The wonderfully rich scent of roasted peppers, combined with tomatoes and garlic, make this week's recipe aromatic, tasty and healthy.

Roasting the peppers brings out the natural sweetness of the glossy gems and it also imparts a subtle smokiness. Peppers are packed with vitamins C and A and are the perfect complement to tomatoes.

French botanist Tournefort gave the Latin name lycopersicon esculentum to tomatoes, which means "wolfpeach." "Peach" because they are round and "wolf" because they were once mistakenly believed to be poisonous. They have since become one of the most commonly enjoyed vegetables - although technically they are a fruit - adding nutrition and flavor to everything from salads to Italian classics and more. The high acid content of tomatoes makes them great for canning; they are canned more than any other vegetable or fruit.

The garlic and herbs in the Italian seasoning give this dish a pure Mediterranean flavor. The Italian parsley contains high amounts of essentials oils more than the familiar traditional curly-leafed parsley. The result - more intense fresh flavor.

A dash of red pepper flakes adds a bit of zest. The chicken broth ensures that the chicken breasts will remain moist throughout cooking.

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This recipe is quick and easy to prepare, makes great leftovers and ensures a healthy measure of nutrition to power you through your busy schedule.

Quick Italian Chicken with Roasted Peppers

Yield: Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 red bell peppers (or use roasted jarred peppers)
  • 2 green bell peppers (or use roasted jarred yellow peppers)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil, plus additional if roasting fresh peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 onion, chopped medium
  • 16-ounce can no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped medium (regular parsley maybe substituted)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4-1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. If roasting peppers, remove stems and seeds, cut lengthwise into eight pieces and brush pepper pieces with olive oil on both sides. Arrange on cooking sheet or baking dish, pressing down to ensure they are relatively flat and being careful to place them without overlapping.
  3. Bake peppers for about 12 minutes. Use tongs and turn them over and bake an additional 12 minutes or until they start to char. [Note: monitor carefully since time will vary depending on how close to the heating element they are.] Set them aside uncovered.
  4. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in large skillet. Saut garlic and red pepper flakes for about 1 minute. Add onion and continue cooking until translucent and tender, about 4 minutes.
  5. Stir in tomatoes, Italian seasoning, parsley, salt and pepper, and broth.
  6. Add chicken breasts to skillet. Increase heat to medium and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Turn chicken breasts and continue simmering for an additional 10 minutes or until sauce is reduced by about half and chicken is cooked through. (Meat thermometer should read 170 degrees when inserted to center of breasts..)
  7. Add roasted peppers to heat through, about 3-4 minutes.
  8. Serve, ladling remaining sauce over chicken and garnish with almonds.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
217 calories
4.5g total fat
1g saturated fat
15g carbohydrate
30g protein
4g dietary fiber
109mg sodium