Chicken Pizzaiola

Every so often I come across a recipe I know Bryan will enjoy. Mozzarella cheese. Pepperoni. Spaghetti. It’s like a pepperoni pizza with chicken breast as the crust and a side of spaghetti.

Doesn’t help that we are naturally pasta people. Which is odd because rice is a main staple in Puerto Rican cuisine as well as Southern Comfort food. Bryan was raised on southern comfort. His parents rarely eat pasta. How we became lovers of pasta, who knows, but we are. In fact, the first meal Bryan ever cooked me was this amazing sausage artichoke pasta meal. A man that can cook and loves cooking is rare. I can’t wait until we have our big kitchen so he can start cooking again. He does have a grill up and running and I’ve decided he’s grilling at least twice a month. He made me an amazing steak with grilled tomatoes topped with feta and asparagus grilled in the marinade he used on the steak. I was in absolute heaven.

And I am totally off track. Where was I?

The food. Right!

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Chicken Pizzaiola

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
8 thin chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups mozzarella
48 slices of pepperoni
16 ounces spaghetti

Directions

The Sauce

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning. Cook until tender (about 10 minutes), stirring often.

Mix in the crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Bring to a simmer and cook 25 – 30 minutes, stirring often.

The Chicken

Lightly grease a baking sheet large enough to comfortably fit the chicken.

In a shallow dish mix the parmesan and bread crumbs together.

Coat the chicken one at a time with the crumbs patting them on with your hands. Place them in the baking sheet at least an inch apart. Sprinkle remaining bread crumb mixture on top of each chicken breast.

Bake 15 minutes at 400.

Remove the chicken from the oven and top with the pepperoni – 6 slices per chicken, then do the same with the mozzarella, piling it on top.
Put them back in the oven about 5 minutes until cheese is completely melted.

Cook the pasta. Save 1/2 cup of the water when draining.

Mix the sauce and water from the spaghetti with the spaghetti.

Serve with the chicken over the spaghetti.

Makes 8. Calories: 781, Carbohydrate: 58 grams, Sugar: 2 grams, Fiber: 5 grams, Protein: 55 grams.

It’s a lot, I know. But it’s dinner. And there’s a high fiber count. And the carb to protein ratio is about as good as it gets.

Using the thin chicken breast is a great way to portion control. Each chicken breast is 3 oz which is the serving size for any piece of meat. Instead of a full breading with an egg, the chicken is lightly breaded cutting carbs and calories. Because it is baked, the juices stay inside breast making it more succulent. Technically you can use the chicken part of the recipe to make a healthy version chicken tenders.

I love how the pepperoni gives the chicken a kick of spiciness. It has that sort of pepperoni pizza feel due to the melted mozzarella cheese on top.

And then there’s the spaghetti with homemade sauce. Nothing beats homemade. Sure you could use a jar of spaghetti sauce if you are in a rush, but this isn’t one of those quick easy recipes. It takes time to layer those flavors. The spaghetti sort of helps it come full circle.

I love how healthy this meal is. And filling. I had one chicken breast with about 1 1/2 cups of spaghetti and I was full. Bryan didn’t even ask for more like he usually does, he was so full. Yay! Leftovers.

Or you can just view it as chicken parmesan with pepperoni on top.

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It’s up to you.

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