My sister Laura and I used to make a dinner dish similar to this when her kids were still little, but we lost the recipe years ago! It was an easy, inexpensive family meal. So today, her daughter Mallory and I tried to recreate it!
Chicken (Kinda) Cacciatore
1 pound chicken breast strips (I used the very thin ones that cook quickly, but use what you like, adjusting cook time accordingly. You can also use dark meat!) Salt and pepper them a bit before putting in the pan.
1 package frozen veggie mix: onions, green peppers, celery, red peppers (but use what you like! If you want to use fresh veggies that’s fine!)
¼ cup oil…olive or canola
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 carrot, grated
1 can black olives, chopped or sliced (reserve a little for garnish if you like!)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T tomato paste
1 package cream cheese, cubed
1 cube of bouillon, optional (we used Better Than Bouillon)
1 T butter
Scallions, chopped for garnish
Salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings you like. We used basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and garlic powder.
We used a cast iron skillet, but if you don’t have one, just use a skillet large enough to cook all of these ingredients.
Add the oil to the pan, using a low-medium heat. Sauté the onion and pepper mix until soft, then toss in the garlic and continue to cook for about 30 seconds. You don’t want to burn that garlic!
Remove the veggies from the pan, and put in the chicken breast strips. Brown both sides. This won’t take long, 3-4 minutes per side.
Add the veggies back into the pan, along with the crushed tomatoes (slowly so it doesn’t splatter!), tomato paste, bouillon, olives, spices, carrot and cream cheese.
Cover and cook on low-medium heat, stirring often. Cook 15-20 minutes, depending on the cut of chicken. Longer if it’s dark meat. Internal temp for chicken should reach 165 degrees.
When it’s close to being done, taste the sauce and add salt if it needs it. We were very sparing with the salt, because the cheese, olives and bouillon are all salty.
And then…add one tablespoon of butter and finish cooking! That butter gives next-level flavor!
Serve topped with some scallions and olives, and a little grated parmesan. Works well with a side of pasta, rice or crusty bread!