Sunday, February 8, 2009

Meal Planner Monday: Olive Garden Tuscan Chicken

This recipe would be a special one for something like Valentine's Day...
INGREDIENTS: 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1½ cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
Approx. 3 fluid ounces vegetable oil
1 pound penne pasta (or fettucine or angel hair)
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 red pepper, julienne cut
½ cup white wine
½ pound whole leaf spinach, stemmed
12 fluid ounces heavy cream (I used half & half and it was still very rich,
probably whole milk would be fine)
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Preparing the chicken: Combine 1 ½ cups flour, salt, black pepper and Italian herb seasoning in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess. Sauté the chicken in batches, in a large, nonstick, ovenproof skillet – with enough oil to coat – over medium-high heat for about two to three minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp. When finished, transfer the skillet to a preheated oven at 350 degrees F. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
Preparing the pasta: Cook pasta al dente (or according to package instructions). Drain and set aside until needed.Preparing the sauce: While the pasta is cooking, heat ½ to 1 fluid ounce of oil in a sauce pan. Add the garlic and the red pepper and cook for approximately one minute. Slowly add remaining one tablespoon of flour and stir to combine. Next, add the white wine and bring to a boil for about one minute. Add the spinach and the cream and bring to a boil. The sauce is done cooking when the spinach becomes wilted. Complete by stirring in the parmesan cheese.
Preparing Tuscan Garlic Chicken entrée: Partly coat the pasta with the sauce, transfer to a large bowl (or individual dishes) and then top with the chicken, the remaining sauce and the extra parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy.
The great thing about making this recipe at home is that you can substitute with lower-fat ingredients if you want and also it is much less expensive than dinner in the restaurant which would cost you around $15 each. (By the way, our Aldi has single red peppers now.) You could probably make this recipe (6 servings) for around $12.


Julie said...

I LOVE this dish at Olive Garden and have gotten in several times! ~ Thanks for the recipe - at first glance I thought, ooooooo, heavy cream - maybe not. If I try it I'd probably just use whole milk if you think that's good. I'll have to fit it in sometime :) ~ If you ever figure out the recipe for their salad dressing, let us know!

Jen said...

I only made it one time and with the half and half, but I think whole milk would be fine or maybe cut the cheese down to half. I would substitute extra virgin olive oil too - I should have said that. The recipe is not especially healthy but you can make it healthier than the restaurants version and it could be a special Valentine's Day dinner at home :)

Joni said...

It may not be THAT healthy, BUT it's still able to be changed at home and made healthier...and CHEAPER! :) I think that every time we have a special night out. We went out Friday to Rachel' nice to have a date...and we left and I thought "I could've made that cheaper but would not have been as enjoyable!" :)