraping the bottom of the pan as you add the stock. Reduce heat to a simmer stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.

Add the pasta to the sauce and mix thoroughly. Then stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan, cubed mozzarella, fresh parsley and roasted chicken. Taste for seasoning and combine all ingredients. Pour into a buttered casserole topping the mixture with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in pre-heated oven until lightly browned.

Note: Roast two chicken breast halves that have been salt and peppered and drizzled with a little olive oil in pre-heated 350 degree oven until done. About 20 to 25 minutes.

I always use baby Portobello's since I think they have so much more flavor than the white ones. You could also do a mixture of mushrooms for even more excellent flavor.

I think this recipe was originally to be a simple side dish but adding the Roasted Chicken certainly made it a main course.
My husband has never been one to eat much chicken but he certainly liked this dish. Paired with some simple Roasted Vegetables or even a Mixed Green Salad with a special dressing and you have wonderful Dinner Party Fare. I think the only thing missing would be a dessert and in my next post I will be sharing a quick and easy Blackberry Cobbler topped with some ice cream. I can't think of anything better to serve to put this dinner party fare right over the top.
I am linking this post to Foodie Friday hosted by Michael Lee at Rattlebridge Farm. Just click HERE to see lots of wonderful recipes shared.
I hope you will try this recipe, you won't be disappointed.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Blueberry Season

It is that time of year when blueberries are in season and soon to be ready to pick. I know we get blueberries in our super markets almost year round but there is nothing like the fresh taste of blueberries right off the bush.

We have numerous blueberry bushes at our farm in South Georgia and last checked they are almost ready for picking. We have so many blueberries that we share with any of our friends and family who want to come up and pick. The birds are enjoying them as well. I plan to pick as much as I can and freeze them for future use and plan to try as many blueberry recipes that I have time to prepare.

This particular bush being in full sun is always loaded with berry's. Another benefit of our farm is that my husband often plants sunflowers in the field beyond and the beauty sitting on our rocking chair front porch is amazing.
Recently I prepared a recipe that was shared by a  fellow blogger for a Lemon Blueberry Cake, Julie at Accounting For All My Blessings. I have made many cakes that were made with blueberries and lemon and most were like pound cakes. I've prepared them in many different ways but this is the first time I had prepared or even eaten a Blueberry Cake with a Cream Cheese frosting. This was one of the most amazing cakes I have ever eaten and my family just loved it.

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
Zest and juice from 3 medium lemons
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Cream cheese frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 to 4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour three 9x2-inch cake pans spraying each pan with baking spray. Note: you can use two cake pans, increase the baking time.

Using a mixer with a paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), beat the butter on high until creamy, about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir lightly until everything is just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. The batter is thick, do not overmix as you will have a tough, dense cake!

Spoon batter evenly into the 3 prepared cake pans. Bake for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto racks and let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, in a mixer bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 minutes. Add 4 cups confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon cream, and vanilla extract, with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Check for thickness, adding more confectioners' sugar if too thin or more cream if too thick. You want it spreadable.

Using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd cake layer, more frosting, the 3rd cake layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. Top with blueberries and/or lemon garnish, as desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting.

This was probably one of the BEST cakes I have ever made, any cake made with buttermilk is IMO outstanding. I think one of the things I liked most about it was the unique and wonderful texture.

My husband liked it so much he has already asked me to bake this cake again. It didn't last long in my house. I prepared this cake for a family dinner and everyone in our family just loved it including all the children. This cake is truly a keeper and I am so glad to have it in my repertoire. Thanks so much Julie for sharing this wonderful recipe.
If you happen to have some fresh blueberries on hand you should try this recipe. You won't be disappointed.
I didn't even get it properly decorated. This cake was still scrumptious even without the adornment of blueberries and lemon slices.

Linking to: Outdoor Wednesday and Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm.