by Joan Saunders –
A million years ago, when I was at UVic, living alone for the first time, I would phone my mom and, while eating ice cream say, “I’m spoiling my dinner.” And I was. I definitely was. Why bother cooking when ice cream was available?
It’s not always easy to cook for one (or two, for that matter) as the effort seems to be the same as cooking for a larger group. It may then feel like the leftovers will never end. I have single friends who roast vats of veggies and eat them for a week in a variety of combinations, as they’ve found that’s the best way not to be pulled in by the siren song of random snacks found in the cupboard.
However, there are many cookbooks and online sites catering to cooking for one or two. I’ve also found that cutting a recipe in half leaves me with just enough for my small family. I often make a meal and freeze part of it, so I have something to pull out when I don’t feel like putting together dinner.
But it is lovely to cook a recipe that’s, as Goldilocks would say, just right. What I appreciate about the Chicken Marsala is that it is made in one pan, so I’m not left with dishes and pots strewn all over the kitchen. While the directions state that it’s great served with toasted Italian bread (and it is!), you could also serve it with rice or potatoes. Add a salad and you’ve created a flavourful meal.
And dessert? Yes, please. I love a little, as I say, “something, something” in the evening with a cup of tea. But I don’t need a whole cake, as that’s a dangerous item to have sitting around, tempting me. The Mocha Pudding Cakes, cooked in individual ramekins, make it easy to have a little something, something without tipping me into the dangerous zone of “just one more teensy slice.”
After all, good things do come in small packages and, as I’ve discovered, good things also come in small, delicious recipes.
Chef John’s Chicken Marsala
From Allrecipes www.allrecipes.com/recipe/237928/chef-johns-chicken-marsala/
2 boneless chicken breast halves (skin on or off)
1 tsp salt and some pepper
3 tbsp butter, divided
2 tbsp olive oil
5 white mushrooms, sliced
1 minced shallot
1 tbsp flour
1 cup Marsala wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp cold butter
Step 1: Season chicken with salt, pepper.
Step 2: Melt 1½ tbsp butter and olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken, skin side down, in hot butter and oil until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until breasts are almost cooked, about 5 more minutes. Transfer chicken to plate.
Step 3: Melt 1½ tbsp butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté mushrooms with pinch of salt and pepper in butter until mushrooms are golden, 5-7 minutes. Add minced shallot; cook and stir until softened, 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over top; cook, stir until bitterness of flour cooks off, 3-4 minutes.
Step 4: Pour wine into skillet; bring to boil. Cook, stir until wine reduces and sauce thickens, 3-4 minutes. Add stock; simmer, cook until slightly reduced, 3-5 minutes more.
Step 5: Return chicken to skillet, reduce heat to low, cook chicken, turning once, until no longer pink in centre and juices run clear, about 10 minutes. If using thermometer inserted into chicken, should read at least 165°F (74°C). Remove from heat.
Step 6: Move chicken to one side of skillet and tilt skillet so sauce pools at bottom. Stir parsley and 1 tsp cold butter into sauce, stirring constantly, until butter is melted. Transfer chicken to plates; spoon mushrooms and sauce over top. Serve on top of toasted Italian bread.
Mocha Pudding Cakes
From: Taste of Home www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/mocha-pudding-cakes/
¼ cup flour
3 tbsp sugar
1½ tsp cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt
3 tbsp 2% milk
1½ tsp butter, melted
¼ tsp vanilla
2 tbsp brown sugar
1½ tsp cocoa
3 tbsp hot coffee
1 tbsp hot water
Whipping cream, optional
Step 1: In small bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt. Stir in the milk, butter, vanilla until smooth. Spoon into two 8-ounce/250 ml ramekins coated with cooking spray.
Step 2: Combine brown sugar, cocoa. Sprinkle over batter. Combine coffee and water, pour over topping. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. Serve warm or room temperature, with whip cream if desired.