Week of meat

Lent starts next week and we will be continuing our tradition of giving up meat.  Our diet will consist mostly of beans, tofu, veggie burgers and the occasional seafood.  Akin to Fat Tuesday where you gorge on food, we have a meat week where we gorge on… you got it, meat!

This serves two purpose.  One, we clean out our freezer.  Two, we get so tired of eating meat that abstaining from it is easier.  At least for the first two weeks anyway.

We had made special dispensation for DH’s lunch in the past.  He was allowed cold-cut Mondays through Thursdays.  This year, he is going to be daring and give up meat even for lunch!

Menu for this week:

1. Chicken Marsala with long grain rice and mixed green salad

2. Turkey burgers with Balsamic Glazed Asparagus

3. Stir-fry beef with broccoli and Korean rice

4.  Chicken Piccata Pasta with Sauteed Broccoli Rabe


Chicken Marsala

This recipe is from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen book and is really yummy.  I have replaced veal with chicken and made some additional changes in blue.


  • 8 pieces chicken scalopine (Purdue makes already thin cutlet pieces and I just use 1 pkg)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 stick Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Finely chopped shallots
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (shiitake, fresh porcini, cremini, white or mixture) (I use 2 packages because I like mushrooms)
  • 1 cup dry Marsala
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • Season the chicken lightly on both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper. Dredge the scaloppine in the flour, coating both sides, and shake off the excess.
  • Meanwhile, put 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter (I leave out the butter to reduce the fat) in the skillet, set over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to bubble, lay four or more scaloppine in the skillet—as many as can lie flat without crowding—and let them sizzle in place until the underside is opaque and tinged with brown, about 3 minutes. Flip them over and color the second side for a couple of minutes; then lift out the slices, let the fat drain off, and put them on a platter. Add a bit more olive oil and/or butter to the skillet if it seems dry, and fry the rest of the scaloppine in the same way.
  • When all of the chicken is browned, pour off the frying oil but leave any crusty caramelization in the skillet. Put in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of butter, and return to medium-high heat. When the butter is foaming, drop in the shallots, and cook, stirring, for a minute. Scatter the sliced mushrooms in the pan, season with some salt, and stir continuously as the mushrooms sizzle and start to release their juices. Cook, tossing and stirring, until the moisture has evaporated and the mushroom slices are shrunken, soft, and caramelized, 6 minutes or more.
  • Pour in the Marsala, raise the heat, and stir until it boils. Let the wine bubble and reduce for a minute or two, then stir in the stock. Bring to a boil, and cook at a gentle bubbling pace until the sauce is slightly viscous but loose, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Slide the scaloppine one at a time into the simmering sauce.  Shake the pan, spoon sauce over scaloppine, and flip them over once or twice, until they’re heated through and glistening with sauce on both sides. If the sauce is too dense to coat all the meat, loosen it with a bit of stock. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the parsley all over, and serve. (I serve it over farfalle tossed in olive oil sprinkled with pecorino romano or with long grain rice with a side of salad in balsamic based dressing)


Chicken Piccata Pasta

This recipe is from Rachel Ray, again with some modifications in blue.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/3 pounds chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter (I usually replace mostly with olive oil)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
  • Chopped or snipped chives, for garnish (Parsley or the green parts of a scallion will do) 


  • Heat a deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and the chicken to the pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken until lightly golden all over, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from pan and return the skillet to the heat. Reduce heat to medium.
  • Add another tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter, the garlic and shallots to the skillet. Saute garlic and shallots 3 minutes.
  • Add flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in wine and reduce liquid 1 minute. Whisk lemon juice and broth into sauce. Stir in capers and parsley. When the liquid comes to a bubble, add remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to the sauce to give it a little shine.
  • Add chicken back to the pan and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss hot pasta with chicken and sauce and serve. Adjust salt and pepper, to your taste. Top with fresh snipped chives.


One thought on “Week of meat

  1. I love Chicken Marsala and you’ve inspired me to make it again. My recipe is similar but involves bacon. The Piccata is going on my “To-Do” recipe list. Thanks!

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