Chicken With Tomato-Vermouth Sauce

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Now that I’m a neophyte chef, I find myself paying more attention to -- and getting excited by -- recipes that come with cooking products you buy. I always keep Holland House cooking wine on hand, so I was happy to give their chicken with tomato-vermouth sauce a try.

What I love about this dish, along with the easy 20-25 total prep time, is it uses basic staples I always have on hand -- flour, paprika, ground pepper, olive oil, onions, tomato and garlic. I made a few modifications, omitting the recommendation for capers or anchovy fillets and subbing canned chopped tomatoes for the real thing.

Here’s how to do it:

4 boneless chicken breasts (since I’m cooking for one, I only made two, so there was plenty of sauce!)
¼ cup flour
½ tsp. each paprika and ground pepper
1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup Holland House vermouth cooking wine
2/3 cup tomatoes, chopped or pureed
2 tbsp. fresh basil

Dredge chicken lightly on both sides in flour mixed with paprika and pepper. Heat oil in skillet over medium-hugh heat. Add chicken and saute for 4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken. Adjust heat to medium, saute onion and garlic until soft. Deglaze with vermouth and bring to boil. Add tomatoes and basil. Stir 5 minutes and spoon over sauce.

Quick Chicken Parmesan

Friday, May 20, 2011

When you live to eat like I do, finding healthy variations of decadent favorites isn't always easy. So I was excited to stumble upon Ellen Haas' low-cal quick chicken parmesan recipe in Fit Food: Eating Well For Life.

Easy to make in just 30 minutes, the recipe includes most of what everyone loves about chicken parm -- tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese (low-fat, of course), olive oil and oregano. Sauteeing and baking the chicken gives it a great flavor. The purist in me, though, must admit I missed having bread crumbs on my cutlet.

Still, for less than 300 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving, it more than satisfied.

Click on the image below for full ingredient and prep details.

Pasta Hodgepodge

Friday, May 13, 2011

When it comes to easy comfort food, one of my favorite things is pasta. Last night, I kept it simple and dressed up whole wheat penne and shells with a hodgepodge of ingredients I had on hand.

In a skillet, I sautéed green bell peppers and mushrooms in olive oil. Once the penne was cooked, I poured it into the mixture, along with a few tablespoons of Ragu’s traditional sauce. I probably could have used a spice or two (and definitely a little more sauce), but the mushrooms and olive oil stood out to my taste buds.

Not bad for only 20 minutes in the kitchen!

Super Veggie-stuffed Peppers

Thursday, May 5, 2011

For my latest culinary foray, I once again turned to Lisa Lillien’s Hungry Girl 200 Under 200. Lillien has a knack for healthy dishes that manage to taste good too -- as I discovered yet again when I made her super veggie-stuffed peppers.

The dish offers a flavorful blend of vegetables and toppings --- mushrooms, onions, tomato sauce, low-fat cheese, garlic and taco seasoning mix. I substituted Morningstar Farm’s griller recipe crumbles for the recommended soy crumbles, which I think gave it a little more zest. Total cooking and prep time was an hour, and I agree with URBakin’MeCrazy blogger Megan that peppers could stand to be cooked longer than 25 minutes before stuffing them.


1 large red bell pepper
1 plum tomato, chopped
1/2 cup frozen ground-beef soy crumbles
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup canned tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons Shredded Cheese
1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning mix
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Saute mushrooms, onion, soy crumbles and chopped bell pepper for 3-5 minutes, or until veggies are slightly softened. Add Garlic and cook for an additional minute or two. Transfer to a medium bowl. To the bowl add tomato, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Mix thoroughly and set aside. Slice off the top of the bell pepper, slice in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Spray a small baking dish lightly with non-stick spray. Place pepper halves in the dish cut side up, and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove pepper halves from oven and reduce temperature of oven to 350 degrees F. Once pepper halves are cool enough to handle, use paper towel to soak up any excess moisture on the peppers. Evenly spoon veggie mixture into pepper halves. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Add Shredded Cheese on top, and put under broiler until the cheese begins to bubble!

Matzo Meal Lemon Chicken

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

When you’re learning how to cook, you’re bound to make a few missteps in the kitchen. So it was with a recent chicken dish I made.

Inspired by the delicious honey and matzo meal covered chicken that my good friend Caroline whipped up for Passover, I decided to make a variation of it. After dipping a chicken breast in lemon juice, I covered it in matzo meal -- a healthy and tasty alternative to bread crumbs -- and placed it on the oven at 375 degrees.

Though chicken is one of my frequent go-to entrees, I’m still getting the hang of what constitutes enough cooking time. As you can see from the photo above, 45 minutes isn’t it, especially when you’ve got matzo meal in the mix. I ended up with an unevenly coated chicken that didn’t have much flavor.

Lesson learned -- spare at least an hour if you’re cooking poultry in the oven.

What are some of your favorite chicken recipes? This neophyte chef could use a few suggestions!

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