Chicken Pizzaiola: Updated

Lately I’ve been having a hankering for my mom’s cooking.  In the past month, I’ve made her meatloaf with mushroom gravy, her homemade mac and cheese, and her famous “Chicken Waikiki Beach”.  Tonight, I was in the mood for her Chicken Pizzaiola (“peets-aye-ola”).  I think it is actually my grandmother’s recipe, to which she likely made some updates along the way.  They both always made this dish in a huge, electric skillet.  Since I do not have an electric skillet (and no, mom, I don’t have room for one either!), I decided to do some updating of my own and do this entire dish in the oven.  Sure, it would have more closely approximated the cooking method to do it in a big pan on my stove top, but that would require more attention than I was willing to give it at that point in the day.  I’ve always been a big fan of low-maintenance dishes, and this is probably one of my favorites.

The ingredients are simple—chicken, potatoes, onions, garlic, oregano and tomato sauce.  My mother and grandmother always used bone-in chicken pieces…a combination of breasts, legs, and thighs.  To cut the calories a bit, which come in large part from the skin and dark meat, and more importantly, to cut the cooking time, I opted for skinless, boneless breasts.  I’m the first to admit that chicken, or any meat, on the bone is very flavorful.  However, I think the full-on meatiness of the breasts is enough to make up for a little loss in flavor.  Besides,  I never have been a fan of having to pick through all those bones just to get a nice bite of chicken on my fork!

Be sure to cut the potatoes relatively small so they will cook quickly.   The breasts will not take long, and you don’t want to dig into a perfectly cooked piece of chicken only to have the potatoes underdone. 

Mom’s Chicken Pizzaiola

Serves 4-6

2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half crosswise

1 lb potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 – 8 oz cans tomato sauce (or  3 cans if you like it more saucy)

1 tablespoon oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly spray a large baking dish or pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Place the chicken breasts into the pan so they are not touching. 

Add the potatoes, sliced onions, and garlic to pan, and spread around the breasts.

Season everything with salt and pepper.  Pour the cans of tomato sauce over the top of the entire dish and sprinkle with oregano.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center and potatoes are fork-tender.



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