Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Date Night--February 25, 2015

Hey it's Wednesday!  And we're having our regularly scheduled Date Night.  Don't get too used to it...I'm in SC next Wednesday, to the next DN post won't be for 2 weeks.  Maybe...I have a root canal scheduled for that Monday.

Getting back to tonight...

Cocktails


Martinis.  I'm feeling gin, so we're having martinis!

Appetizer


I got these yummy crackers at the market with raisins and rosemary and pecans  (Josh will say the rosemary tastes like a pine forest...when has he ever eaten a pine forest?).  I thought they would be delicious with brie and my market actually sells a "light" brie... Yay!!!

Entree


This is a new one.  I attacked Pinterest this morning with some very specific ideas.  It needed to be chicken because I have plenty of chicken in the freezer.  

It needed to have mushrooms.  I over bought for meal I made for a friend and because we are leaving on Friday and I won't home for a whole week, I needed to use them.

Most importantly, it had to be something that could cook, without my help, during Date Night.

This Chicken Marsala recipe hit all three of my action points.



2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced 

5 garlic cloves, minced 
16 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used crimini, but use button if you like them!)
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup marsala wine (or white wine)
1/2 cup fat free half & half (low fat milk will work here too)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock

1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup brown rice, uncooked
2 packed cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken 

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat until just melted. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 - 7 minutes. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the flour on top and stir in for 1 minute. Stir in the marsala and cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of broth/stock. 

Spray a 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole with non-stick spray and spread the rice in an even layer. Top with the chicken, pour the mushroom gravy on top and sprinkle the parsley over everything.Cover tightly with foil and bake until bubbly, about 45 minutes. If your rice still is not cooked at this point, turn the oven up to 400 and bake until rice is fully cooked. Remember, brown rice takes longer to cook (if you use white rice, cook the whole dish at 350 degrees for 35 minutes). Discard the foil, sprinkle the parmesan on top and bake for 5 minutes more. 


Best of all, the only ingredient I had to buy, was rice.  Not really a problem at all.

Side Dish/Vegetable


What I like about the entree recipe is that it is really a one pot meal.  Almost.  There's nothing green in it.  S'okay, though.  The part of my freezer that isn't filled with chicken has lots of choices of frozen veggies.  I'm thinking green beans.  Even then I have choices...whole, French cut, regular cut. Maybe the French cut, cause Hubby especially loves those.

Dessert

"Awesome Apple Pie-lets"

I didn't name the recipe.  But I'm giving it to you just the same.

 Ingredients
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon, or more for optional topping
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
3 cups peeled and chopped apples (preferably Fuji)
6 large square egg roll wrappers (found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket with the other Asian items)
18 sprays I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Spray (in other words, have a bottle handy!)
Optional topping: Fat-Free Reddi-wip or Cool Whip Free


Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium nonstick pot on the stove, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt with 1/2 cup cold water. Mix until ingredients dissolve. Add apples and stir. Bring to medium-high heat and, stirring frequently, cook until apples have softened, 7 - 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and, stirring often, cook until thick and gooey, 1 - 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. This is your pie filling.

Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with foil and/or spraying it with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Place two egg roll wrappers flat on a dry surface. Set out a small dish of water. Dip your finger into the water, and run it along all of the wrapper edges. (Repeat as needed while preparing your pockets, as it will help seal them.) Starting 1/2 inch from the bottom, place about 1/3 cup pie filling along the bottom half of each wrapper, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the sides. Fold the top half of each wrapper over the filling, so that the top edge meets the bottom and the filling is encased with a border on three sides. Dab each border with water, and fold each inward about 1/4 inch to lightly seal. Press firmly along the borders with the prongs of a fork to seal completely. Carefully transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat this process with remaining wrappers and filling, for a total of six pie-lets. Spray the top of each pocket with 3 sprays of butter. Bake in the oven until edges begin to brown, 15 - 18 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Top with additional cinnamon and whipped topping, if using.  

A couple of things I need to point out:

I didn't buy any "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" spray.  I melt some light butter and brush that over...I do have butter flavored Pam...I suppose I could use that.  Time will tell.

I may mix some whisky soaked dried cherries in.  Why?  Why not?

I don't have any of the "optional toppings."

Also, this recipe make six.  I'll start by dicing my apples.  I'll stop I have 1.5 cups.  Everything else is easy enough to divide.

So this is what will be cooking in my kitchen later today.  How 'bout you?

happy cooking