Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Happy Belated Birthday Dinner

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My fabulous mother-in-law Becky's birthday was a few weeks ago, but we neglected to properly celebrate it here at home because she was in PA getting to know the newest member to our family, her 4th grandbaby Lillyana Tess.

So as my gift to her I offered to cook any meal she wanted (including dessert!) when she came home. She chose Madeira Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Key Lime Pie for dessert - we were all pretty psyched, the recipe sounded amazing and I hadn't made a Key Lime Pie since the summer.

She got the idea for me to make Madeira Chicken because she tried the dish for the first time at The Cheesecake Factory in PA and loved the flavors. We were able to find a great "copycat" recipe online at and it turned out so well I'm pretty sure it will be included in regular rotation around our house.

The only glitch in the recipe is the wine...we couldn't find Madeira wine anywhere! I checked online and found that Marsala wine would work as a substitute and it worked really well. If you can find Madeira wine, more power to ya!

Madeira Chicken

- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 1 lb. chicken tenders = 2 tenders per person)
- 8 asparagus spears
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (can also use 4 slices of mozzarella)
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms (baby bella or cremini)
- 2 cups Madeira wine (I used Marsala)
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup cornstarch (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper


Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover each chicken breast (or tender) with plastic wrap and use a mallet to flatten to about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper on both sides

The photo looks a little odd color-wise because all we have in the house is red colored plastic wrap!

2. Saute chicken for 4-6 minutes in the pan until it has just slightly browned, then remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm. Add the other 2 tbsp. of olive oil and mushrooms to the pan and keep the heat on medium.

3. Add in the Madeira wine, beef stock, butter and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. The sauce will be done when it has thickened and deepened to a dark brown color. If the sauce isn't thickening the way it should, make a paste from the cornstarch and a little bit of the sauce, then stir it into the sauce until it thickens.

4. As the sauce is simmering, bring a medium saucepan filled halfway with salted water to a boil. Toss the asparagus into the water and boil for 3-5 minutes, then drop the asparagus into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

5. Set the oven to broil and arrange the cooked chicken fillets on a baking sheet, then cross two asparagus spears over each fillet - then cover each with the mozzarella cheese. Broil the fillets for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Serve the chicken with mashed potatoes and enjoy! We had enough sauce to use it as a gravy poured over the potatoes - it was delicious!

This dessert is way too easy to make. It is one of my all time favorite desserts. If there is key lime pie on the menu at a restaurant I have to order it and I have yet to taste a version of that dessert that I don't like.

Key Lime Pie

- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (one package of graham crackers)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tbsp. melted butter
- 2 14 oz. cans of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup lime juice (key lime if you can find it)
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter with your hands. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie plate and bake for about 12-13 minutes, until brown.

2. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before adding the filling. Lower the oven temp to 325 degrees. Mix together the eggs, condensed milk and lime juice until well blended, then pour it into the cooled graham cracker crust.

3. Bake the pie in the oven for 15 minutes and let it chill in the fridge at least 2 hours, but it is better to let it chill at least overnight. Once the pie is chilled make the whipped cream by beating the heavy cream and powdered sugar together - once combined, add the sour cream and beat until it forms soft peaks.

Spread the whipped cream over the pie or (what I did) use a frosting bag to decorate the pie. Serve it chilled and try not to eat the entire pie in one sitting!

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