Dinners

Recipe—Italian Chicken Dinner

Italian Chicken Dinner

I first tried this recipe about two months ago and have since made it at least 6 times tweaking it a little bit each time. IT HAS BECOME ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVES! We are actually having it again this week. It is perfect for this summer fully utilizing all those fresh tomatoes and basil. Most of my recipes are for a main dish or a side dish but this one is actually an entire meal. All of the components of this dish are just amazing! You have a flavorful juicy roasted chicken breast, sweet caramelized tomatoes that are literally bursting with flavor, and then the salty creamy fresh mozzarella with a nice little kick of heat from crushed red peppers, and then of course to balance it out you have some hearty brown rice simmered in chicken broth. Is your mouth watering now? Mine is! All these flavors are just so amazing together! Depending on the brown rice you get, this dinner takes about 45 minutes from start to finish and it is worth every minute of it!

Italian Chicken Dinner

Note: You can use fresh mozzarella in any form. I have used both the sliced mozzarella log as well as the little mozzarella balls. This makes a dinner that will serve 3–4 people. 

INGREDIENTS
1 c uncooked brown rice
2–2 1/2 c chicken broth (amount depends on the brown rice you purchase)Basil
3 c cherry tomatoes
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
Italian seasoning
salt & pepper
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 c fresh basil leaves, chopped

STEPS

  • Cook the brown rice per the package instructions but substitute chicken broth for water.
  • While the rice is cooking preheat the oven to 400º.
  • Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat.
  • Season both sides of the chicken breasts with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and place on the baking sheet
  • Bake the tomatoes and chicken for about 25 minutes or until the tomatoes have just started to burst and the chicken is done.
  • While the rice, chicken, and tomatoes are cooking prepare the mozzarella.
  • Place the mozzarella in a small bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes and salt.
  • Once all the components of the dish are ready, plate the rice, chicken, blistered tomatoes, mozzarella, and top with chopped basil.

 

Recipe adapted from Delish. 

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Side Dishes

Recipe—Italian Cheese Rolls

Sometimes you just need to spruce up the ordinary with a little pizzazz. While there is nothing wrong with plain garlic bread or even simple dinner rolls but sometimes it is fun to take those sides dishes to the next level. I have seen these cheese filled Pillsbury rolls popping up all over Pinterest and decided to come up with some yummy rolls of my own. I went with an Italian version to go with all the pasta dishes I make, a great substitute for the traditional garlic bread.

INGREDIENTS
1 container of Pillsbury Grands Flaky Biscuits
block of mozzarella, cut into eight 1.5” x 1.5” cubes
1/4 c butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp Italian seasoning mix
salt

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Open the tube of rolls and flatten each one using the palms of your hands.
  • Position a cheese cube in the center of each flattened roll and wrap the edges of the roll up around the cheese cube making sure they are sealed up tight.
  • Place seam side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Repeat until all the rolls have been assembled.
  • Mix together the melted butter and garlic.
  • Brush each roll with the garlic butter.
  • Sprinkle all the rolls with the Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and a little salt.
  • Bake the rolls for 16–18 minutes or until they are golden on top.
  • Let the rolls cool for about 3 minutes before serving. That cheesy filling can be nuclear.
Sauces

Recipe—Alfredo Sauce

One of my son’s first favorite foods was cheese tortellini smothered in alfredo sauce. I personally love alfredo sauce over fettuccine noodles and served with a grilled chicken breast and some broccoli. Either way alfredo sauce is a great indulgence to enjoy anytime. Who doesn’t love the thick creamy Italian cheese sauce over their favorite pasta? It is popular with people of all ages and can be extremely versatile. I have even used it as a white pizza sauce or poured over a baked potato. Homemade alfredo sauce is actually really easy and quick to make and so worth it. The quality does not compare to anything store bought. Give it a try! It will be a home run with the whole family!

Note: If you want a high quality sauce equal to that of one served in a restaurant (or better) use high quality ingredients. I recommend getting a fresh ball of mozzarella and a block of Parmesan over in the deli. You will notice the difference! Kraft will leave it gritty and we want it to be smooth.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/3 c white wine
2 c heavy cream
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 c parmesan cheese, shredded
3/4 c mozzarella cheese, shredded

STEPS

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat melt the butter and add olive oil.
  • Add the garlic and sauté for 1–2 minutes.
  • Carefully pour in the wine and heat until it begins to simmer.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and the white pepper and bring to a simmer stirring often.
  • Add in the Parmesan cheese and simmer for 8–10 minutes. By this point the sauce should be smooth and start to thicken.
  • Add the mozzarella cheese and stir frequently until smooth and completely incorporated.
  • Reduce heat to low and begin cooking your noodle of choice while the sauce simmers and continues to thicken.
  • Remove sauce from the stovetop and allow it to sit for a few minutes. It will thicken up a bit more.
  • Serve sauce over cooked pasta.