I get very attached to animals; they're my children, my friends, and when one passes away, it hurts...a lot. Even though Peanut lived outside with her feline family, we still remember when Momma Cat brought her kittens to us. So small they were, and eyes still closed; we built a shelter from a large Rubbermaid storage box, and an old beat up quilt we used to cover furniture in the shed. As they grew older, the kittens ventured out from under the garden shed, and began eating the food we put out for the cat family who had adopted us. Peanut had the most adorable face, so adorable, it should have been illegal. She learned the name I had given her very quickly, and came when called, even though I wasn't putting out food. She was smart, but she forgot one thing; she didn't pay attention to the lessons Momma and Daddy Cat were trying to teach her....beware the big monsters.
I am keeping busy today, so I won't sit outside and wonder where she is, or hope she'll suddenly appear. I know she is dead, and won't be back; reality sucks at times. Cleaning out closets, I wonder why I kept something, or why I didn't buy more of another; the garbage can will be full for tomorrow's pickup. Then I remember, tomorrow is Valentine's Day and wonder what to do about dinner. With Roy's job, we never know, on certain days, if he will get out at regular time, or have to work late...Monday is one of those days. He says, don't worry about it, just make something small, just enough for both of us to enjoy.
So here is the first recipe that I ever entered into a recipe contest, and it won. It appeared in the "Better Homes and Gardens" February 1995 issue, and the funniest part about the recipe...it was all made up in my head. That's right, I had never cooked the recipe before; just looked around the freezer, fridge and pantry, saw what I had on hand, and thought up how to put it together. Sometimes I amaze myself.
Thyme Chicken Marsala
(Winning recipe which appeared in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, February 1995 issue)
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tbs. flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tbs. olive oil
1 medium carrot, julienne strips
1 small red or yellow pepper, julienne strips
2/3 cup dry Marsala
2 tbs. fresh or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 lb. cooked Linguine or Angel Hair Pasta
Rinse chicken; pat dry. Lightly pound each chicken breast half to 1/4" thickness. Coat breasts lightly with flour; shake off excess. Set aside.
In a large skillet heat 1 tbs. oil. Add carrot strips; cook for 3 minutes. Add pepper strips, garlic, salt and pepper; cook and stir about 5 minutes or till crisp-tender. Arrange on 2 dinner plates; keep warm.
In same skillet heat remaining 1 tbs. oil over medium heat; add chicken. Cook chicken 2 to 3 minutes each side or till no pink remains. Drape vegetables over chicken.
Add Marsala and thyme to skillet. Heat for a few minutes, scraping up browned bits from skillet. Pour over chicken. Serve with hot linguine or angel hair pasta.
Makes 2 servings.