Mushroom and Chicken Marsala Bowls

January 22, 2016


It is only mid-January and I am completely ready for winter to fuck off.

This is not a good sign, because I know myself, and I know that the worst of the winter doldrums belong to February–the longest short month ever. If I am this restless and cranky in mid-January, what kind of foul wizardry awaits me next month?

Well, one piece of foul wizardry I know about already. My birthday is in February and I’ll be turning a number with a 4 and a 7 in it. I have long made peace with the 4 part of the equation–a girl’s got to get real at some point, after all. But the 7? I don’t like birthdays that have a 7 on the end.

I have a history with those years. In short, they tend to suck.

The year of 1-7 was fraught with college admission paranoia, weekends of frantic SAT-preparation and the realization that every single person in the universe had been having some sort of sex except me. Hello, Year of the Awkward and Shameful Virginity!**

The year of 2-7 was the year I spent every cent I owned attending everyone else’s wedding. Or engagement party. All of humanity was madly in love, planning a future…and I owned three chairs. Hello, Year of Destined to Be Alone!

The year of 3-7 was the year I had a newborn and a 4-year old at home, under one roof, in my care, all of the time. Ahem. Hello, Year of I Will Never, Ever, Have a Life Again!

I have no idea what’s in store for me this time around. Part of me is rather unsettled out about it but part of me thinks, “Uh, the year of 46 was the Year of Freakish Early Menopause. That’s a whopper. How much worse can it get?”

I think it’s probably best that I don’t think about that.

Instead, I’ll tell you about these yummy Mushroom and Chicken Marsala Bowls. I made them last week and they’re the perfect thing to cuddle up with on a chilly night, and since they’re in “bowl form,” you can easily eat your dinner on the couch while binge-watching The Making of a Murderer (or whatever you’re into these days. I am only on episode 4 of MoM, so shaddup if you know anything. Maybe not, because I think I’m quitting. Am I the only person who gets so angry watching this? I cannot binge on this series because I am constantly leaving the room in a homicidal froth. Thank GOD the X-Files re-boot begins soon. I love you, Mulder and Scully!).

It’s no accident that the mushrooms have front-billing in the title of this recipe. Chicken takes the back seat to the veggies, proportion-wise, which is unusual. Recipes for chicken marsala are usually all about the chicken, but this is a lighter, healthier dish. Don’t worry, though. It’ll still fill your belly and the mushrooms add enough heft that you really don’t feel like you’re missing out. The addition of spinach is a departure from the norm as well, but it serves the lovely purpose of making this a full meal. Grab a big bowl, spoon some whole grains into the bottom, add the marsala mixture and BOOM! Meal in a bowl.

Cooking Light magazine recommends serving this over quinoa, but I am unabashedly anti-quinoa. I don’t like it. I have tried, diligently. And yes, I do know the trick about washing it before you cook it but frankly, the stuff still tastes like soap to me. If you are into the q-stuff, go for it. I served mine over brown rice, but any whole grain will suffice.

Then again, if you’re feeling racy or have had a particularly taxing day, consider serving this over mashed potatoes or noodles. Bad days deserve white carbs. They just do.

Everyone will understand.




Mushroom and Chicken Marsala Bowls

serves 4

slightly adapted from Cooking Light magazine


2  tablespoons butter, divided

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 (8-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach

1 pound mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of visible fat and cut into bite-sized pieces*

1/4 cup minced shallots or onion

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

4 minced garlic cloves

1/2 cup dry Marsala wine

1/3 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

cooked brown rice, barley or quinoa


Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add the spinach and cook until beginning to wilt, about a minute. Remove from pan.

Melt 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in pan along with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil. Swirl to coat. Add mushrooms and cook 8 minutes, turning to brown sides. Remove mushrooms from pan.

Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken pieces and saute about 4 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Add shallots, thyme and garlic and saute a couple of minutes. Add wine and chicken stock to pan, scraping the bottom to loosed the browned bits. Cook a couple of minutes or until the liquid is reduced by about 2/3 and is slightly thickened. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, Dijon mustard, pepper and salt, stirring constantly until butter melts. Stir in the mushrooms and the spinach.

To serve, spoon about 2/3 cup of hot cooked brown rice, barley or quinoa into each of 4 bowls. Top evenly with the chicken/vegetable/sauce.


*If you’re really pressed for time, you can use leftover rotisserie chicken in the recipe instead of the chicken thighs. Just make the sauce, reduce it, and throw in the rotisserie chicken at the end (with the sauteed mushrooms and spinach) to warm through. Even easier and let’s face it, on dark winter nights, who doesn’t welcome a few extra minutes on the couch?

** the Year of the Awkward and Shameful Virginity proved to be impossibly hard to shake. It decided to stick around for 3 more years, just for fun and games.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Biz January 22, 2016 at 10:39 am

Those look delicious!! And anything in a bowl is appropriate to watch in front of the t.v.

I am just heading into Episode 6 – and I think it’s worth watching the whole way through – my friend has sent me a bunch of links to read AFTER I finish watching them, so let me know when you are done, and I’ll forward them to you.

My age 17: I was recruited by four different colleges my junior year of high school to play field hockey – sadly, I picked the school that dropped the program after my freshman year of college.

Age 27: I had a three year old and was a single Momma. Still lived with my parents, but looking back, happy I did because my daughter got to know my Dad the most out of all the grandkids, and he died when Hannah was only 6. :(

Age 37: Happily married to the man who would know me inside and out, backwards and forwards and always loved me for who I was, didn’t want me to change a thing and told me I was beautiful

Age 47: (I am about to be 48 in March!) Widow. Fuck. Didn’t see that one in the books. Who knows where I’ll be at 57?! Hopefully we’ll still be friends and will have met in real life by then :D



Dana Talusani January 22, 2016 at 5:41 pm

My sweet Beth,

I love that you shared that inside peek into your life. I love you, friend.


Katrina Kenison January 22, 2016 at 5:26 pm

You gave me the best laugh of the day AND the recipe I need for the weekend. Thank you, my dear. I so agree about this last week of January. Really. And yes, this would be so, so good over wide noodles, right?? xo


Dana Talusani January 22, 2016 at 5:41 pm


Winter was MADE for wide noodles, don’t you think?


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me January 22, 2016 at 11:18 pm

This is brilliant – a perfect option for my carnivore to the death husband and the Kidzilla and me who like our meat a bit more on the side, like you have here. He loves marsala. And as for the quinoa vs rice thing? Well, my husband recently brought home a 10-lb. bag of white rice. Yup. He did. So we’re all set.
Hope your day ending in 7 is a great one!


Tiffany January 24, 2016 at 6:35 pm

This sounds really good. I got really angry during MoM…let me know when you’re done with it!


Dawn January 29, 2016 at 6:11 pm

I would love to make this marsala chicken. I’m terrible at wine though. I tried to find a “dry marsala’ wine at the grocery store (which has an entire aisle of wine) but I don’t know what I’m looking for and nothing seemed to say MARSALA. Do you have any advice or help for me? Can I just use any dry red wine? Like????


Dana Talusani January 29, 2016 at 8:51 pm


Marsala is actually a fortified, aromatic and slightly sweet wine (even the “dry” Marsala has a sweetness to it). I’m not surprised that the grocery store didn’t have it, since most people don’t actually drink the stuff. My suggestion is to go to a well-stocked liquor store and ask them to show you where it is–sometimes they put it in crazy places (like next to the Jaegermeister?)


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