Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pepperoni Chicken Parm

KK's original menu plan for last week included oven-baked chimichangas.  I think they're one of his favorites, but the last time I cooked them was in KK's tiny NYC apartment's kitchen, over a year ago! Sadly for him, I had dinner with a few friends at Charrito's on Tuesday, and I didn't want more Mexican food during the week because I was hosting a Fiesta-themed bridal shower on Saturday (more on that next time).  Now I owe KK chimichangas, so I'm sure they'll make their way into the menu rotation in the near future.  Struggling to come up with alternative dinner options for pre-chopped chicken, I suggested pasta/jar sauce/cooked chicken, but KK told me that was too boring and wouldn't be worth blogging about! He found this creative twist on plain pasta and sauce over at Sweet Treats & More; adding pepperoni to the standard dish really did make a difference! Not only was it more interesting than my original suggestion, but it also came together so easily.  And don't think KK's got me fooled... I realize this dish is closely related to another of his favorites - Pizza Spaghetti!

Pepperoni Chicken Parm
Adapted from Sweet Treats & More
Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2-4

Cooking spray
1 clove garlic, minced
16-20 slices of pepperoni, quartered
½ tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried basil
½ cups jarred marinara sauce
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup Italian cheese, shredded

1. Coat a medium saucepan with cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and pepperoni pieces; stir frequently and cook for 2 minutes or until garlic begins to brown.

2. Add oregano and basil to the saucepan and stir for 30 seconds, then add marinara sauce.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

3. As the sauce simmers, heat a large non-stick skillet (with a lid) over medium-high heat and coat with olive oil.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, place it in the skillet, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until lightly browned.

4. Pour sauce over chicken, and stir to combine; top with Italian cheese.  Cover skillet with lid, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until cheese melts.  Uncover and serve, if desired, with pasta.

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