Caprese Chicken Pasta

PASTA!!! Oh glorious pasta, how I love thee. Its such a cheap, easy and sometimes quick way to feed your family. The only thing that stinks about pasta is that if you are on a diet, it’s a hard thing to have. Luckily, with my Skinnytaste cookbook, I can!

The recipe in the book is actually called Chicken Pasta Caprese, but I think the way I put it rolls off the tongue better 😉

I used the same ingredients as the original recipe except I added a little dry white wine, it’s an ingredient that can be omitted but I like to add wine to my fresh tomato dishes. I can’t say that I was too pleased with this dish, to be honest, it needed a little help. Maybe its was the Trader Joe’s pasta that I used, it was an organic brown rice pasta. I should just stick with the classics, they are classics for a reason right? I felt the dish also lacked flavor. I’m going to mess around with this a little more and post about it again. Both Zach and Lucy devoured this dish which was surprising for me.

Caprese Chicken Pasta

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite sized chunks

Salt and Freshly ground pepper (we’ve talked about this before, yes?)

1/2 dried basil

Cooking spray

9 ounces of your favorite short pasta

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves minced

2 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes

Splash of dry white wine

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

4 ounces mozzarella cheese cut into chunks

 

Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Season the chicken with Salt, pepper and dried basil. Spray your skillet with cooking spray and add chicken. Cook until the chicken is throughly cooked then transfer to a bowl.

While you are cooking your chicken, start your pasta. After your water comes to a boil make sure to season it with salt. You want your pasta water to be salty like the sea, it makes for the best tasting dishes. Drain but reserve about a cup of pasta water.

After the chicken is done, add olive oil and saute the garlic until fragrant. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and turn the heat to medium low. Allow to cook until the tomatoes start to become soft and release their juices. This is when I added my splash of white wine, I added maybe 1/8 cup. Add the pasta in and stir, if the dish seems too dry, add some of the pasta water.

Add the chicken, basil and mozzarella, then serve!

 

Prepared this way, a little under 2 cups is 495 calories. Not bad for a pasta dish!

Chicken Marsala and Mashed Cauliflower

Being Italian I love the classic dishes, but most times those dishes are heavy on the calories, lots of salt and oil, or paired with pasta. I recently bought the SkinnyTaste cookbook by Gina Homolka and instantly fell in love. I love that each recipe has a calorie breakdown and most of them seem easy.

Back to the recipe! So as I was skimming through the pages, drooling, I saw a recipe for Chicken Marsala. I added it to the weekly meal plan and I am so glad I did. I wanted to pair it with mashed potatoes as well but as we all know its heavy on the calories and with my allotted 1750 calories for the day, I try to stay under.

I followed the recipe outlined in the book except I omitted the fresh parsley, I don’t use it enough to justify the cost of buying a whole bunch of it. I’ll probably grab some the next time I make this dish and freeze the rest.

Chicken Marsala

Serves 4

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each)

1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

8 ounces sliced Cremini mushrooms

3 ounces shiitake mushrooms *

1/3 cup Marsala wine

1/2 cup Swanson 88% fat-free chicken broth **

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, you’re going to put your chicken in here after you pan fry it.

Slice the chicken breasts in half, horizontally, to make 4 cutlets. You want to pound these out so they are thinner and this also helps tenderize the meat. I take a gallon plastic zip bag and cut down the two sides, place the chicken in between and then use one of my glasses for this. I don’t have a meat mallet (unitasker) so I use whatever is flat on the bottom and easy for me to grasp. Pound them until they are about 1/4 inch thick.

Place your flour, all but that 1 teaspoon, in a shallow dish. Season it with salt and freshly cracked pepper. I cannot stress this enough, always season your flour and always use freshly cracked pepper. That pregound pepper doesn’t do the spice justice. Lightly dredge your chicken in the flour and shake off any excess. Set aside. Get your sauté pan ready on medium-high heat. Add 1/2 butter and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Once melted add your chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Place the chicken in the oven on a baking sheet, don’t worry about it being fully cooked as it will continue cooking in the oven.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add your garlic and shallots and cook until soft. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper, freshly ground I hope, and cook until soft and golden. If the pan is too hot you can turn it to medium, you don’t want it to burn. Add your remaining 1 teaspoon of flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Next you’ll add the Marsala and chicken broth to deglaze the pan and get up all the nice bits that were stuck to the bottom of the pan from the chicken. Fun Fact, those bits are called Fond and they make sauces extra delicious.

Simmer until thickened then add your chicken, and any juices, to the pan. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve one piece of chicken and spoon over the mushrooms and some sauce.

*I couldn’t find Shiitake mushrooms when I went to the store this weekend so I just subbed in more Cremini.

**Another item I couldn’t find when I went to the store so I used the store brand, Winco in my case, 99% fat-free chicken broth.

The book has the calories for this as 241 but when I plugged in the recipe into MyFitnessPal it said 238.

 

Mashed Cauliflower

I pretty much followed this recipe but I omitted the scallions, another item I didn’t want to be bothered buying or chopping. I also used a kale/chard blend that was prepackaged, washed and chopped! I like shortcuts when I can take them and I love my greens so this was perfect.

I have a Ninja blender and was using my food processor to puree that cauliflower, it didn’t come out as I had hoped and the way the photos looked on the recipe. I’ll have to fiddle with it and update how that comes out.

Overall the taste was great! I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it and how Zach and Lucy enjoyed it. This is a repeat meal for sure!