Monday, February 22, 2016

Chicken Putanesca

A few nights ago i defrosted what I thought was a package of chicken, but it turned out to be 2 enormous chicken breasts. Son3 was going to be eating with us so I only needed enough for 3 people and decided I would cut them into strips to divide among all of us.  It was a good plan but after slicing them I realized I had no idea what I was going to cook.  Since I have been doing the paleo thing I wanted intense flavors and to use only what I had available but it had to be something that could be either be cooked at the last minute or something stewish that could be cooked ahead and would hold.  I was tired of soups and stews and wanted something crisper and tastier.

 I grabbed my trusty ages old file  box and started flipping through index cards filled with hand written recipes. (Do any of you remember those?  Mine is a green metal box  with yellow daisies on the top.  Someone gave it to me at a kitchen shower before I was married filled with both blank cards and easy to make recipes for 2. I was a pretty good cook before I was married so I confess I tossed those recipes, but over the years I filled it with things we like and eat fairly regularly. Please tell me I am not the only ancient one here who had/has one of those!)

Bingo! After the third card flip in the chicken tab I saw my old Chicken Putanesca recipe. There was no need to flip any further. It would be simple, quick, made in a flash, I had everything I needed (or so I thought)  and would be easy for me to remain Paleo while the others had a traditional meal. Win/win!  The only difference in making this Paleo vs. regular everyday eating is what I served it on. They had theirs on traditional spaghetti noodles and I topped spaghetti squash with mine.  I love it when something so simple happens.  Normally I would serve this with a large green salad, but I had no salad fixin's.  I did have a head of cauliflower that needed to be cooked immediately. Again, the universe  decided what we would have as a side dish.

4 regular sized chicken breasts, flatten slightly
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small red onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped if desired
1/2 cup assorted Italian olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 large tomatoes, chopped (Unless it is winter and fresh tomatoes are bad.  Then use a large can of petite diced tomatoes that have been drained)

Heat the oil in a large saute' pan. Add the chicken to the hot oil and cook until it loses its color, then remove from the pan.  Add the onions and wilt them then toss in the garlic, stirring constantly. Quickly add the capers, chopped olives, pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Stir well to mix then add the chicken back to the pan.  Add the tomatoes, cover the pan and cook until the tomatoes are cooked through and the chicken is completely done. (This only takes a very few minutes).

This is my very basic go-to recipe for this dish.  I really prefer it during the summer when tomatoes are at their peak, but sometimes I have to settle for something less than perfect. (Can you hear me laughing at the word "sometimes"?) We have this often because dinner can be prepared in a very short amount of time and it is very good.

I thought I several varieties of olives in the refrigerator but I was mistaken. Instead of wonderful Italian olives I used canned black olives and the green pimento stuffed ones. Bummer! (Now I have to be like Nancy Drew and solve detective and solve the  Great  Castelvetrano and Gaetna Olive Caper)   


  1. Good luck, Nancy! I'm sure George and
    Bess will help. :)

    1. As long as they don't try to drive my little blue roadster!

  2. Aren't those recipes a gift. The ones that you KNOW will hit the spot, take very little effort and use the ingredients you always have to hand (except when you don't).
    Himself would probably like this a lot. Sometime when I am feeling friendly I will make it for him.

    1. Yes those recipes are a gift, but I wonder why they disappear form the front of my brain to the outer recesses where they are forgotten?

      If you are feeling friendly, it truly is a snap to make.

  3. I have a large green plastic container that has all the recipes that I cut out or wrote on a scrape of paper. It's a mess but it works for me.
    You could make a fabulous meal out of anything. I'm always impressed how you throw something together.

    1. While I had my box out, I culled a ton of the recipes that I will never use again, but it was nice to look through it and remember specific times in our lives when they were used and necessary. Since I don't have to pack school lunches a whole section was tossed. And I also realize our tastes and habits have changed drastically over the years.
      My parents have pictures of me "cooking" (stirring pots at the stove) when I was 2, so I have been goofing around in the kitchen all my life. (I am pretty sure DHS would arrest my folks for abuse if they saw pictures like that currently)

  4. Great save mama!
    I have two of those old boxes!
    Thanks for talking back at Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. I can always think of something, but it is not always delicious. A lot of times we just settle for edible.