Saturday, May 30, 2020

Caprese Chicken

I love a Caprese salad of tomatoes, basil and cheese, so why not try a chicken caprese? You can grill this dish, but my family agrees it’s juicier straight from the oven. Serves 4-6 Total Time: 30 minutes


3-4 Large Chicken Breasts (or 5-6 thinly sliced chicken breasts)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3/4 teaspoon Dried Basil
3/4 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1 1/2 cups Fresh Tomatoes such as Campari or Grape, halved or quartered
1/3 cup Red Onion diced
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 1/2 cups Grated Mozzarella Cheese or 4 - 8 Slices Fresh Mozzarella
Garnish optional: Fresh Italian Parsley or Basil diced


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken breast in a baking dish or cast-iron skillet. Sprinkle with olive oil, basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Place halved tomatoes and diced onion all around chicken. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Bake for 18-24 minutes, depending on the thickness of chicken breast. After chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 160F-165F, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Set oven to broil and place baking pan or skillet on the top rack. Broil for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with fresh basil or Italian parsley. Serve by drizzling balsamic sauce and tomatoes all over chicken.

Due to the size of these chicken breasts it took 40 minutes to reach the internal temperature of 165F. Very good and very easy to make. This recipe is a keeper! 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Instant Pot Ziti with Italian Chicken Sausage

So, I had to look up Italian chicken sausage and it’s actually available in stores, like Target. Have you used it before? My girls love ziti and it works with all the flavors in this recipe. Quick and easy to make any day of the week. Serves 6 Total Time: 28 minutes


12 ounces fully cooked Italian chicken sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 red and/or yellow sweet peppers, coarsely chopped
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, crushed
8 ounces dried ziti or bow-tie pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese (4 oz)


In a 6-qt. Instant Pot combine the first 7 ingredients (through Italian seasoning). Sauté, uncovered, 5 minutes to brown sausage. (Personally I’d brown the sausage then add in the remaining 6 ingredients) Stir in pasta. Lock lid in place and make sure steam valve is closed. Set on high pressure for 8 minutes. Let sit 15 minutes to release pressure naturally. Release any remaining pressure. Carefully open lid. Gently stir in basil. Top with cheese. Cover and let stand 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Italian Pappardelle with Sausage and Peppers

This Italian Pappardelle with Sausage and Peppers is drenched in a flavorful, wine-infused sauce, bits of spicy Italian sausage, plus sweet bell peppers, onions, oven-roasted tomatoes and basil, it’s not only scrumptious, but quick and easy to prepare as well! Serves 4 Total Time: 45 minutes

Only have canned diced tomatoes, no problem. I’ve added a how to oven-roast tomatoes at the bottom of this recipe. You’ll need an extra hour and a half. 


8 ounces pappardelle noodles, uncooked 

Olive oil 
1 lb ground Italian sausage 
1 large onion, quartered and sliced thinly 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper 
1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced 
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced 
1 orange bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced 
4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press 
1/2 cup white white 
1 (28 ounce) can oven-roasted tomatoes, with juice 
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped 
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned, divided 


Prepare the pappardelle noodles according to instructions on package; then, drain the noodles very well, and keep them warm while you prepare the sauce. 

Place your Dutch Oven over medium-high heat, and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil; once the oil is hot, add the ground Italian sausage and cook until browned, remove with a slotted spoon and place into a small bowl to set aside. 

Next, add the sliced onion into the pan with the sausage drippings, and allow it to caramelize and become golden for roughly 5 minutes or so, stirring to keep it from burning (add a touch more olive oil, if necessary); once the onion starts to become golden, add the salt, Italian seasoning and cracked black pepper, and stir to combine. Add in the sliced bell peppers, and allow those to saute with the onion for about 2 minutes until slightly tender and golden; next, add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the white wine and allow it to reduce for a few moments, until almost completely reduced. 

Add in the oven-roasted tomatoes with their juice*, and return the browned Italian sausage back into the Dutch Oven and gently fold the mixture to combine; allow it to gently simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes to blend the flavors, then turn the heat off. 

To finish the sauce, drizzle in about 2-3 good tablespoons of the olive oil to create a silky, rich flavor, and stir in the chopped parsley and about half of the julienned basil. Add the cooked pappardelle noodles directly into the sauce, and using tongs, gently toss and combine the noodles with the sauce and all of the ingredients in it; check the seasoning to see if you need to add any additional salt or pepper. To serve, add equal portions of the noodles to bowls, and garnish with a sprinkle of the remaining julienned basil (you can even top with shaved parmesan, if desired). 

Oven-roasted Tomatoes:
You can use a can of whole tomatoes or diced tomatoes. Drain juice in a bowl and save for recipe above*. If whole, cut them lengthwise and then spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. You can add garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, anchovies and red pepper flakes to create your own flavor. Roast in the oven at 350F, without stirring, until caramelized, about 1 hour and 25 minutes. 

When done mash the whole tomatoes. If you’ve made more than required for the above recipe you can make pasta sauce or purée them add a splash of water or vegetable broth and make a flavorful tomato soup.