Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Betty Crocker Project : Chicken Cacciatore

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So, last night Dan walked in on something that was kinda awkward... one of those things that you eventually end up sharing with the one you love. And of course the 10,000 people who read this blog. (No joke. I checked the numbers; over 10,000 people read this blog last month.)

Back to my story. We had a very honest moment in our marriage last night. Dan walked in while I was watching New Moon. Yes. The second Twilight movie.

What? I like vampires and werewolves and movie monsters. Correction: I LOVE movie monsters! If you've ever watched the real classics--The Blob (seriously Steve McQueen can't do wrong), Dr.Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (the one from 1931 that won 2 much deserved Academy Awards), Godzilla vs. Mothra (the best of the series in my opinion)--you have to agree that monsters and melodrama go hand in hand. Yes, the relationship stuff was exhaustively annoying, but the Twilight movies have a really high production value and I like the soundtracks. Yes, they cost an obscene amount of money to make, and maybe I'm just waxing a little nostalgic because they're filmed in the Pacific Northwest and I get homesick for Seattle and Olympia pretty much once a week... But whatever. I admit, I like these movies. I don't love them. The books are another subject, and make me sad, because trees died to make them.

What's my point?

A very long time ago, one of my beautiful and wise Italian aunts gave me some advice: "One of the most important things a woman can know is how to make a good cutlet."

Now at the time I was thinking "Really? More important than say... how to use a computer... fix a flat tire... do your taxes?"

But last night, as Dan walked into the living room and half-smirked when he realized what was on the TV, I had to laugh, because all he said "How's the Twilight?" and then "Dinner was great!"
Whatever the magic of the good cutlet is apparently extends to vegan cutlets as well, and saved me from a good-natured teasing.

Thank you, vegan cutlet magic!

Chicken Cacciatore
  • 3 Cups Vegan Chicken (We finally finished our bag of vegan chicken nuggets from May Wah. It lasted for 3 months. Good deal eh? You can always use Gardein, Match and Morningstar Cickn Strips. The kind of fake chicken we used made the perfect mini "cutlet" but I think the other brands will be very good too.)
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Dry Bread Crumbs (Be sure to check that they're vegan; we used an herbed style and it was prefect!)
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper (sliced)
  • 1 Red Onion (sliced)
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes (Italian seasoned)
  • 1 Can Tomato Sauce (8 oz)
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine
  • 1 Cup Sliced White Mushrooms
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano (dried)
  • 1 Teaspoon Basil (fresh)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Braggs
  • 2 Clove Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Package Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • Vegan Parmesan Cheese to sprinkle over the top

Make Pasta per instructions on the package.

Heat Olive Oil in a your friendly cast iron skillet at a medium heat. Pour the Dry Bread Crumbs and Flour in the shallow dish. Coat defrosted Fake Chicken with the Flour Mix. Make sure you get a very heavy coating. Once the Oil starts to sizzle, put the coated Fake Chicken in, let it brown on one side, and then flip. Once your Fake Chicken has a golden brown crispy crust, remove from the skillet and place on a plate with a paper towel to soak up any extra oil.

Put Green Peppers, Onions and Mushrooms in the hot Oil. Once the Vegetables are tender but still crisp, add the remaining ingredients--except Pasta, Vegan Parmesan and Fake Chicken--to the skillet. Simmer the Sauce Ingredients to a Boil while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat once it starts to boil. Stir in your Fake Chicken, and serve over Pasta with Vegan Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

And save this one for whenever you want to get some big points with your significant other.


  1. Didn't know you were originally from the good ol' Pacific Northwest. Awesome. (As is your cooking). Forks is suddenly famous, what with all the Twilight excitement...

  2. This really does look fantastic. I've starred this with the hopes that my Dan will reward me with a similar comment as yours!

  3. Well I went to college in Olympia and hung out in the PACNW for like 8 years. It's such a nice place. No where else is like it!

    PS - Dan's are pretty sweet. I bet he likes it. :)

  4. "The books are another subject and make me sad because trees died to make them."

    I couldn't live without books. Books educate, inform, inspire and give pleasure to millions of people and yes we should plant more trees but not stop producing books.

    Sorry if these reads like an attack,it's not meant to be, as a bibliophile i am just kind of shocked at this comment.

  5. I'm a bibliophile too! But have you ever read the Twilight books? I read all 4 and they aren't really great literature and they have been reprinted way more than other books that are much better works. :)

    That's what makes me sad.

  6. i have been stuck on your site!! everything looks so tasty! keep up the good work! :)