Friday, October 23, 2009

Chicken Cacciatore

Today I am proving that I don't always bake cookies and brownies and can actually hold my own with cooking. I have found myself with 2 containers of my leftover marinara sauce in my freezer that I want to use and a hankering for some Italian food.

So, tonight for dinner (well possibly for a few days as this can feed one person for quite awhile) I made a classic, Chicken Cacciatore. I have distinct memories of my mom making this when I was growing up and it was always delicious. What I really like about this recipe is that a lot of the ingredients are things that you already have in the kitchen and if you don't and don't feel like going to the store you can always improvise with this recipe. Yep, that's right there are a number of twists and variations you can do with this simple recipe. I was actually finding myself lacking the celery for this dish, so I chopped up a carrot and put that in to make up for it.

This recipe is mmm mmm good with it's melted mozzarella cheese and tender juicy chicken pieces served over pasta. It is actually very healthy too filled with plenty of heart healthy fat found in the olive oil and olives. Not to mention full of the antioxidant lycopene found in the tomato sauce. An added bonus would be using whole wheat pasta (which I did this time) to add a little extra fiber to the meal as well. I won't go into too many specifics here, but trust me you really can't go too wrong with chowing down on this dish.

Another benefit of this dish is it is easy to scale back or increase it's yield based on how many people you want to feed or days you want to be eating leftovers.

Chicken Cacciatore
From: My mom's recipe, so she deserves the props here

Olive oil
Chicken (I prefer using the breasts, but thighs can work nicely too)
Marinara sauce (I season my own sauce up w/ herbs like Italian seasoning and basil and add a little wine)
Mushrooms (I leave them out though)
Medium or large olives
Mozzarella cheese
*I know that I have not included any amounts in this ingredient list, but I don't measure anything out for this recipe everything is eyeballed and based on the amounts that you want and flavors that you're looking for. Don't like garlic then use less, love onion include more etc

1) Sautee onion, garlic, and celery in olive oil until onion turns translucent
2) Add chicken and cook until it is no longer pink
3) Add in your marinara sauce, mushrooms, and drained olives. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes
4) Meanwhile boil pasta (I use penne, but any shape works well) following directions on package
5) Over low heat top the simmering chicken and marinara with mozzarella cheese and let it melt
6) Place some pasta on a dish or in a bowl and spoon the chicken cacciatore over the top
7) Enjoy!

Twists and Variations: Feel free to add additional vegetables to this dish. In the past I have sauteed carrots with the onion, garlic, and celery and have included green beans as well. I have also seen cacciatore recipes made using different meat.

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