Saturday, April 5, 2008


Here's an easy chicken dish when you're not in the mood to cook an elaborate meal. Allow 1 full chicken breast for each 2 persons. Since I mostly cook for 2, this recipe will be for 2. Just double it for 4; triple it for 6; etc. There aren't many ingredients and it makes up quickly. It's good served with fettucini or other pasta, but this time, I made brown rice. If you've never cooked with balsamic vinegar, you should give it a try. Italians have been doing it for a long time. You won't taste the vinegar (unless you add too much). It just gives a lift to your meal -- an edge that perks up the flavors. Italian cooking is quite simple and easy once you get the hang of it.

Sicilian Chicken and Vegetables for Two
INGREDIENTS: 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in bite-size chunks
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup sliced or coarsely chopped green pepper
1-1/4 cups sliced zucchini
4 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup sliced or chopped roasted sweet pepper
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. crushed dried oregano
1/4 - 1/3 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup chicken broth

DIRECTIONS: Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large heavy skillet. Salt and pepper the chicken chunks and add to the skillet. Brown the chicken on medium heat, turning as needed. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring them so they don't burn or stick. Remove the chicken to a plate while cooking the veggies. Turn the heat to low; add the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to the pan and add the onions and green pepper. Saute them for about 5 minutes, then add the zucchini. Cook an additional minute, stirring them as needed. Add the tomato paste and roasted peppers and stir till paste is dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium, put the chicken pieces back in and add the vinegar, parsley, oregano and thyme sprigs. Add the chicken broth and let it bubble up while you scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover; turn heat back to low and cook for 5 minutes or less, till veggies are tender and chicken is cooked through. Serve over pasta or with rice or cous cous. Yield: 2 servings.
P. S. You can also make this with canned diced tomatoes, in which case you won't need the chicken broth. The paste has just a tad more flavor than the diced tomatoes.

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