Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wholesome Wednesday (Chicken Cacciatore)

The first time I had chicken cacciatore, I was 15 and working in an Italian restaurant.  It was the special of the day and I had for dinner that evening. It was satisfying and delicious.  The guy who made all the specials would make huge batches of it the day before. Then we would heat it up to order.  Fast forward about 10 years and I came up with a short cut version.

The history of cacciatore comes from around 1400.  It was considered a hunters dish.  Authentic cacciatore takes a whole chicken cut up and braised in tomatoes and mushrooms over a low heat for a long time.  Most of the time when I want cacciatore, I don't have the time to braise it for hours in the oven.  Instead I simply, add a few ingredients to already cooked chicken, and simmer for a short time.  The end result is just as delicious, and I have saved some time.

I wanted to share it for Wholesome Wednesday because it becomes healthier than the original cacciatore due to the skinless chicken breast and not the whole chicken with the skin on. I also serve it over whole wheat pasta for extra fiber.

recipe (yields 2 dinner servings or 4 to 6 lunch servings)

2 split chicken breasts roasted, skin removed and taken off the bone
1 medium green pepper, sliced
10 small crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 of a small onion, sliced
2 cups of spaghetti sauce, click here for recipe

To prepare roasted chicken breasts, on a sheet pan drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts. The temperature on a meat thermometer should read 170 degrees.  Allow the chicken to rest a few minutes, and then remove skin and take off of the bone.  I prepare five to six breasts this way at once, and use it for multiple meals throughout the week.

Dice the chicken in bite size pieces. Then in an oven safe baking dish combine chicken, sauce, and vegetables.  Cover with foil (or if your baking dish has a lid) and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until veggies are tender. (If you happen to have a 2 qt slow cooker, just combine all the ingredients and cook for about 3 hours in the slow cooker.)

Serve over a pasta of your choice with a nice dinner salad and fresh bread.

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