Since we are all cooking more these days, we could use a little help with meal prep and recipe ideas. That’s where this plan from Twin Cities chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell comes in handy. Created for Real Food, this is a recipe that just keeps giving—you cook two chickens for two hearty meals, and there is even some chicken left over to freeze for future lunches and dinners.
Serve the Chicken Cacciatore with a side of the Fettuccine with Garlic and Parsley; Asbell suggests that you spread the saucy goodness on the pasta, too. The leftover chicken is used for Chicken Pesto sandwiches. A bag of greens and jarred roasted peppers combine to make an easy salad to go with either meal. Making your own salad dressing just takes a moment, and it is so much fresher and tastier than bottled dressings.
The recipe calls for whole chickens, which are an economical option, but if you prefer it already cut up, or a different combination of pieces, that certainly works, too. Hopefully making this two-for-one meal makes planning ahead a little easier.
Besides creating the delicious cacciatore entree, this recipe builds in the protein amount and instructions for making chicken for six chicken pesto sandwiches (recipe below).
Makes 6 servings
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 whole chickens, 4 pounds each (or 4 leg quarters and 1 pound boneless chicken breast for sandwiches)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 large roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup white wine
¼ cup parsley, chopped
- For the Chicken: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with foil. Adjust the racks in your oven, removing the middle one so that the chickens will fit on the bottom rack.
- Pat chickens dry. Then twist the leg quarters back to break the joints and cut the leg quarters away from the chicken back, setting them aside for the Cacciatore. Put the remaining chickens on the prepared sheet pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Roast the chickens for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 160°F. Let the chicken cool, then refrigerate to be used for the Pesto Sandwiches (see “For the Chicken Pesto Sandwiches” below).
- For the Cacciatore: In a large skillet, over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place the chicken quarters skin side down in the hot oil. Cook for about 4 minutes to brown the chicken. Turn the chicken pieces and cook for another 3 minutes to brown. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Add the onions to the hot oil in the pan and stir. Cook, stirring, and reduce the heat to medium. After about 5 minutes, add the garlic and stir for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, roasted pepper, basil, oregano, salt, and white wine. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Place the chicken quarters, skin side up, on the tomatoes. Cover the pan, and when the sauce boils, reduce to simmer vigorously. Cook for about 10 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, and use an instant read thermometer to test the temperature of the thickest part of the thigh. When the meat registers at 160°F, transfer to a clean plate.
- Bring the tomato sauce to a boil, and cook until the sauce is thick, about 5 minutes, then sprinkle with parsley. Serve the chicken with tomato sauce.
Fettuccine with Garlic and Parsley
Makes 4 servings
In the time it takes to cook the pasta, you can chop some garlic and parsley to make this side dish special. It is delicious on its own, and even better topped with the Chicken Cacciatore. For a vegetarian dinner, toss in a handful of chopped pistachios or walnuts.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
12 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup freshly shredded Parmesan
1. Put on a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
2. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix and allow to marinate while you prepare the pasta.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions, about 11 minutes. When the pasta is al dente, drain, and shake to drain well. Transfer the pasta to the bowl with the parsley and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and toss to coat, serve hot. Pass extra Parmesan at the table, if desired.
For the Chicken Pesto Sandwiches
Makes 6 servings
reserved chicken from the Cacciatore recipe
1 clove garlic
1 cup fresh spinach
½ cup fresh parsley
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large baguettes
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- When the chicken is cooled, pull the meat from the bones for the sandwiches. You should have about 9 cups of pulled meat. If desired, save the carcasses to cook for stock. Put half the meat in a large bowl. Put the other half in a storage container and either refrigerate or freeze.
- In a food processor, place the garlic, spinach, parsley, Parmesan, and salt. Process to grind finely. Scrape down and add the olive oil and process again to make a smooth paste. Scrape into the bowl with the cold chicken. Toss to coat.
- Split the baguettes in half lengthwise, and then place on an oiled sheet pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Fill baguettes with chicken and sliced tomatoes. Serve immediately.
Mixed Greens and Roasted Peppers in Lemon Vinaigrette
Makes 4 servings
4 cups mixed greens (1 4-ounce container)
1 large roasted red pepper, drained and patted dry, chopped
For the Dressing
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
a few grinds freshly ground black pepper
- Place the mixed greens in a large salad bowl and sprinkle with roasted red pepper pieces.
- In a jar, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, sugar, salt, and pepper and tightly seal the lid. Shake vigorously to mix, then pour the dressing over the salad. Toss to coat, and serve immediately.
Nutrition info (per serving):
• Chicken Cacciatore: Calories 308 (132 From Fat); Fat 15g (Sat. 4g); Chol 163mg; Sodium 478mg; Carb 8g; Fiber 2g; Protein 35g
• Chicken Pesto Sandwiches: Calories 538 (116 From Fat); Fat 13g (Sat. 3g); Chol 89mg; Sodium 1069mg; Carb 58g; Fiber 3g; Protein 45g
• Fettuccine with Garlic & Parsley: Calories 482 (154 From Fat); Fat 18g (Sat. 4g); Chol 10mg; Sodium 785mg; Carb 69g; Fiber 9g; Protein 19g
• Mixed Greens in Lemon Vinaigrette: Calories 139 (121 From Fat); Fat 14g (Sat. 2g); Chol 0mg; Sodium 414mg; Carb 5g; Fiber 1g; Protein 1g