Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baked Chicken Breast with Tomato n Cheese

tomato chicken
This dish (although it looks like a gluggy mess in the photo) is fast becoming a favourite with me because it is so easy to make. It is a little like chicken parmigiana, but unlike chicken parmigiana, which is first breaded, fried and then baked, this dish is just baked - which means you throw all the ingredients into an oven-safe dish, and plonk it into the oven. Done!

Chicken breast works well in this dish - because it is baked in the tomato liquid, the chicken remains juicy and does not dry out.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
Place a raw chicken breast into a shallow medium size oven-proof dish and season with a little salt and pepper. Open a 400g can of chopped tomatoes in their natural juices (I use Waitrose brand) and pour over the chicken. Top the chicken with some shredded cheese (I use a mix of parmesan and cheddar cheese, you can also use mozarella). Bake the chicken for 30 - 40mins until the chicken is cooked (the juices will run clear). 

(If you happen to have a convection oven, you can decrease the cooking time by using a combination bake and microwave function)

Serve with vegetables and pasta or potatoes. Shorter pasta such as spiral, macaroni or ravioli works well because you can coat the pasta with the excess tomato and cheese sauce.

Tip: For this dish, I like to buy ready-made pasta like ravioli stuffed with roasted vegetables. It's a slightly more expensive alternative, though...but a nice treat...

In a Pasta Rut

chilli pasta
Sometimes I get so caught up making the same thing over and over again, there is nothing new to post. It's been a little like that lately, with poor YH constantly being served my regular favourite dishes (not that he ever complains). 

My obsession with pasta took on a life of its own last week, when we ate pasta 4 days out of 7! If you happen to get into a pasta rut like me, a nice way of making things more interesting is to explore the different types of pastas available. I found one interesting dried spaghetti with chilli in a little Italian deli, which was orange in colour. The pasta was made out of durum wheat semolina, water and red hot peppers (peperoncino). Since I love all things spicy, I had to buy it at once, and used it to make my Scallop & Sausage Aglio Olio spaghetti. The chilli spaghetti turned a lovely light tomato red colour when cooked, and a little to my surprise, you could still taste the chilli in the spaghetti (I thought the chilli might have been washed out or watered down after being boiled).