My fruit and veggie home delivery basket has been overflowing with zucchini recently. I’ve roasted it, grilled it and even made my favorite Chocolate Zucchini Bread and yet I haven’t used it all up. Zucchini comes to me weekly in my produce delivery basket and while it is not one of my most favorite vegetables, I refuse not to at least try to use it up each week (good thing it’s got some staying power and stays good for a week or two). I had this same struggle last summer and throughout the cold zucchini-less winter, I found myself pinning creative zucchini recipes onto my Pinterest recipe boards in anticipation of my summer 2014 zucchini boom! I went back to one of my Pinterest boards last week and was inspired by this recipe that I pinned for Italian Chicken with Mushrooms and Zucchini. The picture was enticing and I could tell that the zucchini, much like mushrooms would absorb the flavor of the Italian seasoned fire-roasted tomatoes….AND it was a one pan meal (always a nice option when you want an easy clean up). Cast iron skillets are great for browning and searing your meat and then adding your sauce ingredients which will combine with the browned bits to add deeper flavor to your sauce (although you could cook this in any non-stick skillet if you don’t have cast iron). We’ve cooked so many meals on the grill this summer, that this saucy skillet meal was a welcome change on a rainy summer night…the kids even declared it a “blog-worthy” recipe. I served it over whole wheat linguini but you could serve it over any type of pasta or rice or even let it stand alone.
Side note: I have a friend who has recently launched a cooking blog called Recipe Rewrite. He argues that the traditional recipe writing format (which I use and is generally used in most cooking magazines and cookbooks) is broken and that there is a better format. His format breaks a recipe down into a series of “units” as he calls them. The unit format is a more linear way to present a recipe, such that if the cook follows each consecutive unit he or she will avoid skipping around the recipe from list of ingredients to directions (which can cause confusion and frustration). There is great logic in his way of thinking, especially for novice cooks who want to begin cooking more complex meals. Dan has taken my recipe for Italian Chicken, Mushroom and Zucchini Skillet and put it through a “Recipe Rewrite” makeover. Visit Recipe Rewrite to see an example and check out his work.
Italian Chicken, Mushroom and Zucchini Skillet (Serves 4-6)
1 lb chicken breasts, thin (or slice regular breasts in half horizontally)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning, divided
1/2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
12 ounces mushrooms, halved
1 medium-large zucchini, cut in bite-sized pieces
½ cup sundried tomatoes (the type that is jarred and packed in olive oil)
1 14 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic with juice
1-2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped (or sub another 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes)
salt and pepper
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
shredded or shaved parmesan cheese
Rinse and pat dry thin chicken breasts. Sprinkle evenly on both sides with 1 tsp Italian seasoning, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. In a large cast iron skillet or sauté pan over med-high heat. Add the chicken and brown for 5-7 minutes; turn chicken over and brown for another 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside on plate.
Add onions to skillet and saute for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic, zucchini and sundried tomatoes (if desired, add a Tbsp of the oil from the Sundried Tomato jar for good flavor) and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and kosher salt and pepper to taste. If using, stir in balsamic vinegar.
Transfer the chicken back to the pan and spoon some of the sauce and vegetables over top of the chicken. Cook on stove top or in 350 degree oven until the chicken is heated through and the sauce is bubbling. Serve over whole grain linguini and top with shaved or shredded parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil.
Adapted from Good Life Eats