In recent weeks, it’s gotten harder to be more imaginative and energetic about dinner. Sure, I’m hungry when time rolls around to prepare a meal, but the warmer weather combined with my big belly and aching legs/feet haven’t been creating very ideal conditions.
Often, I wish someone benevolent soul would come over, clean the house, cook dinner, then tidy up all over again. Since that isn’t happening any time soon, I’ve had to just forgive myself on the days when I’m just not in the mood to turn on the oven.
I was so grateful when Cooking Light showed up in the mailbox at the end of last week; after perusing the pages, I came across a recipe for Chicken Puttanesca. It’s been years since I’ve had Pasta Puttanesca, and I didn’t realized how much I missed the tangy, delicious flavor until I began going through the ingredients for the chicken. I knew that I had an easy choice for at least one night this week.
I snuck in Sloppy Joe monday night–a super easy recipe. Just saute about 1/4 cup of onion and add ground beef. Once the beef is cooked all the way through, drain the grease, then add enough Heinz chili sauce to make the mixture wet without dousing it. Let it cook until thick, then serve on rolls with or without cheese. I paired it with corn on the cob.
And last night, I stepped it up a notch with the Chicken Puttanesca.
- Capellini pasta or similar (I used the fettucini I had in the house. It was a little too thick; next time, I’ll go with spaghetti, a favorite of Mike’s.)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
- 1/4 cup minced fresh onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups chopped tomato
- 1/4 cup sliced green olives (I went for plain, green olives, but next time, I might look for a tangier variety. It just adds something more to the overall flavor.)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons capers, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 canned anchovy fillet, chopped (I omitted the anchovy because I find it to be a little too salty. We both ended up adding table salt, but I prefer to do this rather than include the anchovy.)
1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes or until done, turning once. (It took much longer to cook the chicken, but I’m paranoid about under-cooking poultry. I browned the breasts on both sides, cutting it down the center to be sure there was no trace of pink. It ended up being quite juicy.)
2. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, onion, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. (At the same time, boil water for pasta and prepare. If you’re making an angel hair pasta or fresh pasta, you may want to wait a bit so it doesn’t sit too long and get sticky.)
3. Add tomato and remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 9 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
4. Serve chicken with the tomato mixture over pasta.
Mike was first to take a bite. He’d mentioned several times that it smelled delicious, but when I asked:
“How does it taste?”
Hm. I wasn’t convinced by his flat, even tone. I waited a few moments for him to give a follow-up comment, but it never came. Well, not the way I was expecting.
After eating two full helpings, he said:
“I love this sauce,” and “This might be my favorite of all your chicken dishes.”
“So, you’d want me to make it again?”
And you can bet that I’ll ride the high of my success for at least one more night, going for something simple and easy that requires little prep time. Hey, I’ve earned it.
If you have any ideas for Thursday night, send them along. As much as I wish it would, I don’t think Chicken Puttanesca is going to carry me until Friday.