Red Chicken MarsalaTomatoey chicken dishes have always enticed me; something about that “chicken cacciatore” look translates to comfortable tastiness. So, I turned to the “Red Chicken Marsala,” from the October 2013 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray, hoping for a warm, crowd-pleasing stew. And sure enough, that’s what we got.

Every stew preparation needs to be calmly paced. Here, you’ll reconstitute dried mushrooms, sear the chicken, sauté the fresh mushrooms/shallots/garlic/thyme/parsley. What a kick to use the parsley stems first, then garnish with the parsley leaves later. I love that!

The inclusion of chicken stock and marsala produced a sauce thinner than I had dreamed of. Make sure to add some salt. Overall, we approved this stew and did indeed serve it with crusty bread.

Creamy Butternut Squash CasseroleWhile we continue to be inundated with the squashes of the season, I gladly made the surprisingly wonderful “Creamy Butternut Squash Casserole with Herbed Breadcrumbs,” from the Kitchn. Sure enough, the squash “disintegrated” as it sauteed. Then, I combined it with the cooked rice, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, baking the thin mix until it thickened. The nutmeg became an exciting high point in this casserole.

The herbed breadcrumbs, toasted atop the casserole, were a great part of this dish.

Chicken Thighs (2.08 lbs.) = $5.70
Cremini Mushrooms (12 oz.) = $2.56
Shallots (2) = .65¢
Diced Tomatoes (14.5oz. can) = $1.46
Butternut Squash (2.55 lbs.) = $2.73

PREP TIMES: dedicate an hour to chicken stew prep and cooking; squash casserole needs about 90 minutes of your time
mushrooms, herbs, and marsala enhance a tomatoey chicken stew; nutmeg and toasted breadcrumbs augment sweet squash

Next time, I will cook the “Peanut Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach,” from Naturally Ella, along with the “Cheese Crackers,” from Bake, Run, Live. That’s right, I’m making my own Cheez-Its! Come back to my site next week, to see what happens.