It is the second week of the year and I am always curious how people approach their New Year’s resolutions at this point. Have you even started yet? Or have you already given up?
For a couple of reasons, there are some resolutions that I NEVER make such as losing weight (have you seen me?), working out (I like a little jiggle in my wiggle) or eating better (it is all on how you define “better”).
I also don’t make promises that can’t be met like not buying any shoes this year or growing taller. (It is more likely that I will grow before I stop buying shoes.)
I’ve always felt that my resolution list needs to more of a to-do list to help me get things done rather than a list of changes I want to make in my life.
So one thing I always resolve to do in January is clean out my pantry. I have a bad habit of buying ingredients as stand-bys just in case a recipe doesn’t turn out. (I have bought a packet of Turkey Gravy every year since I have gotten married and never used them once!)
As I clean out the pantry, I find a can of cream of mushroom soup. You know the can, we all have one, our mother’s all have one and our grandmother’s probably all have one.
It is the soup base for every family’s mushroom chicken. It is one of the few dinners I really remember from my childhood. I don’t know how many times Mom made I know it was one of her favorite go-to recipes. (Which as an adult I find ironic because she doesn’t like mushrooms!)
Being a former picky eater, I am sure I didn’t like it as a kid but I know that I really like a mushroom chicken now…..as long as it is from scratch.
The homemade version does take a little longer but in the long run, it is healthier. It has a lot less sodium (have you looked at the amount of sodium in a regular can of soup?) and the mushrooms are fresh. And no offense to the generations before me who make it the “fast” way, this version has a little more depth to its flavor.
Mushroom Chicken (Minus the Can)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoons butter
12 ounces of baby Bella mushrooms, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or lemon juice (you just need some good acid)
1 large shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Season chicken with salt and pepper
Heat a skillet over med/high heat and add about 1 Tbsp olive oil.
Brown chicken (about 5-6 minutes a side)
Remove from pan, set aside, and keep warm
Keep pan on the heat but lower it to about medium. Add butter and let it melt.
Add mushrooms and allow them to brown. (Hint about mushrooms: don’t fiddle with them too much. They will release a lot of moisture in the pan. When the moisture has evaporated, they are close to browning and being done.)
Add shallots and garlic. Cook another minute or two.
Add thyme and cook another minute.
Deglaze the pan with the vinegar.
Add the flour and cook another minute.
Whisk in the broth SLOWLY until it is all incorporated and smooth.
Increase heat to med/high and simmer about 3 more minutes until the sauce is thickened.
Lower heat, swirl in cream and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
Add chicken (it can be sliced or how breasts) and turn a couple of times in the sauce.
I serve mine over pasta (orzo, shells, elbows) or mashed spuds.
This version of Mushroom Chicken allows you to actually enjoy the texture and flavor of the mushroom much more. It also wasn’t as heavy as the original.
I think I have finally resolved not to buy the can of cream of mushroom soup anymore. (I can’t say that for shoes….yet.)