Smothered Chicken

Let the week of quick and easy recipes continue! Today’s recipe – Smothered Chicken from the June 2005 issue of Everyday Food – is ready in 30 minutes (with only 15 minutes of hands-on time), requires only 1 cooking dish, and is deeee-lish. Who knew such amazing roasted garlic sauce could come from a microwave?

I started by cutting 1 large onion into a 1/2-inch dice and 1 red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed) into 1/2-inch chunks. In a 2-quart microwave-safe dish, I tossed the onion with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and placed a whole, unpeeled head of garlic in the center. I covered the dish with its lid and microwaved it on high for 5 minutes. I stirred the bell pepper and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste into the onion.

Next, I rubbed 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves with 2 teaspoons of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. (This is the total amount of seasoning, not per breast.) I placed the chicken on top of the vegetables and around the garlic, with the thickest part of the chicken breasts facing the edge of the dish. I re-covered the dish and microwaved it on high until the chicken was opaque, 10 minutes. I removed the chicken from the dish, put it on a plate, and covered it to keep it warm.

To make the garlic sauce, I sliced off the top of the garlic bulb to expose the cloves. (I would recommend using a paper towel or clean dish cloth to hold the clove while you slice – it was hot!) Starting at the base of the bulb, I squeezed the cloves into a small bowl and added 3 tablespoons of reduced-fat mayonnaise and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. I mashed the mixture with a spoon, stirred it into the vegetable mixture, and then served the chicken over the vegetables.

Smothered Chicken

The flavor combination of this dish is terrific, truly, and the chicken was tender and juicy. I served this with a scoop of rice to help soak up that fantastic garlic sauce. If I hadn’t made it myself, I’d have a hard time believing this dish came out of the microwave!

TIPS: It seems like every time I make a dish with tomato paste, I end up wasting most of the can. This time, I took a tip from Everyday Food and spooned individual tablespoonfuls into an ice cube tray. Once the tomato paste had frozen, I transferred the “cubes” to a freezer bag. They’ll keep for 6 months, and it’s nice to know I have the ingredient ready and waiting for my next dish.

Recipe link: Smothered Chicken

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