I’m not sure if you have noticed, but I have been posting far fewer dinner recipes lately. And, trust me, it’s not for a lack of eating dinner. The problem is purely technical — winter means it gets dark early, and because of that, the lighting sucks. You see, I am still in the “learning” category when it comes to photography and while my knowledge and equipment is getting better, I don’t have any decent lighting. So, I rely almost exclusively on natural light, the tripod, and post production to get decent low light images. Sometimes the outcome is OK (never great) and sometimes it is not (usually when a child starts jumping next to the tripod during an exposure which feels like it takes twenty minutes).
And setting up all sorts of equipment at dinner time (AKA the hell or bewitching hour with young children) is just not that realistic. I should remind you that what you see on the site is generally what we are eating at my house. I rarely do a recipe with the sole intention of posting it here. Which usually means that while I am trying cook and shoot pictures, my kids are hungry, the homework is scattered across the kitchen, and everyone is fried from the day. Thank goodness they are addicted to the Wii or you may never see anything posted here.
So, here’s an example of that. It is actually a delicious recipe that we ate all the time growing up and I have just updated it a bit. It’s a great casserole for a big group, kids love it, and it makes a great drop off dinner for your friend or neighbor who just had a baby. (Don’t forget to bring them some Grey Goose too.) We like to serve it with rice if you want a starch and a green salad or sauteed spinach. I have a hunch you could make a vegetarian version of this with tofu that would be really great too. I’d probably fry the tofu in the method I outlined here and then just follow this recipe. You could use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock if you like. (I should add that you can skip the mushrooms entirely or just put them on half if your kids don’t like them, but mine seem to enjoy them under the cheese.)
I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to sunny spring and summer nights snapping shots of beautiful, bright produce. Hopefully the dark days of winter are on their way out. After our second foot of snow falls today, of course.
Serves about 8
1.5 pounds of chicken breasts
2 t Italian Seasoning
2 t Oregano
1 t Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
2-3 cups of Panko Breadcrumbs
1 cup of chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/2 cup of Marsala (sweet)
16 ounces White Mushrooms (other types would work well too), sliced
6-8 ounces Muenster Cheese, sliced
1. Cube chicken breasts into about one inch pieces (chicken nugget sized). In a large bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1 t Italian Seasoning, 1 t Oregano, 1/2 t salt, and freshly ground pepper. Add chicken pieces to egg mixture and set aside (can let it sit in refrigerator like this for an hour or two if you like).
2. In another bowl, combine 1 t Italian Seasoning, 1 t Oregano, 1/2 t salt, freshly ground pepper, and Panko Breadcrumbs. Remove a few chicken pieces at a time from the egg mixture (allowing excess to drain off) and toss with breadcrumbs to coat. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
3. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. (Coat the bottom of the pan.) In about three batches, brown the chicken pieces on both sides. They do not have to be cooked through, just browned. Make sure you do it in batches and don’t crowd the pan so they will get a nice brown crust. As they are done, place the chicken pieces in a 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking dish.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Wipe out saute pan and heat a bit more olive oil. Saute the sliced mushrooms.
5. Mix broth and Marsala together and pour over browned chicken pieces. Top with sauteed mushrooms and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place Muenster Cheese slices over top chicken and mushrooms and bake for 10 more minutes until done and bubbly. You can broil it for a bit at the end if you like the cheese browner.