Saturday, March 10, 2012

Catalina Chicken Recipe

I set a goal for myself this year to learn 12 new recipes. My husband and I both love to cook (him more than me as I prefer baking), but our busy schedules often leave us scrounging for a quick meal so we can get back out the door or get food in our tummies before 9pm.

This recipe kick starts my adventure because I tried it out on a whim. I was sitting at the lunch table at work (I teach at an elementary school) when my collegue began discussing the recipe below as she had brought leftovers in her lunch. She mentioned that she bought the ingredients at Costco, it was quick to make, and that it tasted yummy. Another collegue tried it and agreed. I thought "Hey, I have to drive past the Costco on my way home and I have no idea what I am going to make for dinner. I guess I'll go out on a limb and try this dish." That was a big gamble for me as I thought at first the dish did not sound as appealing as my collegues exclaimed it was. It was delicious though! Even Chris loved it and he made it even better as leftovers (and I almost never eat leftovers!)

Catalina Chicken

1) Fill a baking dish with a single layer of boneless, skinless turkey thighs. (You can use chicken breasts, but the chicken will dry out a bit). I used about 15 thighs.
2) Season thighs with salt and pepper to taste.
3) Chop up red, yellow, and orange bell peppers and sprinkle over thighs. I used three peppers.
4) Pour an entire bottle of Catalina salad dressing over the thighs and peppers.
5) Cover with aluminum foil and bake until chicken is done. (45min-1 hour at 350)
6) Serve with mashed potatoes.

Note: Chris determined that a few minor changes to this original recipe would make it taste even more fantastic. He was right so here are the changes if you want. You have to sacrifice the dishes appeal of being a "throw it into the pan and walk away" aspect, but if you want to invest a little more time you will amp up the flavour.

1) Brown the thighs in a frying pan before placing them into the baking dish to add a crispier texture and to speed up baking time in the oven
2) Add the bell peppers to the baking dish with only 20 minutes of cooking time left for a less mushy vegetable texture
3) Serve over rice to soak up the sauce and become more of a stir fry (this was my favourite adaptation)
4) For leftovers, heat up in a frying pan and add another chopped bell pepper to the mix. The sauce will thicken more as it reduces in the uncovered pan.

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