Saturday, March 29, 2014

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Lucille Mazzarella, the character in my Lucille Series (Unholy Matrimony—just released—and Confession Is Murder) is a big believer in home cooked meals.  As Lucille would say, “I ain’t feeding my Frankie or my Bernadette no meals that come out of a cardboard box.”  Every Sunday Lucille cooks dinner for the whole family—husband Frankie, daughter Bernadette, her sister Angela and her husband, her best friend Flo (who is in charge of bringing the cannolis for dessert), Father Brennan from St. Rocco’s and Cousin Louis and Cousin Millie who are Frankie’s father’s cousins once removed.

But even Lucille sometimes doesn’t feel like running to the A&P to get groceries after a busy day of tracking down a murderer.  That’s when she assesses the contents of her pantry and figures out how to make something with what she has on hand.

This dish came about much like that.  I didn’t want to leave our warm, cozy home to brave the (interminable) cold and snow to buy something for dinner.  I rummaged around and found some boneless chicken thighs and a box of thin spaghetti.  I always have cans of diced tomatoes on hand, some wine or vermouth and onions. 

I’m sure there’s a “real” recipe for this type of dish and it may even have a name, but in this case it was a matter of pulling things from the pantry and freezer and coming up with something for dinner!

I’ve done something similar with pork chops, and I imagine you could use chicken breasts, but I think the thighs have more flavor.  You can add mushrooms or not…depending on whether you have any!

 Chicken thighs—I think I had around five
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
Dash of wine (red or white—about ¼ cup or so)
Mushrooms if you have some on hand
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
Salt to taste

Heat oil and sauté onions and garlic until onions are soft.  Push onions and garlic to one side and brown chicken thighs on both sides—about 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Add mushrooms, if using, and saute briefly.  Add splash of wine to pan to deglaze, stirring to incorporate any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add tomatoes and cover.  Simmer for about 30 minutes until chicken is done and flavor has developed.

Serve over spaghetti or pasta.

Use a splash of red wine or white.

Simmer ingredients until chicken is done and flavor has developed

A tasty dinner without a trip to the grocery store!

The hilarious Lucille Mazzarella is back and planning a wedding. But even the worst Bridezilla can’t create the wedding drama she’s about to face in this second book in the series. 

Desperate to see her pregnant daughter Bernadette married before the baby comes, Lucille is engrossed in all things wedding. Nothing will distract her from planning this Mazzarella main event. Nothing, that is, except for the murder of the mother of the groom. 

Just when things couldn’t possibly get any worse, Lucille is named as the prime suspect, and it’s a race against time as she and her best friend Flo struggle with shady financial dealings, a family that isn’t at all what it seems, a groom that might not be all man, and a little bundle of joy that might make an appearance before the mother can say I do. 

Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble and Smashwords

Stop by my web site or catch up with me on Facebook @pegcochran


  1. I have this book on my Kindle. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Angie, I hope you enjoy the book and the recipe! I have also been known to throw some frozen peas into the mix and voila! You're serving a green vegetable.

  2. Very nice recipe. This sounds like many Italian-style dishes my family cooked when I was growing up. It was a matter of "see what's in the pantry" (and add the tomato sauce). Thanks, Peg.

    ~ Cleo

  3. Lovely! And all things I have here too. In fact, it's solved a problem for me tonight,

    Thanks, Peg, and congrats on the new book.



  4. Sounds wonderful, Peg. We should have a pantry week at MLK. Everyone cooks something with what they happen to have in the pantry!


  5. Ingenious. All I'd add are some herbs.