Dishin' With Debbie-Mediterranean Baked Chicken

New year, new round of trying to get back on the healthy eating wagon after holiday indulging.  We are bombarded with different eating plans and lifestyle changes that promise to be the solution.  For me, it boils down to making choices that amp up the fresh factor adding in more veggies and lean proteins.  I'm trying to break my sugar addiction, and portion control is a big focus for me.  Many nutritionists are telling us that the Mediterranean inspired diet seems to be one of the better choices.  Luckily I love those dishes.  Here is one I ran across in my search for healthy, flavorful options.  This video shows my very first attempt ever at this particular recipe.  Wish me luck!

Marinade:

1 small jar of marinated artichoke hearts (you'll drain them and use juice for the marinade)

2 cloves of garlic (sliced or minced)

2-3 sprigs of thyme (leaves stripped)

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. coriander

1-1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can use thighs if preferred)

For the dish:

2 tablespoons olive oil divided

1 small red onion thinly sliced

1 pint whole cherry tomatoes

artichoke hearts that were drained

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives

8 oz tub mini mozzerella balls drained (or slices of fresh mozzerella)

salt and pepper to taste

fresh parsley and basil leaves for garnish

Directions:

To a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the artichoke juice, garlic, oregano and coriander.  Cut the chicken into chunks and add to the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate and marinate at least one hour.  If you have time, 3-5 hours is perfect.

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sliced onions and tomatoes to a roasting pan large enough so the veggies roast, rather than steam.  Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.  Roast for 15-20 minutes.  Mine took closer to 18 minutes.

While veggies are roasting, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large skillet.  Salt and pepper the chicken, and add to skillet, browning on both sides.  Just get a good sear.  The chicken will finish cooking in the oven.

Make sure the artichokes are patted dry and cut into quarters.  Remove roasted veggies from oven.  Add seared chicken, artichokes, beans and olives to the pan.  Return to oven and roast 7-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Remove from oven and add cheese, tossing to combine and allow the heat from the pan to slightly melt the cheese.

For serving, garnish with fresh herbs and a drizzle of the leftover artichoke juice (the unused portion from the jar, not from the marinade)  A squeeze of fresh lemon juice would also be nice.