I grew up with my mother cooking fresh meals from scratch for us, almost daily. She runs her own business, but her 100%-Italian nature shines through where high value was placed on eating good food together, sitting down at a table. I’m incredibly grateful for those values and always sitting together as a family each evening growing up.
One of my favorite recipes my mom always makes is a balsamic chicken bake with potatoes, zucchini, squash, carrots, capers, and olives. It’s simple really, but the way it’s prepared makes for an incredibly juicy, tender dish. Every time that I am home visiting, or even when she comes to visit me in Boulder, I request this dish. I make it too myself, but there’s some deep nostalgia when she makes it for me.
You Will Need:
1 pound chicken breast, boneless skinless
2 celery stalks
1 onion sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 cup semolina flour
2 Tbl. lemon-pepper rub
3 Tbl. capers, rinsed
3 Tbl. pine nuts
1/2 cup green olives, sliced in half
1/2 cup olive oil, extra virgin
1/2 cup Loredana’s balsamic vinaigrette (note: you can order online or buy in Boulder)
salt, freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Wash the chicken and pat it dry. Pound to tenderize. Cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces.
In a plastic bag, add 1 cup semolina flour and the chicken rub. Place the chicken pieces in the bag and shake. Add oil to skillet to cover about ½ inch of the bottom. When hot, saute sliced onion 4-5 minutes, remove and set aside. Then brown the chicken pieces. Turn the chicken pieces over when golden brown.
Cut the other vegetables into cubes or slices, and steam until lightly cooked.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until golden.
The pre-cooking of the chicken and veggies shortens the cooking time in the oven.
In heavy baking pan, cover the bottom with olive oil. Add the chicken, vegetables, toasted pine nuts, salt, and generous amounts of black pepper in the baking pan. Stir together. Add the Loredana’s. Add more olive oil over the top, this makes the dish moist.
Cover and bake around 30 minutes. Should be moist so check it after 20 minutes. Enjoy!