Copycat your way to recipes

  • By Judyrae Kruse / Herald Columnist
  • Sunday, August 8, 2004 9:00pm
  • Life

Exactly a month ago, Everett reader Helen Peluso asked for our help, explaining, “When my husband and I were visiting his bachelor brother in Las Vegas, he took us to Marie Callendar’s. He loves their potato-cheddar soup and says he’s tried to duplicate it with little success. I would love to surprise him with the recipe, if anyone can come up with it.”

Well, Paula Fortin of Marysville not only could, she did. “This recipe can be found at,” she says.

For those of you who do not have (or have access to) a computer, I punched it up and printed it out, and it will show up here in just a minute.

But first, while I was at it, I thought I might as well take a shot at a few other no-hopers, meaning reader requests for favorite eats from restaurants who never go public with any recipes.

Of the three I made a try for, I only struck it rich with one, something Pennie Burns of Everett asked for. “My friend and I were recently at the Olive Garden and both ordered the chicken Marsala,” she wrote some time ago. “It was such a wonderful meal, and the chicken melted in our mouths! I would love to have the recipe for this dish.”

Without further ado, here are the specifics:

CopyKat Creations’ version of Marie Callendar’s cream of potato-cheddar cheese soup

1/2cup finely diced yellow onion

1/2cup finely diced celery

4tablespoons butter

2cans (14.5 ounces each) chicken broth

4cups finely sliced and diced peeled potatoes

1/4cup water

4chicken bouillon cubes

8ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese

21/4 cups half-and-half (add a little more, if needed)

1/2teaspoon sugar

1/4teaspoon white pepper

1/4teaspoon salt or to taste

Shredded Colby and Jack cheeses for garnish

Parsley for garnish (optional)

On medium-low heat, in a 3-quart saucepan, saute celery and onion with butter until onions are clear, taking care not to let brown. Add chicken broth, potatoes and water. Continue cooking over medium-low heat until potatoes are very soft and tender. When potatoes are done, add bouillon cubes and cook until cubes have dissolved. Mash the potatoes slightly, leaving most of them in chunks. Reduce heat and stir in half-and-half. Add sharp cheddar cheese and stir until cheese is completely melted and dissolved into mixture. Sprinkle sugar, pepper and salt into soup and stir. Let simmer very slowly for 20 to 30 minutes, taking care not to let soup scorch. When ready to serve, garnish with the shredded cheeses and maybe a little parsley. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

CopyKat Creations’ takeoff on Olive Garden chicken Marsala

1/4cup Wondra flour (cake flour)

1/2teaspoon salt

1/2teaspoon pepper

1/2teaspoon oregano

4tablespoons oil

4tablespoons butter

4chicken half-breasts, skinned and boned

1cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2cup Marsala wine

Combine flour, salt, pepper and oregano and blend well. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet until bubbling lightly. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and shake off excess. Cook the chicken on medium heat for about 2 minutes on the first side, until lightly brown. As you turn the breasts to the second side to cook, add the mushrooms around the chicken pieces. Cook about 2 more minutes, until lightly browned on the second side. Stir the mushrooms. When the second side is lightly browned, add the wine around the pieces, cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes.

The next Forum will appear in Wednesday’s Food section.

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