Monkey dining – chicken marsala with spinach and potatoes

I’m kicking off the Monkey dining series with one of Hubby’s favorite recipes – chicken marsala. I simplified the recipe just a bit to make it more friendly to Monkey’s untested palate, but the recipe has largely remained the same. To begin with, the main ingredients:

Before starting, preheat the oven to 170F, with an oven-safe pan for keeping the chicken warm after cooking. Peel and cut up potatoes (not pictured, obviously), cover with water in medium saucepan, and simmer on medium high heat. (Normally I would leave the potatoes un-peeled and add some garlic during the cooking, but I wanted to keep the flavors and textures simple for Monkey’s palate.)

While the potatoes are boiling, cut the chicken breasts into small pieces. (Normally, I flatten the pieces out with a mallet, but I didn’t want to disturb Monkey, who was wailing like a banshee fighting sleep in his nursery.) Salt the chicken, then coat one piece at a time in flour and marjoram, shaking off the excess flour and immediately adding them to hot oil in a skillet. Do NOT coat all the chicken pieces then add them to the pan all at once, or 1) the flour-coated chicken will get soggy and gross, and 2) you’ll drop the temperature of the oil and not get a good sear:

After the chicken is seared, about 5 minutes on each side, move the pieces into a warmed oven, then add some olive oil, salt, pepper, and marjoram, and the sliced mushrooms to the hot skillet. Saute the mushrooms (and green onions if you have them; I forgot) for about a minute until they’re slightly browned, then add a quarter to half cup marsala or sherry wine and a quarter to half cup chicken stock. Reduce heat and cover:

While the sauce is simmering, mash the potatoes with some salt, a little pepper, olive oil and chicken broth (no dairy/milk until Monkey’s a year old!!) Plate the chicken, top with the marsala/mushroom sauce, and spoon some mashed potatoes onto a plate. Set some of the mushrooms aside for Monkey puree. Add cleaned baby spinach to the same skillet that the chicken and sauce was cooked in and saute until the spinach is slightly wilted. Plate spinach, retaining a small portion (~1/4 cup) for Monkey puree. Cook this portion a bit longer, and set aside.

Plate spinach, top with pine nuts, and EAT. Sometime during dinner, Monkey finally stopped crying and went to bed. Hubby and I enjoyed our meal with a nice bottle of Cline Viognier, costing only $9, recommended to Hubby at the wine store:

While Hubby was doing the dishes, I prepared the mushroom and spinach purees using our Cuisinart food processor (love that thing!), and I pulled aside some mashed potatoes for Monkey. Packaged up Monkey’s meal in the fridge for the next night.

 Looks halfway decent, dontcha think? Yeah, Monkey hated it.

I’ll try again this weekend. We have an avocado, mango and a ton of carrots in the fridge, so we might give one of those a try this weekend. I’d really like to think I can make something that Monkey will like just as much as these expensive little packets of organic baby food.

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5 thoughts on “Monkey dining – chicken marsala with spinach and potatoes

  1. Your dish looks delicious.

    Good luck feeding Monkey! My twins never would eat any of the homemade baby foods that I prepared for them. They preferred the stuff from a jar until just before they turned 1. At that point they (collectively) decided they would never again eat anything from a jar and they only wanted to feed them selves. At almost 6, they are more adventurous eaters than Iris in The Hungry Monkey.

    I guess my point is, don’t stress yourself out too much about what he eats now because tomorrow he could prefer something completely different.

  2. Looks good to me!

    I have an off topic question/comment since I noticed your stove: You you HATE your glass top stove as much as i do? I see you are using Emeril’s cookware line. Does it stay nice and flat and deliver heat evenly? I am going broke trying to buy decent cookware for my stove, and as much as LeCreuest works beautifully, I am hoping for a better option.

  3. For some reason, Mini-G was never a fan of the mashed potatoes. Instead, I would over boil a few of them and then give her the cubes. She was much more interested in eating them herself, or texture or whatever. Some veggies by themselves were also a little…intense, apparently. But she LOVED spinach (and kale and chard) mixed with yogurt (or applesauce). After she got used to them that way, she was much more interested in eating them alone. Pumpkin mixed with kale was also a big hit.

    I guess I have two points: 1) never assume Monkey doesn’t like something after 1 try (this was excellent advice we got from our pediatrician). It sometimes took Mini-G 7-10 tries before she would get used to a new taste/texture. And 2) don’t be afraid to make some rather random mixtures. Little kiddos don’t really KNOW what should go together, and their sense of taste can be quite different than an adult.

    But, FWIW I think your chicken looks delish!

  4. Pingback: Monkey likes it, he really likes it!!! | The Tightrope

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