Welcome to Better Than It Looks, a series in which we discuss the recipes we tried (and maybe failed) to execute, and the foods that were served to us by someone perhaps more talented than ourselves.

When it’s cold outside, I love a warm pasta bowl—even if it comes from Giada De Laurentiis, who I don’t believe for one minute eats the food she makes on her fabulous Food Network TV show. It’s physically impossible to eat as much pasta and pizza as she hawks and still be her size in those teeny v-neck tops. Still, her chicken with mustard mascarpone marsala sauce recipe is wonderful so I overlook her impossible eating habits.

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As for me, I am a good cook who perfected my craft during my make-it-or-break-it freelancing days when the economy was tight along with my budget. I was constantly hunting for frugal and delicious recipes that I could make with what I had in my apartment. Then, in 2010, I became a pescetarian, and so many of the recipes I loved—like De Laurentiis’ chicken with mustard mascarpone marsala sauce—were either dumped or converted to include fish or vegetables.

But now I’m pregnant and my baby wants meat. I’ve ordered steak and eggs at restaurants like Brookyn’s Chez Oskar, which I haven’t frequented in years, while wondering ‘Who am I?’ and hoping no one caught me stuffing the red meat in my trap. Every night, digging up recipes for my throwback appetite was stressful because I hadn’t made chicken, or any meat, regularly in six years. Rooting through my old food links last month, however, I dusted off this recipe.

The dish with chicken was good but I dried out the breasts while browning them (not my proudest moment but I’m rusty!). My husband(and self-appointed food guinea pig) enjoyed it but for me, there are few things worse than overcooked meat. Then I wondered ‘If baby lets me, wouldn’t this dish just be better with double—maybe triple—the mushrooms instead of chicken?’ So I tried it and I have to say: forget the chicken, people, and just double the mushrooms. Sorry baby, it’s mama’s turn today.

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Do you have recipes that began as meat-centered and became vegetarian or pescetarian in your kitchen? Are you pregnant too and also wondering ‘What the fuck happened to my eating habits? Let’s commiserate!


Contact the author at hillary@jezebel.com.

Image via my tiny kitchen and grey counter top.