This is one of the few meals I was able to make for my Grandpa Sells in my own home while we lived in Salt Lake City. I was very nervous to say the least as he watched everything I did over my shoulder. While I know God has plenty to worry about other than that my dinner be successful, I was silently praying that my grandpa would approve. After a whole lot of him asking, “Now how can I help you, Sugar?” and “So what’s that you got there, Sugar?” and “You gonna put that much in there, Sugar?” dinner was finally ready. Lucky for me I know my grandpa likes vegetables, (just so long as they’re cooked just right) and he likes food with a bit of spice. Dinner was a hit. We all cleaned our plates, including my grandpa and after wiping his mouth and sitting back in his chair he nodded at me, “Well, now, that’s a nice dish, Sugar.” I smiled, relieved and replied with a raised eyebrow, “Come on, you didn’t doubt me now, did you Papa?” (Yup I talk big.)
I originally got this recipe out of a Rachel Ray cookbook. This is one of our favorite weeknight meals because it’s fairly quick and afterwards I only have to wash one pan. Since first making it I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe. Rachel Ray uses a large can of crushed tomatoes, but I found that this made the dish seem overpowered by tomato and taste too much like spaghetti (or at least just enough that you wouldn’t want to have both dishes in the same week.) I love the combination of vegetables in this dish too but the crushed tomatoes seemed to take away from the flavor of the different vegetables and it was easy for them to quickly become too mushy for our liking. Using diced tomatoes rather than crushed allows the juices to continue to cook the chicken and vegetables, but allows the vegetables to maintain their own distinct flavors. It may sound a bit silly, but I prefer the way it looks on the plate too because you have a chicken breast and a side of vegetables rather than a mess of crushed tomatoes hiding food underneath. Another change I made was to use a spicy Montreal steak seasoning as opposed to original, which obviously gives this a kick. If you don’t like heat, by all means use the original and I’m sure it’ll still be tasty.
- Balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (thinly sliced or pounded breast meat) 2-3 large chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise to yield 4-6 thin breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced
- Montreal spicy steak seasoning
- 1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
- 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
- 10 leaves basil, torn or coarsely chopped (optional)
- 1/2-2/3 cup shredded Italian cheese of your choice (provolone, mozzarella, asiago) optional
- Rub a little splash of Balsamic vinegar onto each chicken breast. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in deep skillet over med-high heat. Brown chicken for 2 minutes on each side, remove chicken and set aside.
- Add an additional tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add a layer of thinly sliced potatoes and onions. Sprinkle the potatoes and onion with Montreal seasoning. Let potatoes and onions cook, turning occasionally but maintaining a thin layer, until they begin to brown all over. Add a little broth or wine to pan. Spread a thin layer of zucchini across the pan on top of the potatoes and onions and sprinkle with a touch more of Montreal seasoning. Top with layer of chicken breast.
- Dump the diced tomatoes evenly over the top. Sprinkle with chopped herbs (if desired). Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and potatoes tender, 10-12 minutes.
- Sprinkle with Italian cheese if desired. Place pan under the broiler for a minute until cheese melts and begins to brown.
Slightly adapted from Rachel Ray