One Pan Paleo Chicken Cacciatore

Camera Update: I got my new camera in mail yesterday! I’m over the moon. I’ll be returning to the regular posting scheduling shortly, now what I can shoot! 

Now... on to this delicious dish! 

I’ve been on a re-working streak: revisiting old favorites from the blog and taking new pictures (like this Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry, or this Lemony Garden Vegetable & Chicken Soup). It takes some of the mind-work out of the equation, leaving me to only do the creative pieces: photography, a bit of writing, quite a lot of eating. 

This one-pan chicken cacciatore is one of those revisited recipes. I originally made this recipe when I was in the middle of finals for grad school. It feels like a lifetime ago. At the time, exams, essays, and textbooks took up such a large part of my life it was hard to believe it could be any other way. In retrospect that was a short lived moment in my journey, one that I even forget about most of the time. All the better, as my experience with grad school was unremarkable. 

One Pan Paleo Chicken Cacciatore

When I first published this recipe I had said, "I need meals that are simple, quick, and take a minimal amount of brain work.” But I was also looking for ways to express myself creatively, something multiple choice tests didn’t allow. It's that creative need that comes through in this recipe, inspired by a single night out at Pasta Jay’s on Pearl Street. 

I remember—not the exact dish I had eaten at Pasta Jay’s- but the thoughts that ran through my head when I ate the leftovers out of a cardboard to-go box the next day. The dish awed me, to be honest. I had never had anything but pasta-laden dishes from Italian restaurants before (to be expected), but this dish had no pasta, and was the best thing I’d eaten that month. 

I ate that meal in 2011 and originally wrote up this recipe in 2015. It’s now been 7 years, and that first introduction to cacciatore stays with me.

Making cacciatore is a bit of a production: if you really want to impress people, you’ll need to get fresh basil, and there are a few things you’ll need to chop. Oh, but it’s worth it. Since I’m usually making this on a weeknight, after running errands or getting a workout in, I try to chop everything ahead of time (in the morning, or the night before). I’ll even measure out the spices and put them in a bowl, so that when evening rolls around I don’t even have to think. Just put things in the pot (I use a blue Le Creuset Braiser for meals like this (affiliate link!)) and remember to stir occasionally! 

One Pan Paleo Chicken Cacciatore

One Pan Paleo Chicken Cacciatore

Published February 27, 2018 by
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Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 60 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bone-in chicken thighs (boneless and skinless is fine too, just reduce cooking time - cook thighs until internal temperature reaches 185°F)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced in strips (choose a variety of colors: yellow, red, or green)
  • 1/4 cup red wine, such a Pinot Noir or Sirah
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered 
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced chiffonade style style, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional for serving: grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese, red pepper flakes, extra basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet (I use my 5-qt Le Creuset Braiser (affiliate link!), though a 13 to 15 inch skillet would work as well). Once the oil glistens, place chicken thighs skin-side down in the pan. Sear the chicken for 3 minutes, then flip them over and continue to cook chicken for 5 more minutes.
  2. After 5 minutes, place the onions, garlic, and peppers in pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Add the wine, and scrape the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Pour in the tomatoes, and stir in the artichoke hearts, balsamic vinegar, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt and pepper.
  4. Bring back up to simmer, and place lid on pan. Cook, for 20-30 more minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads 185°F when inserted into the center of the thickest thigh.
  5. Remove from heat, and serve on plates or in bowls. Garnish with grated parmesan, red pepper flakes, and/or extra basil.
  6. Tip: try serving this over spiralized zucchini or spaghetti squash for a grain-free pasta option.

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Easy Food Processor Pesto

After posting my eleventh recipe that called for pesto to this blog (Pesto Zoodles with Fresh Peas and Bacon), I decided it was high time I actually post a recipe for pesto itself. Watch below or click here to watch the recipe video! Scroll past the video for some images and the full recipe. 

Pesto is a glorious, glorious thing. Ancient Romans were on to something when they started mashing herbs with garlic, cheese and oil. Can you imagine being the chef to first pull out your moral and pestle, fill it with herbs and nuts, only to yield a greenish glop that looks unlike any other sauce you'd seen? And then the first bite! What do you think they thought?

Easy Food Processor Pesto

Of course, times have since changed dramatically. Basil wasn't the star of pesto sauce until 1863 (according to Wiki), and wasn't even popular in the US until the 1980s and 1990s. Which, I suppose, explains a lot: as a 90s kid, I was set up to love pesto from the beginning. And now here I am, making pesto in a food processor. (Many will tell you this is not the traditional way, and they are right: in ancient Rome they didn't have food processors... or electricity. This food processor method is the 21st century way. I've made many a batch of pesto in a mortar and pestle, but for a big batch, I always go for the food processor). 

When I have a fresh batch of pesto in the fridge, I fearless add it to every meal. A condiment for potatoes (a sauce for sweet potatoes, or just a dip for some roasted yukon golds). The creamy base for this chicken dish. Shmeared inside of a cheesy omelette. I even put the stuff straight on steamed broccoli, or stir a tablespoon of pesto with a tablespoon of lemon juice to make a vinaigrette. You get the picture. 

Easy Food Processor Pesto
Easy Food Processor Pesto

Easy Food Processor Pesto

Published July 11, 2017 by
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Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 10 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Pulse garlic in food processor with salt until minced.
  2. Add pine nuts to food processor, and pulse three times. Add parmesan and lemon zest to food processor, and pulse until a meal forms.
  3. Add basil and oil to the food processor and pulse until the basil and minced evenly. Scrape the sides with a spatula and pulse again briefly.
  4. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge until ready to use. Will last up to 1 week in the fridge.

FOR NUT-FREE: Substitute 1/4 cup sunflower seeds for 1/4 cup pine nuts.

FOR DAIRY-FREE: Substitute 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast for 1/2 cup parmesan.

Easy Food Processor Pesto
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Pesto Zoodles with Fresh Peas & Bacon

Update: I added new pictures to this post on 5/11/2018. The recipe is the same :) So yummy! 

Pesto Zoodles with Fresh Peas & Bacon

Around this time of the year, every year, I go on a pesto rampage. Last year it was this cheesy pesto scramble and this pesto chicken salad. This year it's pesto zoodles with fresh peas and bacon. 

And it's the best thing I’ve eaten all month

Is there anything not to love about long, slurpy noodles coated in pesto? Crunchy bits of bacon and starchy peas? This is the best thing I’ve eaten all month, and I’m not exaggerating. 

Normally, noodles drenched in this much pesto and served with generous amounts of bacon would be quite a heavy dish, but this is where the zoodles come in: hellooooo zoodles! (Have you noticed I love zoodles yet?) Since zoodles are made of zucchini, you can smother them in pesto and toss in the bacon and still end your meal without that heavy I-just-ate-is-it-nap-time-now feeling. 

Jump into pesto season with me while it's here! 

Pesto Zoodles with Fresh Peas & Bacon
Pesto Zoodles with Fresh Peas & Bacon

Pesto Zoodles with Fresh Peas & Bacon

Published June 22, 2017 by
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Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pesto sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 cup green peas (frozen or fresh)
  • 8 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled into bite sized pieces

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil glistens, add the peas, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bright green.
  2. Spiralize the zucchini into zoodles with a Spiralizer. Pile the zucchini noodles into a skillet and place the lid on (they will cook down). Cook for 5 minutes, and then add the pesto, stirring and turning the noodles to coat them in pesto. Top with bacon, and toss everything one more time to combine.
  3. Serve hot (leftovers are also good cold!)

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