Sunday, March 13, 2011

Italian Chicken Dinner!

This recipe for Italian Chicken is seriously delicious and easy. One of our family favorites. It always tastes good and we almost always have everything that we need to make it in the cupboard and fridge. 

With spring practically knocking on our doors I also wanted to eat something that had bright colors and flavors to welcome in our fresh new season! Plus the fresh basil I used as a garnish really punched the flavors up for me!
It's a perfect Sunday night dinner or week night dinner because all you have to do is add some things to the crock pot after doing a little sauteing! If you don't know what to make for dinner tonight.. Throw this in the crock pot and get outside to enjoy the first hints of spring!

You don't want to miss a thing! And with this recipe you won't miss any flavor, fat, calories, or life! With only 203 calories and a whopping 26 grams of protein this recipe will take you into spring for sure!

It also goes bread with my Twisted Italian Bread!

It doesn't get better than this!

Chicken A La Italia!
4 lbs. Bone-In Chicken Breasts; fat removed
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 large White Onion; chopped
11 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 (14 ounce) Can Artichoke Hearts; drained
1 (6 ounce) Can Jenny Black Olives; drained
1 (16 ounce) Can Sliced Mushrooms; drained
1 (24.5 ounce) Jar Prepared Marinara Sauce (find one that's less than 9 grams of sugar please!)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning

Note: I chose to use bone-in chicken breasts because I happen to think the bone adds a lot of flavor without any of the fat. If you want to use regular skinless chicken breasts feel free to do that and just skip the first instructions.
1.  With the bone-in: First we want to take off all the fat and skin using a sharp knife. Just pull the skin away from the meat and start cutting. Once they are all clean, cut them into halves or thirds depending on how big they are.
2. Then sprinkle the salt and pepper over the chicken breasts.
3. Heat a large skillet (or if you have a two in one crock pot turn it to saute mode) and heat to medium. Spray with cooking spray, then add the chicken, breast side down. Saute each side for 4-5 minutes. The meat will be less pink and begin to whiten and brown. That's exactly what we want!
4. While the chicken is sauteing, mince the garlic and onion.
5. After the chicken has cooked on each side make a well in the middle of the chicken breasts and spray a little more cooking spray. Add the minced onion and garlic. Saute the onion and garlic for another 3-5 minutes alongside the chicken.

6. When the onions become translucent add the white wine to de-glaze the pan and stir everything together.  Once the white wine has cooked down (about 3-5 more minutes) transfer the mixture to your crock pot set to low.
7. Slice the artichoke hearts and black olives and add to the crock pot. Then add the sliced mushrooms and stir to combine. Then pour the marinara sauce over the top of the whole thing and add the Italian Seasonings. Then continue to stir to incorporate all ingredients. Cover your crock pot and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on High for 3-4 hours.
8. When you are getting ready to serve cook up your favorite whole Wheat Pasta according to package directions and serve in a nest of your pasta. Or just eat it as is with a bright fresh salad! You do whatever makes your heart sing!

Easy and Delicious!

Servings: 10 (4 ounces of chicken)

Nutritional Skinny:

 203 calories / 5.9 g fat / 11.3 g carbohydrates / 2.2 g fiber / 26 g protien

Mental Health Benefit: This recipe is so easy to prepare.. All you need is a crock pot and a skillet and a few hours. This is the kind of recipe that you can make the night ahead and put it in the fridge, then pour it all into a crock pot and turn it to low. Go to work. Come home and dinner is ready. I love meals like this because it gives us all the freedom to live our lives while dinner is cooking instead of cooking dinner as our life. Set your crock pot and get outside and enjoy the birds chirping, the trees budding, and the first glimmers of spring. Dinner will be ready when you are!

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