Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie


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Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie *****

I’m joining Jain in her bi-monthly edible book review at Food for Thought, where in her words, pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera. Books, Food & Photos, my three favorite things all in one place!


Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than sitting down with a mug of tea and some light-hearted  Chick Lit. Yes, it can be predictable…but sometimes it’s just comforting to expect the happily ever after.  This is one of my favorites, a Jennifer Crusie book, and one that doesn’t disappoint.  Unlike with Jodi Picoult or Nicholas Sparks, it’s nice to know that no tissues or antidepressants  are required.

   A likable main character, Minn Dobbs, full-figured, curvy and round (very identifiable!), is struggling with her body image and men in general. An upcoming family wedding has her swearing off carbs and counting fat grams. Lots of wacky secondary characters, as well as dysfunctional  family members round out the story and make this an entertaining, quick read.

An interlude with donuts  threatens to sabotage her efforts to fit in her bridesmaid’s dress…



as well as a new found love of Chicken Marsala

 Her attempts to recreate if without fat or flour fail dismally but eventually she succumbs to olive oil and butter as well as the realization that a few carbs never hurt anyone.

Chicken Marsala, courtesy of Tyler Florence

  • 4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)

  • All-purpose flour, for dredging

  • Kosher salt  and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced

  • 8 ounces crimini or porcini mushrooms, stemmed and halved

  • 1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them; pound with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly.

Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. When the oil is nice and hot, dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Slip the cutlets into the pan and fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden, turning once – do this in batches if the pieces don’t fit comfortably in the pan. Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.

Lower the heat to medium and add the prosciutto to the drippings in the pan, saute for 1 minute to render out some of the fat. Now, add the mushrooms and saute until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Pour the Marsala in the pan and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a minute to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir in the butter and return the chicken to the pan; simmer gently for 1 minute to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

  7 comments for “Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

  1. January 16, 2010 at 2:50 am

    Well you made me want to read it!

  2. January 16, 2010 at 2:54 am

    you are GREAT AT THIS! i don’t know this book but it looks fun! what a great cover with your dishes too~ and the donuts, don’t you think its fun when our books meet our dietary needs ;-)

    i love chicken marsala, yum, always a fav here.

    off to check out amazon, i love learning about new books, this sounds like a foodie delight too!

  3. January 16, 2010 at 4:53 am

    Fast moving, fun Chick lit is better than valium. Now Chick lit + one of those chocolate doughnuts = Nirvana! Your photos are so well put together!

  4. Gollum
    January 16, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I definitely need to read this. Thanks for the great review.

  5. January 16, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Looks like a fun read. I enjoyed your photos! Love the dishes and the festive background fabric. The chicken marsala makes me hungry. I think it’s time for a trip to the kitchen! Thanks for sharing. ~ Sarah

  6. January 16, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    What a wonderful review. Now I have yet another book on my must read list.

  7. January 18, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    This is my first visit to a blog, EVER! I feel like my friend Mary is some kind of royalty! I can’t wait to read all the books. Love, A

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