We are fortunate to live in a community full of colorful, flavorful, bountiful local produce. Tomatoes, Strawberries, Asparagus, Sweet Corn, Cucumbers and Peppers……just to name a few. Warm weather is ushering in a bounty of local produce. Gardens are beginning to show the rewards of patience and hard work. Markets are filling with fresh goodies, so I intend to make hay while the sun shines. It’s easy to find recipes that will allow you to embrace these local goodies. Why not cook up something “garden inspired” for dinner!!
Bell peppers will be making their way onto the produce stands soon enough. I never thought that I liked peppers, eaten raw they are simply too crunchy and too bold for my tastes. But when cooked, their flavor mellows and they soften into something else, something sweet. I love incorporating bright yellow and racy red bell peppers into this dish. It creates a dish that tastes as good as it looks.
Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers
Start to finish: approximately 40 minutes
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
4 skinless, boneless Johnnie’s frozen chicken breasts (4, 6 or 8 oz. breasts, you decide….)
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 1 large)
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder and oregano. Brush chicken with 1 1/2 teaspoon oil, sprinkle rub over chicken. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over and cook 1 minute. Arrange chicken in an 11 x 7 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until done.
Heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers and shallots, saute 3 minutes. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loose browned bits. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high again. Stir in vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve bell pepper mixture over chicken.
Yield: 4 servings
Tomatoes will soon be entering the scene as they begin to ripen on their vines. And once the tomatoes start ripening, they never seem to stop coming. Tomatoes are one of the few vegetables I have been sucessful in growing. Maybe too sucessful as I usually get so many that I don’t know what to do with all of them. I can them, freeze them, make salsa, make soup….you get my drift. Making this tomato basil soup is one of my family’s favorite summer time traditions. Whether they’re home grown or not, the taste is simple and fresh.
Tomato Basil Soup
1 cup of chopped yellow onions
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs. of fresh tomatoes, peeled
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspooon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 heavy cream
1 Tablespoon basil
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until transparent. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer for 45 minutes. Puree in small batches in a blender (Be careful, liquid will be hot!!) and return to the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream, basil and parsley.
*Please note that all of the bold print ingredients are available at Johnnies, usually in varying sizes and/or quantities.