Monday, December 20, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

Here's an Italian version of using mushroom, onions, and peppers with a protein, and serving it with a carb. This makes a quick and easy to make one dish meal. You can increase the health factor by using whole wheat pasta, and increasing the amount of vegetables.


1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1 12-oz can Italian stewed tomatoes
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
up to 1/2 tsp salt
up to 1/4 tsp black pepper
8 ounces whole wheat pasta (rotini or penne)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


Heat oil in skillet, then add chopped onion. Let cook over medium heat for a minute or so, then add peppers. Cook another minute and add the mushrooms and garlic. Chop the chicken into 1 inch cube pieces. Add the chicken to the skillet with the vegetable mixture. Cook the chicken until it turns white on all sides. Add the stewed tomatoes, along with their juice and cook the mixure until done. While the chicken cacciatore cooks, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add the pasta. Cook until done, following the package directions, usually about 8 to 10 minutes depending on the type of pasta. Drain the pasta. Taste the cacciatore and season with salt, pepper, and hot pepper flakes to taste. To serve, spoon 1/2 cup of pasta into a shallow bowl, then top with 1/4 of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle some fresh parsley on top.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: This dish comes together fast - you can start cooking the onion while you're chopping the remaining vegetables. Using boneless, skinless chicken reduces the fat, and also reduces the cook time for the chicken. You'll want to cook it quickly during the initial "browning" stage - when it actually turns whitish. Then, lower the heat so the dish simmers slowly. Removing the fat from the chicken may make it more healthy to eat, but it's also easy to overcook chicken when it no longer has the fat. Practice! It's all good.

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