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Divas Dish out Messy Mediterraneans

Written By Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole On September 2, 2009

Who doesn’t love a makeover? The outmoded transformed before our very eyes, a veritable miracle of “ick” becoming “it.” Well, we’re here to say it can happen on your plate. Sloppy Joe, tried, true and loved by all, is messy mediterraneantrimming down with lean ground chicken and dressing for fall with lot of pantry-friendly veggies. Stock your shelves with fire-roasted red bell peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes. Keep a variety of nuts in the fridge or freezer and a grownup cheese or two.
 Just in time for the frenzied, overscheduled daze of school, we’ve fashioned the Messy Mediterranean. Defy weeknight dinner doldrums and pump up nutrition, all in a single, glorious pot. Serve on toasted baguette topped crumbled feta and toasted pine nuts. (Mom or Dad may even wish to indulge with a delicious glass of vino tinto.) To chaos!

Messy Mediterraneans

Serves 4-6
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground chicken
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes with juice
1 6 jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1 fire-roasted red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup sun-dried tomato packed in oil, drained and chopped
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
2 (16-inch) baguettes
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
Crumbled feta and toasted pine nuts, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick pan. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Crumble the chicken into the pan, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the thyme, oregano and paprika, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
 Add the ketchup, wine, tomatoes, artichokes, bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and honey. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary.
Halve the baguettes lengthwise and brush with olive oil. Toast 5 to 10 minutes or until golden. Spoon chicken mixture into toasted baguette and serve open faced, garnished with feta and toasted pine nuts, if desired.

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