What to you do when you’re craving pizza, but don’t have the ingredients? I faced this dilemma the other night and the result was a new recipe that we enjoyed so much that John and I ate the leftovers for lunch and had to make the recipe again a few nights later for supper.
This recipe has some up-front prep work, but then you pop it into the oven and let it bake away. Add a few easy vegetable sides and you have a gourmet meal without a lot of effort. That’s what I like for mid-week meals!
Pepperoni and Olive Baked Chicken
Yield: at least 5 serverings
5 large chicken breasts
24 oz. jar of pasta sauce
1 6 oz. can black olives
1 6 oz. can green olives
4 garlic cloves
approx. 50 slices pepperoni
marinara or pasta sauce
mozzarella cheese, grated
parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 350 and get a baking pan out. Roughly chop the olives and garlic and set aside. Trim any excess fat from the chicken breasts and then slice them so that they open up like a hoagie roll. Open up each breast and cover one side with pepperoni slices. Place a layer of the olive mixture on top of that and then close up the chicken breast. Repeat for each breast. Pour a thin layer of pasta sauce into the baking pan, place the chicken breast in the pan and pour the remaining sauce over the top. Place the chicken into then oven. When the chicken has finished cooking, sprinkle the mozzarella over the top and turn the broiler on for a few minutes. to melt the chicken.
Slice the chicken before serving and then spread it out slightly on the plate so that the pepperoni and olives can be seen.
Notes: Cooking times will vary based on the thickness of the chicken. A meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the breasts is one way to check for doneness. According to Harold McGee in n Food And Cooking, you need to insert at least an inch of the thermometer into the eat, so you’d need to insert the thermometer sideways. The FDA recommends cooking chicken until the internal temperature is at least 165 F.
I generally check for doneness by leaving the meal alone until it starts to smell good, and then I test for doneness by cutting into the center of a few of the breasts.