Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bon Voyage Chicken

I just love the name of this recipe.  As the title suggests, it's specifically designed to clean out all the perishables from your fridge before departing on vacation - leftover veggies, leftover herbs, leftover pasta, leftover packages of vegan cheese... you get the idea.  And of course, there's no need to depart to any place exotic to make the recipe; it's equally good as a catch-all recipe to clean out the fridge at the end of one week before grocery shopping for the next.  Use the ingredients below as a template, with whatever is in your fridge and pantry to compile the dish.  Bon voyage!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups red bell pepper strips
  • 2 cups chopped and cooked Gardein Tuscan chicken breast (without sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (such as Whole Foods 365)
  • 2 cups hot cooked ziti*
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated vegan cheese
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the bell pepper strips and saute for 4 minutes.  Add the cooked chicken, the garlic, and the oregano; saute for 2 minutes.  Add the canned tomatoes; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in the cooked ziti and the black pepper.  Divide the pasta mixture evenly among 4 plates or bowls, and top each serving with 1 tablespoon basil and 1 tablespoon vegan cheese.  I recommend grating the vegan mozzarella block from Galaxy foods for this dish, although vegan Parmesan sprinkles would probably be yummy too.

To round out the meal, toss leftover lettuce (that was romaine in my kitchen tonight) with any bottled dressing; right now I'm loving the non-dairy Caesar from Organicville.  Add fresh bread, and you're ready to go.

*Use 4 ounces uncooked ziti to equal the 2 cups cooked called for in this recipe.  If you don't have ziti on hand, penne would work just as well.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (about 1 and 1/2 cups pasta mixture, 1 tablespoon basil, 1 tablespoon cheese), Calories 312 

Tasting Notes:
A great all-purpose meal, with a nice blend of the convenient (canned tomatoes, pasta) and the fresh (oregano and basil).  Because Italian-style canned tomatoes have sugar added, I found the sauce to be a touch sweet.  Next time, I recommend a more savory canned tomato sauce instead.  That minor complaint aside, this recipe was super homey, and felt like the family-style fare you can find in a good Italian restaurant, especially when served with the salad and bread.


Vegan Extra:
Looking for other quick ideas to use up leftover Gardein chicken?  Here are just a few of my simple favorites:

Cut Gardein chicken into bite-sized pieces and saute with a little garlic and green onions; stir into leftover chilled rice.

Cut Gardein chicken into bite-sized pieces and saute with cumin and chili powder.  Toss with thawed frozen corn, green onions, lime juice, and cilantro, and serve over baked potatoes.

Cut the Gardein into thin strips and thread onto skewers, sate-style.  Grill and serve with store-bought peanut sauce.

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