School Night Dinner: Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives

by Wendy Copley on January 25, 2012

Thank you to Hunt’s for sponsoring this post and encouraging my culinary skills! Visit Hunt’s Signature Recipe Collection to find tons of delicious ideas for using Hunt’s tomatoes in your meals.

Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives

I’m can’t put my finger on exactly what’s changed this year, but now that Wyatt is in second grade we are really busy during the week. PTA, play dates, scouts, work projects — we’ve been doing all these things for the past few years, but suddenly we’re finding that we have something going on almost every day. I’ve always been about fast and easy for our week night meals but now I’m really about fast and easy.

Chicken with tomatoes and olives is one of my favorite meals to throw together when I have to make dinner quickly. I’ve been making this dish since I was a bachelorette living over a bakery in Berkeley  (say that three times fast) and it continues to be delicious and satisfying almost 20 (!!) years later.

Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives

You only need three ingredients to make this dish: kalamata olives, canned, diced tomatoes and chicken breasts or tenders. I like to use tomatoes that are pre-seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano, but you can use plain canned tomatoes and season them with spices you have on hand if you like. You can also sub green olives for the kalamatas if you prefer. And come to think of it, you can sub chicken thighs for the chicken breasts. This recipe is totally flexible!

Checken with Tomatoes and Olives

Start by cooking the chicken over medium high heat in enough olive oil to coat the pan. Chicken tenders will only need 2-3 minutes per side. Breasts or thighs will take longer. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it to a plate.

Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives

Next, dump in two cans of diced tomatoes and as many olives as you like. I used the entire jar of olives pictured above. Drain the juice off the olives before adding them to the pan, but be sure not to drain the tomatoes because you’re going to use that juice to make a little sauce. When the tomatoes start to bubble, scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan and stir them into the sauce until they dissolve. They’ll give your sauce extra depth and flavor. Continue to cook the tomato mixture at a steady bubble until the juices have reduced and thickened to your taste.

Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives

To serve, put the chicken on a plate and top with the tomato mixture. I usually serve a steamed green veggie and some rice on the side and sometimes I sprinkle a little crumbled feta on top of the chicken which is extra delicious. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that when I make this my kids eat the chicken and sometimes eat the tomatoes, but they always pick the olives out complaining bitterly the whole time.

What do you cook for a fast dinner on school nights?

Thank you again to Hunt’s for sponsoring my post. Find more ideas for cooking with tomatoes at Hunt’s Signature Recipe Collection. I was selected for this opportunity by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own. #HuntsRecipe #spon

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  • Linda

     You always have such good ideas Wendy. Week nights are difficult and this looks like it can go together quickly and taste great. (The olives might get picked off at our house too!)

  • Karen

    Oh how funny — my son would scarf down the olives and tomatoes — and pick out the chicken!

  • Kristal

    In my house I would thoroughly enjoy this, my daughter would only eat the olives and my husband would pick out the olives:)
    We’re not in a super busy season of life activity wise. But I have a toddler and an infant and my husband is in school. So, I meal plan accordingly:). I depend on my crock pot for the nights he gets home late. Tomorrow we’re having bean dip for dinner. I came up with the idea for a dip for dinner and so far they’ve been fun! For the bean dip I mash beans I cooked earlier in the week in the crock pot( my pot has 3 sizes of crock so I’m using a 2 qt crock for this), add a can of tomatoes and shredded cheese and any veggies I can hide in there;). Last time I added some pumpkin purée and some shredded zucchini I had in the freezer. This time I have some cauliflower purée I’ll add with the squash. Top it with some Greek yogurt or sour cream, olives and serve with dippers:). We’ll have chips and cut up red bell peppers tomorrow.

  • Mmmm, this looks good!  I often bake chicken with a jar of marinara poured over the top. This would be similar, but faster I think, and more economical. 

  • Brenda

    the labels on that chicken is really disturbing.  antibiotics and … what meat are they feeding chicken somewhere and selling it to people? yuck.

  • AKD

    Wendy, this might seem like a dumb question but I’m going to ask it anyway. Whenever I try to cook chicken like that it in a frying pan, the oil pops all over the place — onto my arms, all over the stove and the floor in front of the stove. It’s a total mess. I thought maybe it was because I was using olive oil (instead of regular canola oil) but I see that’s what your recipe calls for. I’m pretty sure I was using med-high heat. What am I doing wrong?
    This seems like a good easy recipe for my husband to make, but the popping thing while frying the chicken is going to throw him. (He’s not a very advanced cook.)

  • Seriously scary, isn’t it? I pay a premium to *not* have all that crap in our food.

  • That sounds like a water issue to me. If there’s any water in the pan (like if you just washed it) or if your chicken is wet (from rinsing or from juices in the package) that will make the oil pop. I would try patting down the chicken with paper towels to dry it off a bit before sauteeing it and that should help. You could also coat it lightly in flour which would absorb excess moisture and give it a nice crust. Yum!

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