Creating classic tastes doesn't have to be time consuming or difficult, as proven by this week's recipe. It combines the goodness of chicken with the timeless taste of tomatoes, all set off with traditional Italian spices.
Chickens, which were domesticated about 8000 years ago, have become a mainstay in our diets. They are relatively low fat, delicious and nutritious-providing significant amounts of several B vitamins, iron, zinc and selenium. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Americans purchased about 86 lbs. of chicken per person in 2007.
Extremely versatile as a food, chicken pairs terrifically with tomatoes. Tomatoes, which are technically a fruit, provide a somewhat sweet taste with an underlying layer of acidity. Their rich red color makes the perfect sauce for chicken. Add green bell pepper and mushrooms, and the taste is pure Italian.
Using cooking spray is a healthy way to sear and cook the meat. Finishing the cooking process by simmering the bird in the sauce enables the meat to fully absorb the flavor of the other ingredients.
The chicken broth ensures that the poultry stays savory moist. You can serve the pieces whole or some home chefs prefer to shred the meat. Either way, serve this wonderful dish over a bed of whole-wheat spaghetti or linguini. You will probably want to make some extra of this fast, nourishing and satisfying recipe because it makes great leftovers.
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Quick and Easy Chicken Cacciatore
Yield: Makes 4 servings.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/2 lb. chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
- 1/2 lb. chicken thighs, skinless and boned
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 (14 1/2 oz) can no added salt stewed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup water (may substitute low-sodium chicken broth or dry red cooking wine)
- 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- 1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- Coat large skillet with cooking spray. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Turn frequently to ensure consistent browning.
- Add in pepper, onion and mushrooms and saute an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in tomatoes, water (or broth or wine), Italian seasoning and black pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, simmer, gently stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender and no longer pink, about 15 minutes.
- Remove chicken from skillet, set aside and cover to keep moist and warm. Continue to simmer sauce, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until desired consistency.
- Place chicken in a serving dish. Pour sauce over the top and serve.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
6 g total fat
1.5 g saturated fat
9 g carbohydrate
23 g protein
2 g dietary fiber
75 mg sodium