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Healthy Italian Chicken Recipe

Updated on July 2, 2013

Easy Quick Italian Chicken Recipe

Delicious easy Italian chicken recipe.
Delicious easy Italian chicken recipe. | Source

Delicious Italian Chicken Recipe

I am a big foodie. I LOVE creating new, healthy meals to try. I am lucky enough to be with a Chef so we spend hours talking about food and there is plenty of inspiration. I like to experiment with food. Most of the meals I try out work, and some, well some even the dog won't eat them! But it's all worth it when you manage to create something new and delicious.

For a long time I would cook off the cuff, and even now I rarely follow recipes to the letter, however I did realise that I needed to start writing down my food creations and recipes, otherwise I could never remember what I had put in.

The one I am sharing with you today is a tried and tested favourite. I realised it was a good-un when I cooked it as part of a cook and taste session with a group of people in my old job, and they all LOVED it. Since then it has been a firm favourite of mine and my family.

I especially like this recipe because as well as being really tasty, it's easy to cook AND it's healthy!

I have included an adaptation for vegetarian's too.

I hope you will enjoy it too.

5 stars from 1 rating of Italian chicken

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Large white onion
  • 1/2 cupful green olives, stones removed
  • 2 large sprigs fresh parsley
  • 3 Skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 reduced salt stock cube
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Finely chop the onion into small pieces
  2. Wash the olives under cold water and then chop them in half. Check that there are no stones
  3. Chop the parsley.
  4. Slice the chicken breasts into strips (then wash hands)
  5. Prepare some stock by dissolving the 1/2 stock cube or bouillon in 200ml of boiling water and stirring.
  6. Gently fry the onion in the olive oil until soft. Add the chicken breast and fry for a few more minutes until chicken is lightly browned.
  7. Add the stock and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the can of chopped tomatoes, along with the halved olives and the chopped parsley.
  9. Add the ground black pepper to your taste. Allow the mixture to simmer for at least 20 minutes so that the flavors are released. You can also add a little salt to taste, although taste it first because if the olives were in brine it might already be salty enough.
  10. Serve with cous-cous, brown rice or wholemeal pasta and some salad leaves.

Tips

For a Vegetarian option:

  • Replace the chicken with quorn fillets, tofu or beans. Check that the stock is vegetarian.

Boost Your Veg:

  • To get an extra portion of veg into this meal, simply add a good handful of babyleaf spinach straight into the sauce, during the last 5 minutes of cooking. It will cook right down and still taste great.

Recipe Adapting To Be Healthy

Making small changes to your cooking can make all the difference to your health!
Making small changes to your cooking can make all the difference to your health! | Source

Adapting Recipes To Make Them Healthier

This recipe is healthy because:

1 - It's low in saturated fat. Having said this I am not a believer in very low fat / fat free diets. Diets that are too low in essential fats are not healthy and are not the way to go for long term weight loss. Increasingly evidence is showing that fat plays a role in weight management (for more information on my intuitive and natural approach to weight management, get in contact with me).

2 - It's low in salt (sodium). By using reduced salt stock cubes or buillon and washing the olives we are reducing the salt content. Ideally use olives that were stored in oil not brine. Sodium is the 'bad' part in salt which is linked to things like high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
In fact some research suggests too much salt is the leading factor contributing to strokes in the western world! MOST people's diets are too high in salt as it is hidden in a lot of the foods we eat every day.

3 - it contains 2 of your 5 a day! More if you add the side salad and some beans. Another tip is to throw in some uncooked baby spinach leaves, right into the sauce, just a few minutes before the dish is cooked. They will wilt right down and you will get another portion towards your 5 a day (10 a day in the States!).

4 - Chicken is a good quality protein, containing all the essential amino acids for growth and repair. If you can, choose free range, organic chicken.

5 - Cous cous and brown rice are good, slow release carbs, which will release energy slowly, especially when combined with the protein in the stew! You will get fibre from both these carbohydrates, which can help improve bowel function (keeps you regular).

6 - This dish is PACKED FULL of vitamins and minerals.

And the BEST part of all - it still tastes great! I don't like to compromise on taste and quality. I only only want to eat healthy dishes that are also enjoyable.

If you would like more information on anything I have said here, feel free to contact me. I also write about weight management and healthy, natural living!

Vegetarian protein

Protein for vegetarians. It's important to get all your essential amino acids.
Protein for vegetarians. It's important to get all your essential amino acids. | Source

A Word About Getting Enough Protein When You Are Vegetarian

If you are a Vegetarian this recipe can be adapted to suit your needs (see the bottom of the 'Recipe' module above).

You are probably aware that you need to eat a range of proteins, in the forms of various beans, legumes, pulses, nuts and seeds to get ALL your essential amino acids. Unlike meat proteins, vegetable proteins are not complete proteins. In other words they don't contain all the essential amino acids that your body needs. As your body cannot make these amino acids we have to get them from the food we eat.

Don' worry though, if you eat a MIXTURE of all the different types of protein you will cover yourself and get all the amino acids you need! You can fortify your meals with protein by adding beans, pulses and legumes. In the case of this dish simply substitute the chicken for beans of your choice, and throw in some nuts and seeds too if you like. Serve with cous cous or brown rice and you should have a good enough mixture of protein sources to get all your amino acids!

Comments

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    • RedSirenJulie profile image
      Author

      Julie Ritchie 3 years ago from East Sussex, UK

      Charlie! It is :-)

    • charlie cheesman profile image

      charlie cheesman 3 years ago from England

      oh looks yummy

    • RedSirenJulie profile image
      Author

      Julie Ritchie 4 years ago from East Sussex, UK

      Hello sgbrown.

      Great thank you and I hope you enjoy it!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This looks and sounds delicious! This would be a healthy and quick and easy meal to make. I love the additional information you added, it supports what a healthy meal this is! I can't wait to try it! Voted up, useful and pinning. :)

    • RedSirenJulie profile image
      Author

      Julie Ritchie 4 years ago from East Sussex, UK

      Hi Purplepeach.

      Yes it is! Let me know what you think once you have cooked it :-)

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • RedSirenJulie profile image
      Author

      Julie Ritchie 4 years ago from East Sussex, UK

      Hi SuzieHQ,

      Great. So pleased that you find value. And thanks for the support.

      And it still tastes great without the olives! My partner doesn't like olives either, so I cook it without when I make it for both of us.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i can see smoke coming out from the 1st picture. Must be tasty and yummy. I love chicken and this recipe may become one of my favorite recipes. Thanks for sharing this recipe

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Julie,

      I am with Kathryn, your additional info is excellent and brings this recipe "over the edge" of value to the reader! I love chicken and all your ingredients (except olives) so this is right up alley! it is simple yet sounds so yummy and is healthy, a great winning combination! Cheers for sharing this, Up ++++ shared and pinned.

    • RedSirenJulie profile image
      Author

      Julie Ritchie 4 years ago from East Sussex, UK

      Hi Rose.

      Thank you for the vote :-)

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Great information and the recipe looks awesome! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • RedSirenJulie profile image
      Author

      Julie Ritchie 4 years ago from East Sussex, UK

      Hi Kathryn,

      Thank you! :-) I used to work in a nutrition and healthy eating project so I wanted to add the extra healthy eating advice.

      Glad that you find it useful and yes always eat fat even when losing weight.

      Let me know what you think once you have cooked it.

      Julie.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      The recipe alone looks great, but the information you have provided with it make it over-the-top great! I like that you have provided information and advice for vegetarians, and that you went into further detail about the health benefits.

      I agree with you when it comes to the "essential fats". Even when I am on a diet (and try to cut down on saturated fat), I use extra virgin olive oil, and eat sardines, sunflower seeds and nuts. I don't cut those healthy fats out.

      I am bookmarking this page, and I will definitely make it in the future.

      Voted up and shared!

      ~ Kathryn