Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Chicken Marsala Recipe and Budget Complaints

We've been trying to save money because things are tight right now. Partly because we have the added expense of homeschooling, but I know part of the reason we seem to always be broke is that I haven't been cooking as much as I should. Going out to eat, even at McDonalds, is expensive. For a family of five, we spend at least $30 for every meal we eat away from our table. That adds up pretty quickly.

When I finally get motivated to take action I create a menu for at least two weeks and sometimes as far out as a month in advance. Then we go grocery shopping. Inevitably, we find deals on things, such as a sale on ham or pork roast, or even hot dog buns. Then my menu has to change to make sure we eat the buns before they get moldy. It's not a deal if you don't eat it. It's just money thrown away. What I really need to do is make a menu, go shopping, then adjust the menu to what we bought. That might make a tighter, more easily followed schedule.

Also, I like to try different recipes to keep things from getting boring. I have several recipes that I'd consider regulars - spaghetti is easy, but I reserve that one for when I'm not going to be home to cook. It's easy for the girls to make and I am TIRED of spaghetti. We went through a spaghetti-every-few-days phase a few years back. I make sure to keep that one on the go to list, but don't allow it too often any more. I've gotten the frequency of spaghetti down low enough that I don't completely dread the sound of it and am enjoying it again.

All that being said, I was searching for a chicken recipe. We'd found a deal on boneless, skinless chicken breasts and I'd been aching to use it up. For me, chicken seems to be the easiest thing to try as a new recipe and have at least half of my family enjoy the meal.

In my search I found a recipe for chicken marsala. I once tried my cousin's plate of chicken marsala when we ate at Olive Garden. Sadly, I did not like it. But, the recipe I found called for asparagus. If you've been following me lately, you'll know we have some wild asparagus that grows on our land and we've been harvesting it. I have an abundance of asparagus right now. It's wonderful and if I can include it into a recipe I love it. I consider it as almost free food. Around here I've seen the prices of asparagus as high as $7.99 a pound, so I always feel rich when I eat asparagus. Then, when I think about how we obtained our asparagus (for a small fee of walking around, bending down, and cutting the stalks) I feel like I'm crafty and smart, as if I'm cheating the system somehow. It gives me a giggle. "Take that! I'm eating asparagus for FREE!" Yeah, I know. I'm weird. I'm okay with it.

I had to go do a little extra shopping for marsala wine and mushrooms, but I had everything else the recipe calls for. The wine was right at $14 but I only used 3/4 cup, so I have plenty for later recipes and the mushrooms were less than $2. I figure the recipe cost me about $15 to make, and I think I might have been estimating a little high. I've attached a picture of the finished product on my plate. I hadn't even thought about taking a picture until I tasted it. Then I immediately whipped out my phone. I wanted this documented! It was YUMMY!

The recipe called for chicken - I used the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. However, she states that she also uses chicken thighs. That would cost even less than the breasts. I don't know how much I used. I had taken a package, butterflied the breasts in half to make them thinner. I should have beat them up a little to thin them out a little more, but I didn't. I just coated them in flour with some salt and pepper and then fried them up in a hot skillet with olive oil.

While I cooked the chicken I roasted the asparagus. All I did for that was cut the asparagus into small pieces. Some of our asparagus is HUGE so I cut those down even more. Then I put it all on a tin foil lined cookie sheet with some olive oil and salt and pepper. I put them in the oven at 400° for twenty minutes.

When the chicken was done cooking I took it out of the pan and then added the mushrooms and a little bit of oil. I cooked the mushrooms until they were soft and then I added the garlic. I didn't cook that too long since I tend to burn garlic when I do this. The recipe calls for 2 cloves minced. I just eyeballed some from my HUGE stash of minced garlic I keep on hand at all times.

Then I added the 3/4 cup of marsala wine. It doesn't specify, but I used sweet marsala since that was the only kind my local grocery store had. I guess there is also a dry marsala wine and I might try that someday. I followed the recipe and let it cook on high for a bit to cook off some of the alcohol. Then I added the 3/4 cup of chicken broth. Actually, I added a full can of it. It was probably closer to a cup than to 3/4 cup and might have been more than a full cup.

I let that cook down for about ten minutes. While this was going on the asparagus finished roasting and I put it on the counter to wait. Then I started cooking the pasta.

When the sauce was done (the pasta wasn't done yet) I added the asparagus. I scraped it all into the sauce, trying to be sure to get some of that salt and pepper into the sauce with the asparagus. Then I let it sit until the pasta finished. I never did add the chicken into the sauce - I forgot. I did taste the sauce and added a little more salt and pepper. You may or may not want to do this, but I recommend tasting it first. Of course, I tasted it several times before dinner time.

Then I plated it - pasta, chicken, and then drizzled the sauce with mushrooms and asparagus over the top. The sauce was very thin and I felt like I wanted more, so I will probably double it next time. I might even double the mushrooms, garlic, and asparagus.

Something I just now thought of, the recipe also calls for parmesan cheese and I forgot to use it. Oops. Next time, because there WILL be a next time for this recipe.

I'm including a link to the site that has the recipe because I don't want to claim it as my own. It isn't. I found it on Vodka&Biscuits and I will definitely be frequenting that site.

Here is a link to the CHICKEN MARSALA WITH MUSHROOMS AND ASPARAGUS recipe. She also has prettier pictures of the dish.


  1. I LOVE chicken marsala and only recently discovered it, I used to be put off by the mushrooms. Our local liquor store sells a great marsala wine for $7 a bottle which pleasently surprised me! We do a ton of things with chicken in our Crock-Pot to try and be frugal. The latest has been a fridge clean out of semi empty bbq sauce containers, and chicken on low for a bit and then shredding it and eating it as BBQ tacos, or nachos with tomato's and jalepenos from our garden. It also makes a great salad protein when we have an abundance of lettuce. Thanj you for sharing this recipe, I never would have thought to try Marsala with asparagus!

  2. I've never been a fan of mushrooms. But, during a meal that was served to me as part of a Christmas party for my writer's group I was served mushrooms. I knew I didn't like mushrooms, but my mother always taught me to be polite and eat what was given to me, especially when eating at someone else's house. I ate them and LOVED them. I've read that your tastes change every seven years (don't ask me where I read that, I don't remember, it might have been something someone told me, too.) Anyway, I find that I like mushrooms most of the time now. Still not a huge fan of them on my pizza, but I can deal.

    I'm considering this marsala recipe again tonight. We haven't had it again yet. But, your talk of BBQ chicken sounds pretty good, too. Decisions, decisions.

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. If you make this recipe I really hope you enjoy it. We did.


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