Food You Can Eat: Chicken in Mushrooms, Garlic, and White Wine (or Chicken Broth)

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Welcome to another edition of Cousin Mattie’s Kitchen Sweep, wherein your intrepid FYCE Correspondent challenges himself to feed two hungry men and a Ravenous Hound using only items that are slowly approaching their use-by date. Here’s what I did last night, a tried and true recipe I’ve been making since the Eisenhower administration it seems. The recipe is the first section; then, because we can never get enough carbs, I layered it on a bed of pasta, and added a nod toward “salad.”


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, they should be less than 1/2 lb. each, but I didn’t check them.

The dregs of a bottle of olive oil, about 1 tbls, to coat a skillet

Some salt and pepper

3 cloves garlic, cleverly hidden by someone else in the fridge, so bring to room temp if necessary, and mince them or dice them as small as you can

That onion that just sits there, taunting you, but it hasn’t sprouted yet, so dice that

2 handfuls little- to medium-size mushrooms, but use however many you want to get rid of and check with the Forager-in-Chief about purchase date. Internally debate whether through age they might take on hallucinogenic qualities and whether that might be a good or bad thing during These Uncertain Times™. Slice these so they look like what you’d find on a mushroom pizza.

A chunk of butter, about 1/4 of a stick

I bottle of dry white wine (the recipe will call for about one wine-glass’s worth) OR about 1/2 cup of chicken broth. I make this sometimes for my friends who abstain from alcohol and this works perfectly well.

1 opened box of long, thin pasta stuck up on a high shelf, check sell-by date, maybe 8 or 10 oz.

3 beefsteak tomatoes from God knows when, but they seem to have a shelf-life of months in our fridge, pre-sliced by you

The rest of the feta cheese, maybe 10 oz.

The rest of the olive oil you’re trying to get rid of

Pour yourself a glass of the dry white wine and another for the expectant dinner-wanting “roommate,” as I was dismissively described among one branch of my “roommate”s family for about a decade, until they realized we could buy and sell them 10 times over once we hit our stride and they’re a whole multi-generational chain of crooks and grifters [redacted].

This may be my own disturbing fetish but look at your chicken breasts and see if they’re about 1/2″ thick or maybe less. If you bought them in a supermarket they should be about uniform thickness; if not, or if they’re thicker than that, pound/press them down to 1/2″ max. Liberally douse them with salt and pepper.

In a skillet large enough to hold all of the chicken breasts comfortably pour in a little olive oil and with the heat on medium place the chicken breasts with no overlap and cook for a few minutes, 6 maybe. While this is going on fill a pasta pot with salted water and set on high to get it boiling. Turn the chicken over (using tongs) and cook again for 5 or 6 minutes longer. You need the chicken to be done at this point. I’m convinced that my oven can get up to 800 degrees but my stovetop sometimes seems to be a little shy with the heat, so I always err on the side of caution.

When the chicken is done (discreetly cut into a piece and look for pinkness if you’re not sure; if you see any let it keep going) move it to a plate, cover it, and stash it in the oven to keep warm.

Turn the heat up. Add the butter so it melts but doesn’t start sizzling. Your water is probably boiling so dump in the pasta to the pasta pot. Add the mushrooms and the onions to the skillet and stir them around so they cook but don’t burn, about 3 minutes. Mix in the garlic and stir that around quickly a few times. At this point add the wine you’ve still got left (about 1 normal wine-glass’s worth) or the chicken broth and bring that to a boil. Scrape away any stuff that’s been sticking to the sides or bottom and give it a stir and you’ll see it cook off a little bit. At this point, about 2 minutes, stop, and move the skillet to an unused burner and let it rest.

Drain the pasta and let that cool in the colander. Dig out the plates you’re going to serve this on and start putting on the show. If you have huge plates, like we do, arrange a few tomato slices along the edge of one side, and slice/crumble some feta cheese on each. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Next, take some of the pasta from the colander and fill the rest of the plate. Top with the chicken that’s been stashed away, and then top with the sauce from the skillet. Even with our huge plates it’s not going to fit all in one go, so if you want more just refill your plate. Make sure to reserve some of the unsauced chicken for the Ravenous Hound, because he has been a very good and patient boy.



  1. Yummy, Cousin M. The Carnivore would eat this! We do freezer clean-out as a meal, maybe every-other week. Also I (an official short person) must be the one to put the groceries away, or an important ingredient for the week’s meals will land on a shelf above my head, in the back. Also, LIFO inventory control is a thing – move the oldest stuff to the front, especially in the refrigerator.  However, true confessions, I may have told a time or 100, “Did you move things, or did you just look?”

    • When we first moved into this apartment I bought most of the food and stocked the kitchen. It was a wonder to behold, organized to almost German precision. That got shot to Hell once my Covid-19 paranoia took hold and I outsourced hunting and gathering to the Forager-in-Chief. Now it’s a total free-for-all, especially with my temporary disability, and all kinds of weird and wondrous stuff shows up in unexpected places. A couple of days ago I went to give the dog one of his many treats. In the cabinet reserved for hound-related items I found a small box of high-end chocolates and a three-pack of spice blends. I ask no questions. 

  2. Ellie is right, I would most definitely eat this. I think she left out the word “been” in “I may have told a time or 100″ because I see everything.  I can’t remember anything for more then the length of the stairs though.

  3. Combo of wine, butter, garlic, and mushrooms is one of those things that I’ll never get sick of.  Thanks for posting this. I think I have everything to make this dish this weekend.

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