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Chicken Cacciatore

1 cup all-purpose flour
3 lb bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large red or green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, and diced
9 oz white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes, reserve juice
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley or 1 Tbsp dried
salt
black pepper

1. Place all-purpose flour in a large plastic bag. Add chicken thighs and drumsticks, and shake to lightly coat.

2. In a large skillet (be sure it's large enough to hold chicken in a single layer; if not, use 2 skillets) over medium high heat, heat olive oil. Add chicken and cook, turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until golden brown on all sides. Remove chicken from the skillet, and set aside.

3. Add onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms to the skillet, and sauté for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add garlic, and sauté for 1 more minute. Add red wine, and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.

4. Using your hands, squeeze each tomato into the skillet, breaking it up as you go. Reserve tomato juice in the can. Add tomato paste, and stir well with a wooden spoon.

5. Stir in Italian seasoning, bay leaves, and Italian parsley and season with salt and pepper. If sauce seems too thick, add some of the reserved tomato juice until you achieve a consistency you like. Sauce should be chunky and thick but not dry.

6. Return chicken to the skillet, and coat with sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer and cook, stirring and turning chicken occasionally, for about 25 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Cook completely and remove bay leaf. Package in baking dishes or zipper-lock plastic freezer bags (depending on if you prefer to bake or microwave later), label, and freeze.

To reheat after freezing: Thaw in the refrigerator if desired. Bake thawed or frozen baking pan of chicken in a preheated 375°F oven for 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until heated through. Alternatively, microwave on high, stopping to stir every minute of so, until heated through.

Yields: 3 lb
Prep time: 55 minutes
Cook time: 1:15 hours
Servings: 12 (1/4 lb) servings

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Easy Freezer Meals
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Header photo by
Gillian Gunson