Feeling Thankful, Chicken Marsala and Celebrations

My oldest daughter, Phoebe, started Kindergarten yesterday.

I’ve been kind of dreading this day for a while and couldn’t sleep the night before and woke up at 4am because I was tossing and turning. .  I know, I know. .  it’s only kindergarten right? I mean, what do they actually do in Kindergarten. .   Well, they learn a TON. For starters, some of them will learn how to read, others, will begin to learn the process. She will begin to learn about math and science, gain her independence, make new friends and feel like a big kid! And she will actually be in school with big kids. .

I love my daughter so much. She is very special to me . .  after all, she’s my oldest. She is not one of those kids who adapts to new things quickly. She was never the kid who wanted to be the first one to ride the pony at her daycare carnival. She was never the kid who wanted to touch the lizard when some reptile show came to her pre-school. She was always the kid who clung to my leg and wouldn’t let go for a few minutes. So, when I knew she would be starting Kindergarten soon (plus we were still adjusting to our new home in Washington) and she would benefit greatly from having me around more, I knew – even though I didn’t want to- I knew I had to stay at home for a while. .  the decision was not an easy one, nor was giving my notice to my new employer where I had only worked at for about 4-5 months.

So, the day finally came. .  and went and it was great. Phoebe didn’t cry. At all. She didn’t hang on to me. At all. She listened to the teacher when it was time to go sit on the carpet and she (not happily but she didn’t cry) just like all the other kids, waved good-bye to me and all the other parents. As I walked out of the room, still amazed she wasn’t crying or running out to get me, I became overwhelmed with emotion. My little girl has grown up. And she shocked the hell out of me today.

When I came to pick her up later that afternoon, there was a slight mix-up with me and her teacher. I had filled out all the forms that said she’d be taking the BUS home. But I had mentioned to her teacher in the morning that we missed the bus and I would be picking her up that day. So, all the parents are waiting outside the school doors next to the flag pole and I see her teacher walking out with some kids all in a line. .  but I don’t see my daughter. .    “Where’s Phoebe?” I ask. .  the teacher looks down at her clip board and says “Oh, I took her to the bus. She’s lined up to get on the bus.” So, I panic and run (with my youngest in her stroller) looking for the bus . . thinking P is confused because we talked about it and she knew I was coming to get her today. .  I’m thinking she’s crying and panicking and is confused because she’s in line to get on a bus that she’s not supposed to ride. . today.

After going back to the teacher a second time, I find the correct bus. P is already inside sitting in the front row with two other little girls. And one says to me, “We’re in the same class together.” P is not crying. She’s perfectly fine sitting with her two new friends. So I ask her if she wants to take the bus home and she tells me yes. Again, I’m shocked and almost driven to tears. She’s growing up. And she made me a very happy momma today.

Needless to say, we had ice cream last night and I let her watch her favorite TV show. And because we were celebrating, I made Chicken Marsala. A special dish that takes hours to make right? Wrong. After reading more recipes . .  I found out that it actually doesn’t take hours to make and is actually pretty simple; after you pound the hell out of the chicken breasts.

Over dinner, we asked P what she had learned. .  leaning in with anticipation. .  all she talked about was recess and lunch time. Oh well, first day, what can I say?

Hope you enjoy!

Comment regarding her kindergarten teacher: every form she had that I had filled out said that P was taking the bus so she did nothing wrong and I absolutely adore her! From what I’ve seen from the orientation night, meet the teacher and her first day, I think she’s awesome and look forward to this school year with her! 

Chicken Marsala

Recipe from Savory Sweet Life. I just added shallots. Serves 4.


  • 2 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts, cut in half
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (add more if needed)
  • up to 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • about 3 cups of mushrooms, washed and sliced (recommend: cremini, oyster or shiitake)
  • 1-2 shallots, diced
  • 2/3 cup sweet Marsala wine (don’t get the dry Marsala wine)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Garnish with chopped parsley, oregano or chives


  1. Cut each chicken breast through the middle to make 2 pieces. Place plastic wrap over them and pound each one flat using a meat tenderizer/mallet until they are about a quarter inch thick. Season with a good amount of salt and pepper on both sides of each piece. Place some flour on a plate or shallow bowl and and dredge each piece of chicken in it.
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and when the oil is hot, fry each piece of chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side until they are golden brown (this may require you to do this in 2 batches; don’t crowd the chicken). Remove chicken and place them on your serving platter covering them with foil. Carefully soak up any remaining oil with paper towels and discard.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add butter, mushrooms and shallots. Saute for about 4-5 minutes (until they start to brown and give off liquid) making sure to season them with salt and pepper lightly. Add the marsala wine, dry sherry, cream, and chicken broth allowing the liquid to reduce by half – about 5-6 minutes. Pour mushrooms and sauce over the chicken and garnish with the parsley, chives or whatever you have.

We served our Chicken Marsala over garlic mashed potatoes. Hey, we were celebrating, remember?

For information on how to store your dry sherry and Marsala wine, click here.


9 thoughts on “Feeling Thankful, Chicken Marsala and Celebrations

  1. I was tearing up hearing about your daughter’s first day of kindergarten. My son is only 2 but I feel my time will come very soon. I am very curious, where does one find good marsala wine and sherry? Do you get it at the liquore store? I love chicken marsala. When I find good marsala wine and sherry I will try this recipe!

    • Awh, thank you! I was tearing up writing this post! 🙂 It’s funny how after having kids, you become so much more emotional. at least I did. I bought my sherry and marsala wine from the grocery store .. or maybe try Whole Foods? but I’m sure you could also go to a liquor store. . but the selection from the grocery store seemed to work. The chicken was very yummy and I think the key is to pound the heck out of the chicken so it’s thin and tender (which I did half way but still tasted delicious). I bought Colombo Marsala wine (only $10.50). I had no idea what I was doing (first time buying marsala wine), it also said “imported from Italy” so I thought I’d give it a try. . maybe I’ll ask Alice Currah or some other peeps what they think re: the wine. Great question!

  2. hi Sarah, I just did some quick research and try buying Florio ($11-12 per bottle), can be found at most grocery and liquor stores. People say to avoid buying Pastene. Not a good Marsala wine. Most places that sell wine, carry a good Marsala wine. . and if you shop at TJ’s or Whole Foods, just ask someone. They usually can recommend a good one. Let me know if you try the recipe! 🙂

  3. Loved your post, Alice! So reminded me of when Ash started kindy…8 years ago already!! She actually had to take a SHUTTLE to the pick up area (to void the long carlines) after school…I remember how excited she was because she was a ‘big girl’…she said to me…’ mom, I LOVE riding the SHOVEL’ !! Lol!! I will never forget that moment…I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time!

  4. Hi Alice, It was many moons ago when I had to let my son go to day care. All Moms understand. Kids grow too fast!
    As for the recipe… Chicken Marsala is one of my faves and I make it often. I use shallots too, but don’t use wine/sherry or cream. I have been using Colombo/Sweet as well.
    Now I have a challenging question for you…
    For people who don’t want alcohol in their food (though it vaporizes), can you think of any other ingredient that will substitute and taste like Marsala?

    • Fae, wow! that’s a tough one. . hmm, not sure. . but my first thought is – why would someone mind if there was alcohol used in the cooking of their food. . but let me think about this and get back to you. . would honey or raw blue agave with garlic and balsamic vinegar work? haha, sounds gross but I just thought of that. I have no idea! I love cooking with wine. . Please share YOUR Chicken Marsala recipe! 🙂

  5. Alice, this is my favourite post of yours so far (in a blog FULL of wonderful posts). Not only is this chicken marsala recipe going directly into my “must-cook” pile but your story about your sweet little girl’s first day at school is really heart-warming. My niece just started kindergarten this week and I can’t believe how fast she’s grown up. I can’t even imagine what it feels like when it’s your own daughter.

    • Awh, Nancy, thank you! That means a lot coming from you! 🙂 It was really a fabulous day. . went way better than I expected it to and I really hope this is the beginning of a great year for her. . I get so worried sometimes when I think about mean kids or mean words. . but unfortunately (and sadly) I cannot protect her from everything. . ok, enough of that! 🙂 please let me know when you try the recipe and let me know what you think. . I think it was pretty darn good but wondering what other people think and will try to think of ways to make it better. . maybe more marsala wine next time to make it a tad sweeter.

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