Tuscan Garlic Chicken in a Creamy Sauce

This is a recipe originally shared with you folks just over a year ago. By the time this recipe is published again, our BIG MOVE should be behind us (hope!) and I will be well on my way of setting up my new kitchen. Moving is always stressful, unless you have the finances to pay someone else to do everything for you. We don’t. Not only did we have the move itself to contend with, there was all the pre-packing sorting to do. Have you ever stood in a room filled to the rafters with “stuff” and asked yourself “What the heck was I thinking?”

Like most people during a move, we had a one-day yard sale. Hubby was hoping we could recoup the money spent on boxes, tape and bubble wrap. Oh yeah, like that was going to happen! Especially with the way we had gone about our sale – nothing was marked with a price, and we told people to pay whatever they felt was a fair price. It’s amazing what a dollar will get you when the seller is more interested in letting go rather than making a buck. A lot of our customers were children with pockets of coin to spend. I’m a sucker when it comes to children. They got the best deals – for a quarter they could take whatever they could carry. We had worked out a deal with some church ladies that we would donate anything remaining at the end of the day to their upcoming Rummage Sale. We were more interested in getting rid of things rather than packing.

Anyway, back to the recipe at hand. Since I don’t know when I’ll have access to a printer, my meal planning for the immediate future revolves around dishes I am familiar with. This luscious chicken dish served over a bed of linguine is one I can whip up with my eyes closed.

Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thin sliced
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup White Wine
1 cup heavy cream
6 Cloves Garlic, minced
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup spinach, chopped
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips
1/2 Lb Linguine

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large flat-bottom skillet. Sprinkle Italian season over chicken. Place seasoned chicken into skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown and no longer pink in center. Remove chicken to a small platter, cover with foil and hold in a warm oven.

Add Linguine to boiling water and cook until just cooked through, about 9 minutes.

While pasta cooks, add chicken broth and white wine to the now empty skillet to deglaze the pan, scraping up any little brown bits of chicken.

Add the heavy cream, minced garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Whisk over medium-high heat until smooth. Lower heat to medium-low and continue to whisk until sauce starts to thicken.

Lower heat to simmer, add the spinach and sun-dried tomato strip. Let it simmer until the spinach starts to wilt.

Remove chicken from oven. Cut into strips and return to the skilled with sauce. Spoon sauce over chicken to coat.

Drain pasta, transfer to rimmed serving platter. Arrange breasts over pasta, spoon sauce over chicken, serve and enjoy!

Skewered Chicken Spirals on a Bed of Garlic Couscous

Recently I read a darling recipe for Italian Chicken Sausage and Israeli Couscous. It is definitely on my “gotta try this” list. Everything cooks up in a single pan – always a plus, and I love couscous. Coleen over at Leen Cuisine always is a delight to read, and her recipes are beautiful. Her one-pan wonder is no exception (https://leencuisine.com/2017/08/06/italian-chicken-sausage-with-israeli-couscous/)

Reading Coleen’s post got me to thinking about my own favorite chicken with couscous. It’s a delicious recipe that I had shared with you back in October 2014. This is an updated recipe, as it includes the recipe for the Garlic Couscous. Sure, you could serve this spirals on a bed of rice or risotto or all on their own. I just like the added exotic appeal of Couscous.

Let me know what you all think – and please check out Coleen’s recipe, too.

Skewered Chicken Spirals with Fresh Basil
4 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless, pounded thin
1 Garlic Clove, crushed
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
4 Hickory-Smoked Bacon Slices
Large handful Fresh Basil Leaves
Kitchen twine, enough to hold rolled chicken together
Oil for brushing
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Bamboo Skewers, soaked for 30 minutes in water

For Serving: A Bed of Garlic Couscous (recipe below)

Soak Wooden Cocktail or Bamboo Skewers in water for 30 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

Spread out a piece of chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound thin. Repeat with remaining chicken.

01 Pound Breast Thin

On a large work space, lay out chicken. Pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Mix together garlic and tomato paste, spread a layer of paste on each piece of chicken. Lay a slice of bacon on top of paste, then scatter basil leaves. 

03 Spread Tomato Paste, add bacon & basil

Roll tightly to form a spiral, rolling in the opposite direction as the bacon strip. Beginning at the center and working out, secure roll with kitchen twine in 1-inch intervals. Trim the ends so that the chicken will be somewhat uniform in shape and thickness.

05 Roll and Tie

Starting at one end of rolled, about ¾ of an inch from the very end, with the breast perpendicular to the skewer, thread bamboo skewer through chicken to hold spiral shape. Using a sharp knife, slice chicken spiral from roll at the twine; and then cut away twine. Give the skewered spiral a quarter turn, so that the cut side is up. Re-position roll and repeat until entire breast has been threaded onto skewer, cutting away twine as you go. This will make the rolled chicken hold its shape better and will make threading it easier. You should end up with four or five spiral pieces of chicken on each skewer.

07 Place on skewers

Heat broiler element. Lay chicken on a broiler pan and brush with oil. Place chicken under broiler and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes, turning once midway through.

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To Serve: Create a bed of couscous on an oval serving platter. Top with chicken spirals and serve. Great with Smokey Pan Seared Asparagus or even a bright and refreshing Asparagus and Tomato Salad with a Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Garlic Couscous
1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced
Butter, as needed
1 ¼ Cup Chicken Stock
1 Cup Pearl Couscous
2 Teaspoons Butter
1 ½ Teaspoon Parsley Flakes

Peel and mince garlic. Set aside until ready to use.

Bring the stock to a boil. While waiting, sauté the garlic.

Heat a dab of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, and sauté until garlic is tender and just beginning to brown, 2-3 minutes.

To boiling stock, add 2 teaspoons butter, garlic, parsley and couscous. Cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove from heat. Let sit a few more minutes for flavors to merge together. Remove cover and fluff before serving.

Butterfly Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

This is one of those recipes that has made several appearances on our meal planner, only to be pushed aside, opting instead for fast food, a night of left overs or cold sandwiches. For whatever the reason, the dish could not find its way from the planning stage to the execution process. Finally, I painted myself into a corner – two beautiful breasts wrapped in butcher paper sat it the refrigerator, along with fresh broccoli from the farmer’s market and a bright orange pepper. No excuses – no backing down.

Delicious! Easy and delicious! Hubby loved the rich sauce and even Kiddo ate his broccoli. Yeah, this is one dish we will serve again. It’s one of those yummy dishes that would do well at a potluck, too. Hope you give it a try soon – I promise, you won’t be sorry!

Butterfly Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
Flour for dredging.
1 (12 oz) Package Farfalle (Bow Tie) Pasta
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1 Head Broccoli, cut into Florets
1 Orange Bell Pepper, seeded, sliced thin
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1 (8 oz) Container Chive & Onion Cream Cheese
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add pasta and cook 10-15 minutes or until al dente (Firm to the Tooth/Bite). Drain.

Heat a large, heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter mixed with 2 tablespoons olive oil in skillet.

Cut chicken into strips, dredge lightly in flour and brown in the skillet until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes per side, turning as needed. Remove from skillet and keep warm.

To now empty skillet, add chicken broth, bell pepper, garlic, broccoli, salt and pepper. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and add chicken. Cover and let simmer 8-10 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender.

Stir in cream cheese until smooth. Add pasta to sauce. Toss to coat evenly and heated through.

Pour mixture onto large rimmed serving platter. Garnish with Parmesan Cheese and serve.

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

In case you were wondering; Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. Cacciatore refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with onions, herbs, usually tomatoes, often bell peppers, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is popularly made with braised chicken or rabbit. “Hunter-style” cooking boils down to a popular method of cooking – better known as one-pot method. It makes sense when you think about it – I just can’t see a bunch of hunters doing the dishes, can you?

When I hear the term “hunter-style”, I don’t envision modern men in bright orange vests traipsing through the woods with high-powered rifles. What springs to mind are fur-clad bearded men with bows and arrows. Maybe not cave men, but pretty darn close. Rugged men with large appetites. While my men might not be the most rugged of beasts, the large appetites are none the less apparent and in need of satisfaction. This wonderful dish, over a nice bed of pasta, does the trick.

By removing the skin from the thighs, it reduces the fat and greasy mess of chicken skin. By leaving the bones in, the flavor is intense (like a good bone-based soup) and the chicken holds its shape rather well. The end result are big, flavorful chunks of meat floating a nice tomato base.

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore
8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin removed
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh herbs such as basil or parsley for topping
1 lb linguine

Quick method: Season chicken with salt and black pepper and place in the slow cooker. Pour tomatoes over the chicken, top with onions and peppers, add oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, give it a quick stir and cover.

Set crock pot to LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours. When the timer beeps, remove lid and keep the crock pot on HIGH one hour to help it thicken.

Better method but requires more prep:  Heat a large skillet over medium-high, lightly spray with oil  and brown chicken on both sides a few minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add to the slow cooker.

To the now empty skillet, spray with a little more oil and add onions and peppers. Sauté until juices release and the vegetables become golden, a few minutes.

Add to the slow cooker. Pour tomatoes over the chicken and vegetables, add oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, give it a quick stir and cover. Set crock pot to LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours.

Once the chicken is fully cooked, make the pasta. Let the pasta cook al dente, drain well. Place on a large serving platter.

Remove bay leaf from crock pot. Taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Ladle chicken with plenty of sauce over the pasta and enjoy! (Don’t forget to pull out the bones – yeah, it’s a pain but bones add more flavor. Don’t want to mess with the bones? What can I tell you – use boneless thighs).

Chicken Parmesan Crock Pot Style

Warning – this is one of those rare Crock Pot dishes that does require the meat to be thawed first. It is the only drawback to an otherwise fabulous dish. That one tiny step – thawing out the chicken – is the only step that requires you to think ahead rather than stagger into the kitchen in the morning and throw everything into the pot.

Our favorite Italian Restaurant has closed. What a bummer. One of the “cute” traditions was that it did not seem to matter what you ordered, it always came with a small bowl of pasta on the side – usually spaghetti topped with a lovely marinara sauce. (And when I say it did not matter what you ordered, I kid you not – even if you ordered a big plate of Spaghetti – you got more on the side!)

I miss my little Italian joint. I miss our waiter, a little old man who shuffled when he walked, with an accent so heavy and a heart as big as all outdoors. I miss his wife, the grandmother in the kitchen with a giant dish towel tied around her waist. And the Dean Martin music! I feel homesick for a country that I’ve never been to – if you can imagine that! So I’m cooking up one of our favorite dishes, and serving a good bottle of wine in jelly-jars. Here’s to a bygone memory!

Chicken Parmesan Crock Pot Style
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 egg, beaten
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (26 oz.) jar spicy or mild marinara sauce
1 lb Linguine or Spaghetti Pasta, cooked al dente
Flat Leaf Italian Parsley for garnish

Coat the bottom of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Spread a thin layer of marinara in the bottom of the slow cooker.

In a bowl, whisk egg. Mix together bread crumb, seasonings, and Parmesan cheese in a separate dish. Dip chicken into egg mixture; then into bread crumb mixture, coating both sides.

Place the chicken in slow cooker and top with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Cover with entire jar of marinara sauce. Cook on low 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

When chicken is done, keep warm in the crock pot. Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil. Cook pasta as directed, about 8 to 10 minutes in boiling water.

Chop parsley while pasta is cooking

Transfer pasta to a large bowl. Place chicken on a serving dish. Ladle marinara over both dishes. Toss pasta to coat. Sprinkle pasta and chicken with parsley to garnish

Pasta can be eaten on the side in a small bowl (Italian Style) or topped with chicken when serving.

A nice salad, or pan-seared vegetables and warm bread round out this supper nicely. Enjoy!

Italian Mushroom and Asiago Chicken

It’s really hard to write every day. I wander back and forth between something old and something new. Sometimes I have a cute story to share, other times it’s here ya go – for what it’s worth.

Italian Mushroom Asiago Chicken is from the something old category – originally posted in June 2014. I love the assortment of Mushrooms – a great source for Vitamin D – with all their wonderful, earthy flavors. Asiago cheese is another wonderful flavor – sort of like Parmesan Cheese, with a nutty flavor and a hint of sweetness. Yum! Put this all together with a nice bed of garlic-infused pasta and a cream sauce – how can you go wrong?

Garnish your platter with fresh thyme, mix up a nice salad and serve with a crisp white wine – oh yeah – this dish is most definitely worth a second look.

Enjoy!

Italian Mushroom Asiago Chicken
1 lb thin cut boneless skinless chicken breast
2 cups mushrooms (assortment include Shiitake & Crimini mushrooms), quartered
2 clove garlic, minced (more if you like – there’s no such thing as too much garlic!)
3 springs fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup seasoned flour (recipe below)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese or an Italian Cheese blend that includes Asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

Buy your chicken thin sliced or butterfly the breasts yourself – then separate the two “wings”. Set aside.

Heat the butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in deep, heavy skillet or saute pan over medium heat.

Dredge chicken in seasoned flour.  Add to hot oil/butter in skillet.  Saute until golden on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove from pan.

Add remaining olive oil to hot skillet.  Saute mushrooms and garlic until mushrooms begin to brown.

Add white wine to skillet, scraping up all the browned bits that are at the bottom of the pan. Bruise the fresh thyme by twisting it between your fingers or hitting it with the dull side of a knife in a few places.  Add thyme to mushroom/wine mixture in pan.

Add the chicken back to the pan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove chicken from pan.  Add the cream and heat through. Add the cheese blend and continue to cook, stirring constantly over low heat until cheese melts. Continue cooking until sauce is reduced by about half.

Add chicken back to pan and heat through. Serve over a bed of garlic linguine.

Seasoned Flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

In a zip-lock bag, mix flour with seasoning. Close bag, shake well.

Dump seasoning flour into a pie pan or spread on a sheet of waxed paper (works well – less clean up). Set aside until ready to dredge chicken in flour mixture.

Simple Garlic Linguine
½ Lb Linguine, cooked
2 Tablespoons Butter
4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil.

Cook linguine until done al dente – cooked but firm to the bite, about 10 minutes.

While pasta is cooking, heat a small sauté pan, add butter, garlic and oregano. Sauté until the butter is melted. DO NOT let the garlic brown.

Drain pasta, place in a warm serving bowl. Pour butter mixture over pasta, toss to coat evenly.

Transfer linguine to a large serving platter. Place chicken over linguine, spoon mushrooms over chicken and garnish with fresh thyme.

Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

As many of you know, I  plan out a menu for an entire week’s worth of cooking at a time. Recently, we cooked up a wonderful, creamy chicken dish served over Fettuccine, Chicken Milano. Italian dishes are very popular in our house. On this week’s menu was a recipe for Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken. It seemed simple enough, something that could be whipped up with the usual assistance from my number one Sous Chef, Kiddo. Now I will be honest, I really didn’t read the recipe in detail; just sort of the once over to see if I could work it into a mid-week dinner. Yep, it would work.

This morning, I printed the recipe and read it carefully while sipping my morning coffee and getting the juices flowing to my brain. OMG – the original recipe for Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken was so close to Chicken Milano it wasn’t funny. The only substantial difference that I could see was the choice of pasta. Oh no – that would not do, not at all. Changes needed to be made, and quickly.

  • Switch the 1-pound big breast for 1 pound of thin-sliced chicken.
  • Decrease the chicken broth, add white wine to keep the liquid at 1/2 cup.
  • Cut sun-dried tomatoes into strips rather than dice.
  • Add Parmesan cheese to the sauce.
  • Season breasts with Italian Seasoning rather than salt and pepper.
  • Replace fresh basil with spinach
  • Increase the amount of garlic

Satisfied with the changes, I printed a new recipe, poured another cup of Morning Joe and finished getting ready to start my day.

Once home, Kiddo and I made quick work of dinner as a team. Here we go – New and Improved Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken . . .

Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup White Wine
1 cup heavy cream
6 Cloves Garlic, minced
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup spinach, chopped
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips
1/2 Lb Linguine

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large flat-bottom skillet. Sprinkle Italian season over chicken. Place seasoned chicken into skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown and no longer pink in center. Remove chicken to a small platter, cover with foil and hold in a warm oven.

Add Linguine to boiling water and cook until just cooked through, about 9 minutes.

While pasta cooks, add chicken broth and white wine to the now empty skillet to deglaze the pan, scraping up any little brown bits of chicken.

Add the heavy cream, minced garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Whisk over medium-high heat until smooth. Lower heat to medium-low and continue to whisk until sauce starts to thicken.

Lower heat to simmer, add the spinach and sun-dried tomato strip. Let it simmer until the spinach starts to wilt.

Remove chicken from oven. Cut into strips and return to the skilled with sauce. Spoon sauce over chicken to coat.

Drain pasta, transfer to rimmed serving platter. Arrange breasts over pasta, spoon sauce over chicken and serve.