Feb 5, 2010

Thyme & Feta Chicken with Peppers & Onions

Don’t you just love it when life throws you off guard with an unexpected, yet delightfully pleasant surprise? Like when a two-minute make-up job ends up beating your usual stare-into-the-mirror marathon. Or when you’re at a loss for words, then suddenly, poetic grace miraculously flows from your mouth. Or in my most recent case, when a last minute, somewhat remiss meal turns out to be something that simply must become part of your permanent repertoire.

I guess it just goes to show that not all delicious dishes require exotic ingredients and hours of preparation. Indeed, there truly are healthy, quick, taste bud-tantalizing gold mines out there. And this is one of them.

Now, I'm already a huge fan of Mediterranean food. Just ask the Kabob joint by my office. In fact, I think in appreciation of my loyalty, they should seriously consider naming their shawarma/fatoush combo meal after me. So it comes as no surprise that a meal with similar flare would be welcomed with open arms to my dinner table.

But there are so many other reasons why I love this recipe, too. One of the biggest is the fact that I had all the ingredients on hand, aside from the onion and pepper. And that, my friends, is a huge plus in my book. Not that I don't like grocery shopping. I do. But two-hour ingredient stakeouts on Friday nights are getting kind of old, so this was a nice break.

Another great quality this meal possesses is simplicity. You gotta love a recipe with only one small paragraph of instructions. Take the chicken, for example. Instead of the usual, three-bowl, flour-egg-breadcrumb drippy mess, it only required a quick toss in a little seasoned flour and it was in the pan. And thanks to the thyme, it smelled like heaven while cooking and had a great, Greek flavor.





After four wonderfully-scented minutes on each side, I was seriously ready to dig in (what you can’t see in the photos are all the pieces I cut off for “necessary taste tests”). But my chicken was still a little pink in the middle, so instead of just keeping it warm, I covered and baked it for about ten minutes at 350º while I prepared the veggies.

And what the chicken left behind in the pan was glorious – a display of tiny, tasty caramelized bits, which I later learned is called “fond,” that were about to bring loads of flavor to my peppers and onions. And by adding the broth and white wine vinegar, I began “deglazing” the pan, something I always hear on cooking shows, which loosened all that fabulous fond and created a flavorful sauce.

After a few minutes, I transferred the mix to a bowl, stirred in some feta, returned the chicken to the pan, covered it with even more feta (another reason I love this recipe), and once the cheese was melted, we were ready to eat.


And let me tell you. We melted, too. It was delicious. And yet so simple and fast! I was planning on making some garlic couscous for a side, but it slipped my mind in all the excitement. It probably would have made the perfect accompaniment, but even without it, this dish was fantastic.

This is truly a meal anyone can make, any night of the week, all while barely lifting a finger. Well, aside from the eating part. That is definitely a step you won't be able to avoid.

Thyme & Feta Chicken with Peppers & Onions
Cooking Light, October 1999
Yield: 2 servings

Cookbook Note: Crumbled feta cheese and fresh vegetable strips bring the flavor of the Mediterranean to the table in no time with this quick all-in-one dish.

1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon  dried marjoram or thyme (I used thyme and highly recommend)
1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
1/8  teaspoon  salt
2  (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves
1  teaspoon  olive oil
Cooking spray
2/3  cup  red bell pepper strips
1/2  cup  vertically sliced red onion
1/3  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1  teaspoon  white wine vinegar
1/4  cup  (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese, divided
Oregano sprigs (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add bell pepper, onion, broth, and vinegar to pan; cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft, stirring frequently. Spoon bell pepper mixture into a bowl; stir in 2 tablespoons cheese. Return chicken to pan, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese. Cover; cook over low heat 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Divide the vegetable mixture evenly between 2 plates, and top each serving with a chicken breast half. Garnish with oregano sprigs, if desired.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 234 (28% from fat), Fat: 7.3g (sat 2.8g,mono 2.7g,poly 0.7g), Protein: 29.8g, Carbohydrate: 8.2g, Fiber:1.3g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Iron:1.8mg, Sodium: 461mg, Calcium: 95mg.


Kelly said...

That looks delish! I do a similar recipe...broiled chic with tomato and Feta...sooo good! Thanks for this awesome recipe!


Marcy said...

Wow, you'e just made my satiated tummy rumble and my coffee mouth water. This is a definite addition to my kitchen (we love feta!)

Grace @ Ruby Moon Designs said...

Hmm, yummy! I love all the ingredients in the recipe, so chances are this will be a good one to try for my family! Happy Saturday Sharefest, btw! I found you there! Have a great weekend!


Creative Mish said...

I love Feta! This looks so delish! Hi from SITS

Kelly said...

You guessed correct at POM! Would comment on your lovely recipe but already did...still looks delish though!


Acting Balanced Mom said...

Stopping by from SITS - this looks really yummy and really easy!

Kat @ www.TodaysCliche.com said...

Just loved this post... coming from SITS. Random, but are you going to Bloggy Boot Camp in Baltimore?

Jessica said...

Stopping by from SITS!

That really does sound delish, plus I've totally had a thing for red onions lately. I recently tried them for the first time because I've always known that I didn't like onions, but THESE take onions to an entirely different level. YUM!

Lan Nguyen said...

Popping by from SITS. Man that dish sounds good! The final look of the dish kinda made me a little uncertain, but the up close bite looks good. I'm a passionate lover of feta cheese, so I may try this one day.

Teresa @ ♥ TOO MANY HEARTBEATS ♥ said...

Hi, I'm stopping by from SITS. That looks AMAZING!

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Teresa <><

Small Burst said...

I'm hungry looking at this. BTW, you're the recipient of the Sunshine Blog Award! Check it out at www.smallburst.com.

mommaof4wife2r said...

i am shouting a big YES over here. i love chicken. love feta. love onions. yummy! what a great surprise this morn! i stopped in from SITS to say hello and got a great idea too!

Me, Myself and Pie said...

I just made it again last night sans the peppers (I was out) and finally made it with the couscous. Oh my goodness, make it with couscous! So good!

Pam said...

Lets face it, you should have your own cooking show! I can't stop reading your blog. Help.

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