This is one of my favorite back-to-school meals. It’s an all-in-one kind of easy dish you want to have ready to go for the busy schedules of fall. I have to admit, I get a little crazy excited about kids heading back to school with all the excitement of seeing old friends again and because all five of my children have been so involved in sports/athletics over the years. Fall is football, volleyball, soccer games galore. Bring them on! Maybe it’s because I get a little sports-deprived over the summer break that I get so hyped up!
This year, our middle son will be playing wide receiver for the Idaho State Bengals football team. We’ll be traveling to watch his games practically every weekend. I’ve already warned a few moms, though that I might need to “rent-a-boy” for local games at the younger levels. I miss those fun days of watching the little guys play with such serious determination and grit.
This recipe comes together surprisingly fast, but let me tell you now, make more than you need because it tastes even better the next day and the day after that. Here’s one time you’ll be begging for leftovers. Plus your house will smell heavenly for days! Enjoy the healthy, antioxidant-rich ingredients of tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic and olive oil in a rich reduction sauce of crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and a little white wine. Season with basil, oregano and a bay leaf . . . and you’re almost there. Serve with a small portion of whole grain pasta, top with crumbled bacon and shredded Parmesan cheese for the perfect meal-in-a-dish delight your whole family will love.
- Chicken Cacciatore
- 8 ounces whole grain penne pasta (I used Barilla multi-grain)
- 6 slices center-cut bacon (I use Hormel Naturals, nitrate- and nitrite-free)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch thick slices
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tsp dried basil leaves
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to cooking pan to keep warm.
- Cook bacon until crisp. Drain well and crumble. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet placed over medium high heat. Add chicken slices and cook until done and juices run clear. Remove from pan and set aside.
- To the same pan, add onion and garlic, cooking until onions are soft and translucent. Add mushrooms and bell pepper, cooking until soft. Add tomatoes, broth, wine, basil, oregano, bay leaf, salt, pepper and cooked chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until reduced by about one-third.
- Serve over pasta and top with crumbled bacon and Parmesan cheese.
You'll be begging for leftovers, so make more than you need. The flavors meld together over time.