This is what happens when it’s 6pm and we haven’t even thought about dinner or going to the store for ingredients. Some days just get away from you, you know? And then before you know it, tummies are rumbling, tempers are close to flaring and food needs to happen like five minutes ago. And of course no one has any idea what they actually want to eat.
So at 6:10pm, Big D and I jumped in the car and headed to the grocery store. The trip went something like this: Grab a basket. Grab Spinach, garlic, onion, goat cheese, chicken thighs, a box of crushed tomatoes, a jar of oil cured olives, a box of frozen artichoke hearts, and a bottle of wine. Almost get in an argument because we are starving. Recover. Check out. Drive home.
I didn’t really think to take photos of the ingredients for this, as I was too busy throwing it together as fast as I could. I also made a really yummy Spinach and Artichoke side dish, but didn’t get any photos at all of that, so you’ll just have to imagine it and wait a bit for the recipe…I know I’m a tease.
I keep a pretty varied and well stocked spice rack, and that comes in really, really handy on nights like last night. With just a few basic ingredients and a handful of spices and herbs you can create a delicious meal in a very small amount of time.
Since we were in a hurry I decided to fall back to my go-to region of the Mediterranean for flavor inspiration. I think we all have a culinary comfort zone, and mine is definitely those sunny countries on the Med. Give me olives, tomatoes, some sheep or goat cheese, a few veggies and some good olive oil and I’ll whip up a meal. And that’s exactly what I did.
Luckily I had a few veggies in the fridge, and of course my spices…so let’s get started with how I put this together.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 chicken thighs —you can use either boneless skinless or bone-in skin on, whichever you prefer. If using bone-in, adjust your cooking time as necessary
12 oz box of crushed tomatoes
2-3 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar (or red wine)
1/2 cup diced onion
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 carrots diced small
1 medium zucchini, diced small
10 cremini mushrooms sliced
1 TBSP dried Basil
1 TBSP dried Oregano
Crushed Red Peppers to taste
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 convection or 400 non convection
In a large oven proof skillet heat 1 or 2 tablespoons of EVOO until shimmering, but not smoking
Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Brown the chicken in the hot oil and remove to a plate. Work in batches if necessary.
Once all of the chicken is browned, sauté the onions, carrots, and garlic in the pan, adding more oil if needed.
Once the onions and carrots begin to soften, add in the mushrooms and zucchini, sautéing until all the vegetables are softened and slightly browned. Add EVOO as needed to prevent sticking.
Add in your dried herbs and Salt and Pepper and stir to incorporate into the vegetable mixture.
Deglaze the pan with Red Wine Vinegar, or red wine.
Pour in the crushed tomatoes, and stir everything together.
Nestle the chicken into the sauce mixture, and pour any juices from the chicken into the pan as well.
Bring up to a simmer and transfer the skillet to the preheated oven.
Place on the middle rack and bake for 20 minutes. If using bone-in chicken you may need to bake it a bit longer. Check for doneness on the thickest thigh. No one likes raw chicken.
When chicken is cooked through, remove from oven and serve two thighs per person with a good amount of the sauce.
This goes very well with the Spinach Artichoke dish I alluded to earlier in this post, but you could serve it with rice, pasta, cous cous, or quinoa, as well.
There. Super easy, fairly quick, and you probably have most of those ingredients on hand. Give it a try. Play with the spices a little and make it taste the way you want it to. Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore or scary or even fancy. This is just basic tasty healthy food.
Let me know if you try this, and any tweaks you made to really make it yours.