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Chicken Marsala Recipe

As the smell of Marsala wine, chicken, butter and mushrooms waft through the house, my boys run into the kitchen and ask rhetorically if I’m making Chicken Marsala. I answer, Yes. Then my son, Bruce, asks if we’re having it with flat egg noodles. Those are his favorite. Of course, I say. He smiles, looks into the skillet, inhales deeply, and leaves the room with a big smile on his face. Chicken Marsala looks like a fancy recipe, but it is super easy. Prep time is around 15 minutes and cook time is 30 to 45 minutes. I adapted this recipe from chef Emeril Lagasse on FoodNetwork.com. 

 

Ingredients

 

Directions

  1. In a shallow bowl or plate combine the flour and Essence and stir to combine thoroughly. Dredge the chicken thighs in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the chicken thighs until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
  3. Add the mushrooms on top of the chicken and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown around the edges and have given off their liquid.
  4. Add the chicken stock and Marsala wine to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the sauce has thickened slightly, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

* The original recipe called for twice as much butter. I think it’s rich enough since the dish is prepared in olive oil and there is some fat from the thigh meat.

* The original recipe called for removing the chicken from the skillet and then adding them back in. I am too lazy and also like to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through. Don’t worry, the chicken will not get rubbery if it cooks longer since it is immersed in a wine/chicken stock mixture. 

 

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning)

Chicken Marsala Recipe2020-11-03T10:04:20-06:00

7 BEST Tips for Living a Healthy & Fit Lifestyle

Trying to implement a laundry list of 50 or 40 or even 25 action ideas to help you achieve your health and fitness goals can be daunting, if not impossible.  So I have distilled it down to my top 7 tips. Yes, 7!  One tip for every day of the week. Now that’s doable. And I know you can do it!

7 BEST Tips for Living a Healthy & Fit Lifestyle2020-10-28T15:54:28-05:00

Dessert Anyone? How About a Blackberry Cobbler Recipe?

I like desserts. I mean, I really like desserts. They aren’t cheat foods to me because that implies that I’m doing something bad or wrong or breaking a rule. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe in cheat foods or cheat days. That’s not a healthy approach to living a healthy lifestyle. It’s all about balance and moderation, not deprivation and restriction, right? In my opinion, there is no problem having a dessert once in a while. How about a fresh fruit cobbler? We made this blackberry cobbler recently and it turned out great. Piping hot and delicious. It’s simple to prepare and uses only a handful of ingredients. You can make this with other fruits like peaches, cherries, blueberries, apple and more! Enjoy!

Ingredients

Part A: Biscuit Topper

1 cup sifted all purpose flour

2 tbsp sugar (optional)

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter 

1/4 cup milk

1 beaten egg

 

Part B: Pie Filling

1/2 cup sugar (white or brown) 

2 tbsp cornstarch or flour

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

4 cups blackberries (picked from our garden)

1 tbsp lemon juice

 

Directions

Part A. In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add milk and egg, stirring just to moisten. Then set aside. 

Part B. In a pot, stir ingredients together and cook over medium heat for about five minutes until thick and bubbly.

Pour filling into 10″ pie pan. (We prefer 10″ over a 8″ or 9″ so filling doesn’t bubble over and make a mess.) Spoon on biscuit topper in five or six mounds. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Dessert Anyone? How About a Blackberry Cobbler Recipe?2020-10-21T10:49:42-05:00

Tomato Panzanella Salad Recipe (by Windset Farms)

Summer is the perfect time of year for potato salad. Lucky for us, the Costco magazine came out and featured this unique recipe. Very different from your typical potato and mayo mixture.

As always, feel free to change the amounts and kinds of ingredients based on your taste, dietary restrictions and what you have in the fridge. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 cup rice wine vinegar (*we used 1/3 cup)

1 cup honey (*we used 1/3 cup)

2 pounds baby bell peppers, sliced

2 pounds multicolor potatoes, cooked until soft

1/2 cup olive oil, divided (*we used 1/4 cup)

12 ounces grape/cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 cup radishes, sliced

2 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (we used 2 tbsp)

1/2 cup feta cheese

4 basil leaves, torn  

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

salt to taste

 

Directions

  1. Bring rice wine and honey to boil over medium heat; pour over sliced peppers.
  2. Smash the new potatoes. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook 1 to 2 minutes each side. Place potatoes, tomatoes, radishes and peppers in a bowl with remaining oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt.
  3. Sprinkle with chunks of feta cheese, basil and parsley. Ready to serve! 

* We reduced the amounts of vinegar and oil, and I’m glad we did. There was plenty of dressing coating all of the ingredients. If we had used the full amounts, they would have been swimming in the bowl.

Tomato Panzanella Salad Recipe (by Windset Farms)2020-07-20T18:12:13-05:00

I Installed a UV Light Purifier for my HVAC System

Clean air is important when you exercise indoors. That’s why I use a carbon furnace filter with a high MERV rating that get’s replaced every three months, if not sooner. I am also meticulous when it comes to cleaning my fitness studio and workout area. This involves routine dusting, vacuuming and mopping as well as disinfecting all mats, handles, benches and exercise equipment in between every client. In addition, I recently installed a UV light purifier for my HVAC system. Why? Because UV light helps to eliminate germs, mold, bacteria and viruses that float in the air. It was relatively easy to install.  I drilled two holes on the metal duct next to the furnace then inserted the lamps through the openings. The black plastic frame of the purifier sat on the outside of the duct. It could have been attached with screws, but I decided to use high temperature aluminum tape instead. I found the nearest outlet, plugged it in. . . and Voila! It worked! When the furnace is running (heat or cold), the UV rays kill microorganisms in the air as they pass by the bulbs. The cool thing is that there is an LED indicator on the unit so I know when the lights need replacing.

This is the unit I ordered on Amazon.com. For $99 I feel it’s a good deal.

 

I Installed a UV Light Purifier for my HVAC System2020-07-06T14:39:05-05:00

10 Tips for Managing Stress

We all get stressed out once in a while, and that’s okay. We’re human, right? It’s important to understand the cause, how your body reacts to stress and and how to deal with it. Here are healthy 10 tips for managing stress.

1. Exercise. You knew I was going to put this first. I have a saying. “When in doubt . . .Exercise.” Other than an acute injury during exercise, how many times can you say that you felt bad or worse after exercise? Stress hormones reduce, endorphins increase, and exercise helps your body to get rid of toxins. Walking, lifting weights, swimming, playing basketball, etc. It’s all good. The important thing is to choose an exercise or activity that you enjoy doing and will do consistently. 🏋️

2. Read. Of course, what you choose to read may add to your stress. But I am talking about turning off the screen, setting the phone aside and picking up a good book. An interesting biography, a mystery, an epic or a graphic novel.  Reading requires you to be more engaged and active than watching. I may not be the fastest reader, but I do have about ten books on my nightstand. When I get particularly stressed I like reading Gary Larson’s comic strips. Hilarious!

3. Listen to music. It doesn’t have to be spa/massage music. Although I do like hearing gentle flutes, bagpipes and cellos. I can feel myself taking deeper, fuller breaths when I listen to relaxing music. As much as I like hard rock and heavy metal for working out, I may choose some classical, jazz or Hawaiian music for relaxing. 

4. Watch a fun video. If you can, watch a video that will make you laugh. Any movie directed by Mel Brooks: Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles or Spaceballs. Or if you’re more of a Zucker Brothers fan, there’s Airplane! and The Naked Gun. Don’t forget Three Stooges, The Little Rascals, Laurel and Harry, Abbott and Costello. How about some of the classic silent films with Charlie Chaplan and Buster Keaton? You can tell that I’m partial to black and white movies.

5. Chase your spouse around the house. I think this is pretty self-explanatory. The pursuit of happiness and the happiness of pursuit.

6. Eat healthy. One of the worst things you can do is to drink your stress away or dive into a bowl of comfort food. They might temporarily make you feel better, but excess alcohol, sugar and fat cause inflammation and are stressful on your digestive system. Instead, pick up your favorite cookbook and try a new recipe. Something that has lots of vegetation.

7. Get a bunny rabbit. A few months ago I bought a Mini Rex bunny from a woman in Monroe whose daughter raised rabbits for 4H. Why did I buy a rabbit? Simple answer. I wanted to have something cute and soft to pet to help me relax. Okay, get your mind out of the gutter. We named the bunny Amos, and my boys joke that he is my emotional support rabbit. True. I put his cage in our dining room next to my chair. We built a wooden den for him, feed him grass hay (that I collect and dry after mowing the lawn) and fresh water. Early in the morning and late at night (when he is active and alert), we let him out and into our SunPorch. He zooms around, runs through our little red kid’s tunnel, leaps onto the furniture and chews on approved cardboard and bark. He is so much fun to watch!  When I offer him dandelions or plantain weeds, he jumps up on my lap and lets me feed him. Then the pies de resistance, I get to pet him.

8. Create a project. Do something new. Build a birdhouse. Start a garden. Take up photography. If you’ve never done these before, you may need to develop new skills and invest in some tools. For the last several years I have been working diligently (supervised by my wife, Heather) to establish a prairie in our front yard. I was tired of mowing the lawn and wanted to create habitat for plants and animals, increase diversity and beauty. And did I say that I didn’t want to mow the grass? So I read a prairie restoration book and was ready to move forward. The only thing was that I wasn’t going to use broad-spectrum herbicides and then buy a prairie seed mix. Like most things I do, I was going to do it the hard way. Little by little, Heather and I planted prairie flowers and grasses. We watched them grow, die, get eaten. We like to call this space our Someday Prairie.

9. Spend time with friends and family. Messaging is fine. Over the phone is good. In-person is best.  Being connected with other people is key to how I live my life. A few weeks ago Heather and I hosted a social-distancing happy hour with some neighbors outside on our driveway. It was great! Four couples sitting in camp chairs six feet apart. Everyone brought there own food and drink. Rose brought the music. And if anyone had to go to the bathroom, they just walked across the street or across our yard to their house. It was great reconnecting, catching up, enjoying the great weather and having a cool beverage.  I am also spending more time with my boys shooting hoops at the park, going for walks, working in the yard, practicing archery and playing badminton. They definitely keep me on my toes. 

10. Get back to nature. Fresh air, sunrises, birds, rolling hills, lakes, forests, wildlife, streams, fields, sunsets. Makes you want to go on vacation, right? You can. You should. Maybe it’s in your own backyard or at a nearby nature preserve. No matter where you live, there are green spaces for you to enjoy.

10 Tips for Managing Stress2020-06-30T13:56:33-05:00

Kyle and Bruce Made Dinner!

With my three boys all being home and doing online school, they have a lot of free time. What better way to fill that free time than with chores :-)  Last weekend, Kyle and Bruce made Pasta Salad, Bison Burgers and Homemade Buns. Everything turned out delicious.  If you’re wondering what Roy was doing . . . he was supervising.

Here are the 3 recipes. Enjoy!

 

Bruce’s Pasta Salad

Ingredients

16 ounces whole wheat Penne pasta, uncooked

1 cup broccoli, chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup black olives, sliced

3 ounces sliced pepperoni

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. In a large pot, add 4-5 quarts of water and bring to boil. Add pasta and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until al dente. Strain pasta and rinse under cold water to stop cooking process.
  2. In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta, broccoli, tomatoes, olives, pepperoni, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss gently. Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

 

Kyle’s Hamburger Buns (from AllRecipes.com)

Ingredients

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast. (If you have a jar of yeast, use 2 1/4 tsp)

1 pound all-purpose flour, divided

1 cup warm water (105 degrees F)

1 large egg

3 tbsp butter, melted

3 tbsp white sugar

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp olive oil

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp sesame seeds

 

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place yeast into bowl of a large stand mixer; whisk in 1/2 cup flour and warm water until smooth. Let stand until mixture is foamy, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk 1 egg, melted butter, sugar, and salt thoroughly into yeast mixture. Add remaining flour (about 3 cups).
  4. Fit a dough hook onto stand mixer and knead the dough on low speed until soft and sticky, 5 to 6 minutes. Scrape sides if needed. Poke and prod the dough with a silicone spatula; if large amounts of dough stick to the spatula, add a little more flour.
  5. Transfer dough onto a floured work surface; dough will be sticky and elastic but not stick to your fingers. Form the dough lightly into a smooth, round shape, gently tucking loose ends underneath.
  6. Wipe out stand mixer bowl, drizzle olive oil into the bowl, and turn dough over in the bowl several times to coat surface thinly with oil. Cover bowl with aluminum foil. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.
  7. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and pat to flatten bubbles and form into a slightly rounded rectangle of dough about 5×10 inches and about 1/2 inch thick. Dust dough lightly with flour if needed. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a round shape, gently tucking ends underneath as before.
  8. Use your hands to gently pat and stretch the dough rounds into flat disc shapes about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange buns about 1/2 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Dust buns very lightly with flour. Drape a piece of plastic wrap over the baking sheet (do not seal tightly). Let buns rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. Beat 1 egg with milk in a small bowl, using a fork, until mixture is thoroughly combined. Very gently and lightly brush tops of buns with egg wash without deflating the risen dough. (You might have extra egg wash.) Sprinkle each bun with sesame seeds.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned on top, 15 to 17 minutes. Buns will stick together slightly where they touch. Let cool completely, tear the buns apart, and slice in half crosswise to serve.

 

Bruce’s Bison Burgers

Ingredients

1 pound ground bison burger

4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, sliced

 

Directions

  1. Heat oven, griddle, pan or grill. We used a George Foreman Grill.
  2. Form ground meat into five 3-ounce bison patties. (Someone must have gotten a 4-ounce burger. I think it was me.)
  3. Cook on Foreman Grill for 4 minutes. (Remember a Foreman Grill cooks food on both sides at the same time.)
  4. Remove patties from grill and immediately top with sliced cheese. Heat of burgers will melt the cheese.

 

Chefs Bruce and Kyle

Kyle and Bruce Made Dinner!2020-05-22T16:26:46-05:00

10 Best Dumbbell Exercises for All Levels

Getting in shape doesn’t require a membership at an exclusive health club or the use of expensive fitness equipment. You’ll be amazed at what you can do with just a pair of dumbbells. Watch my video and learn 10 of my favorite dumbbell exercises that you can do today. Enjoy!

10 Best Dumbbell Exercises for All Levels2020-05-14T08:10:48-05:00

Wisconsin Stone Soup Recipe

Do you ever feel like you’re cooking for an army? In my house, with five very active individuals, it sure feels that way. That’s where soups and stews come in handy. They are often easy to prepare and make plenty of servings.  If you’re more of a crock pot person, this recipe will work great too. And remember, you can always adjust amounts of ingredients for personal taste. Since we used a smoked ham hock, for example, we didn’t add any herbs or spices other than two bay leaves. Enjoy this delicious recipe! (This recipe was adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Magazine.)

Ingredients

1 cup dried black-eyed peas 

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups onion, diced (1 yellow, 1 red)

1 cup carrots, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

6-8 cups chicken stock

1 meaty ham hock (approximately 1 pound)

2 bay leaves

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 cups cubed pumpkin

1/4 – 1/2 cup rice, uncooked

2 cups hearty greens (kale or collards, fresh or frozen)

 

*Optional

1 cup cubed rutabaga

salt and pepper to taste

ham instead of ham hock

If you don’t have pumpkin, you can use squash, sweet potato or other root vegetable.

 

Directions

1. Soak and cook dried beans according to directions. Rinse well. If using canned beans, open and rinse well. Set aside.

2. In a large stock pot, set heat to medium and add olive oil.  Saute garlic, onion, celery and carrots until soft.

3. To pot, add stock, ham hock, bay leaves, diced tomatoes, cubed pumpkin and rice. Bring to boil briefly. Then cover and simmer for one hour.

4.  Add cooked beans and hearty greens. Cook until beans are warm and greens are wilted. Approximately 10 minutes. 

Serve and enjoy!

 

Wisconsin Stone Soup Recipe2020-05-11T11:56:38-05:00
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