New Castle News

March 9, 2013

Culinary Conversation: Recipes to complement Easter dinner

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — One of the beautiful things about cooking in large amounts is that there are usually leftovers.

That happened last Sunday when my husband decided to do his “take” on a dish we usually have at restaurants. The chicken marsala turned out great. The first night, we served it over noodles and the second day atop linguini.

It’s not too complicated and has great flavor, which fits my requirements as a go-to dish.

I’m sure you have several of those go-to dishes in your cooking repertoire, and we would love to have you share them with us.

With Easter just a few short weeks away, today we’re also including some recipes for desserts and side dishes that will make excellent accompaniments to your main meal. Asparagus and strawberries are starting to appear in the grocery stores, and those two fresh ingredients are the basis of two selections.

And who doesn’t love homemade biscuits?

Let’s fill that mailbox or email address with your guest contributions at Culinary Conversation — a tasteful place to be.

Chicken Marsala

3 or 4 chicken breasts, somewhat flattened

1/4 to 1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp. marjoram

1/4 tsp. kosher or sea salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

About 4 tbsps. butter or olive oil, divided

1, 12-oz. package button mushrooms, sliced

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup marsala or other sweet fortified wines such as sherry or port

1/2 tsp. parsley flakes

Wash chicken and pat dry. Combine flour, marjoram, salt and pepper in a wide, shallow dish. Coat the chicken pieces with the flour mixture, covering all the pieces completely. Set those aside for a few minutes. Reserve any leftover flour mixture for thickening the sauce, if needed.

In a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, sauté mushrooms and onions in 1/2 the butter or oil until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove them from the pan to a separate bowl and add the rest of the butter. Get pan hot again and lower heat to medium. Add chicken pieces, cooking until nicely browned on one side. Flip chicken pieces, while adding mushrooms and onions, placing them on top of the cooked chicken. Use a spatula or tongs to move chicken around to avoid sticking.

When the bottom layer is browned, add the chicken broth and wine. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Continue cooking for five minutes or so and then remove the lid. The flour from the chicken makes a gravy, but if it isn’t thick enough, sprinkle in a small amount of the leftover flour mixture, 1/2 tsp. at a time, stirring well to help it dissolve and thicken.

Serve immediately over egg noodles and sprinkle parsley over the plate before serving.

Roasted Asparagus

1 lb. fresh asparagus

2 tsps. olive oil

2 tbsps. Parmesan cheese; shredded

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 500.

Arrange asparagus in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. With a pastry brush, paint the oil on the asparagus spears.

Roast until tender but still crisp, 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of stalks Turn spears occasionally for even cooking and to avoid browning.

Place asparagus spears on serving platter; sprinkle with cheese and serve with lemon wedges.


Mousse Pie

1 large, 9-inch baked pie shell

2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 tbsps. butter

2/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 tbsps. hot water

1 cup milk

1 tbsp. chocolate sprinkles

2, 8 oz. containers Cool Whip

3 oz. box of chocolate instant pudding

Use your favorite homemade or purchased pie crust and bake according to directions. Cool.

Melt chocolate chips and butter in microwave until melted, about 30 seconds on high. Stir until smooth.

Add 3/4 cups powdered sugar to chocolate mixture and stir completely. Mixture will be crumbly. Add measured hot water and stir until smooth.

Immediately spread the mousse chocolate mixture into bottom of pie shell. Set aside.

Using whisk, mix pudding in bowl with 1 cup milk until smooth. Using spatula, add 8-oz. Cool whip to pudding mix and fold in. Spread pudding mixture onto layer of mousse chocolate mixture in pie shell. Place in fridge and let set for 2 hours.

After that time, remove from fridge and spread second 8-oz. tub of Cool Whip on the mousse pudding. Add chocolate sprinkles on top.

Return pie to fridge for at least 30 minutes to fully set.


Soda Cake

1 box white cake mix

3/4 cup strawberry soda

3/4 cup hot water

1 box strawberry Jell-O

1 box vanilla pudding

1 package Cool Whip

Bake cake mix as directed in a 9x13-inch pan.

Leave in pan and cool.

Poke holes with fork.

Make strawberry Jell-O with 3/4 cup hot water and 3/4 cup strawberry soda. Mix until dissolved. Pour Jell-O over cake; place cake in refrigerator until jelled.

Make pudding as directed on package. Spread pudding over cake. Spread Cool Whip over pudding, refrigerate overnight.


2 cups all-purpose flour

4 tsps. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup shortening

1 cup milk

Mix together flour, baking powder and salt.

Cut in shortening with 2 knives or a pastry blender until mixture is the consistency of coarse cornmeal.

Make a well in the center of these ingredients; add liquid slowly. When all the liquid has been added, stir dough rather vigorously until it comes clean from the sides of the bowl.

Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead lightly for a few minutes. Roll or pat out to desired thickness and cut with 2-inch floured biscuit cutter; place on ungreased baking sheet and bake 12 to 15 minutes at 450. Makes 15 to 18 biscuits.

*Note: Half whole wheat flour can be substituted, and grated cheese ad garlic powder may be added.