May 19


Monika’s Molecular Meals: Italian Keto Chicken Dinner Two Ways (Perfect For A Busy Weeknight Or Lazy Sunday!)

May 19, 2021

Enjoy This Delicious, Flavorful Italian Keto Chicken Dinner

Monika's Molecular Meals: Italian Keto Chicken Dinner Two Ways (Perfect For A Busy Weeknight Or Lazy Sunday!)

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Most people dont associate Italian food with restrictive and radical diets like keto.

Theres pasta



Italian cuisine is a carb-lovers dream and every keto-dieters nightmare.

But I want to change that!

Because the reality is, there are PLENTY of classic Italian dishes that arent carb-heavy

(So YES, you can still eat Italian food on the keto diet!)

And in fact, theres one in particular that is almost 100% keto by design:

Im talking about chicken cacciatore.

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Juicy, tender chicken legs (no breasts here seriously, DO NOT use chicken breasts for this recipe) are slowly braised in a rich, herby tomato and white wine sauce, with supporting roles played by peppers, onions, and olives.

But wine isnt keto!!!

Yeah I know. And thats why youre cooking off the keto-unfriendly alcohol, which will still give you all the delicious flavor, without any of the guilt.

Were also skipping the flour dredge in this recipe which will not only save you carbs, but will help you avoid a giant post-dinner mess as well.

(And if I can both avoid unnecessary carbs AND have less mess to clean up… I’m taking that route!)


Even though this dish does take time to make Ive got a borderline brilliant shortcut you can take to make this weeknight-friendly too.

No more sadly turning past this recipe just because you “don’t have time.” With this shortcut, you do!

So if youre sick of dry, flavorless chicken or simply want a break from heavy cream sauces, or the same chicken recipes youve been cooking over and over

Say hello to your new dinnertime superstar:

Monika's Molecular Meals: Italian Keto Chicken Dinner Two Ways (Perfect For A Busy Weeknight Or Lazy Sunday!)

FTHs Keto Chicken Cacciatore Dinner Two Ways

Equipment Needed: Dutch oven or large pot for braising; sharp knife; foil; butchers twine, cheesecloth, or a toothpick; oven or toaster oven

Recipe Time: 60-90 minutes, depending on the size of your Dutch oven/braising pot

Serves: 4-6

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  • 3-4 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, drumsticks, or leg quarters
  • 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand (include the juices, but remove any basil leaves if added)
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives, lightly smashed by hand or sliced in half
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (nothing you wouldnt drink see Recipe Notes)
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary, or sage
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • Parmesan rind (optional see Recipe Notes)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes (optional only if you like spicy)
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste


1) Season & brown the chicken.

Pat the chicken dry, cut off any excess fat (a little is OK), and season generously with salt and smoked paprika (my personal pepper preference you could also use black pepper).

Pour 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into your Dutch oven or braising pan, and place the chicken, skin side down, on top. You may have to do this in batches if your pan isnt large enough (there should be at least 1 inch of space between each piece of chicken).

Then turn the heat to medium, and fry until the skin is golden brown and crispy on top, about 8-10 minutes. Flip and fry until golden brown on the other side and much of the fat has rendered, 6-8 minutes more. Place on a paper towel-lined plate, and continue until all the chicken has been fried.

(Note: Youre not trying to fully cook the chicken here. This is just to get some browning and render a little fat for the next step.)

2) Saute the onions and peppers, then garlic.

Turn the burner down to medium-low, and then add the onions, peppers, and garlic. (There should be enough liquid in the pan that the garlic wont burn, but if there isnt, wait a few minutes before adding the garlic.)

Saute the mixture until its softened, scraping any brown bits as you go. This should take about 8-10 minutes.

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3) Add the wine and simmer.

Add the wine and simmer until the alcohol smell is gone (3-5 minutes). Stir occasionally.

4) Add the tomatoes and olives, and taste.

Once the wine smell has dissipated, add the crushed tomatoes, olives, and optional Parmesan rind.

Prepare the herbs in a bouquet garnis tie them in butchers twine so you dont have to fish them out of your sauce an hour later and add them to the pot. If you dont have butchers twine, cheesecloth or a toothpick will work in a pinch.

Taste it and add salt if you think it needs it.

5) Nestle the chicken back in the pot and give it some time. (Nows a great time to make your sides.)

Add the chicken back to the pot, making sure each piece is equally covered in sauce. Cover and cook on medium/medium-low for about 40 minutes, or until the juices run clear when you slice into the chicken.

Nows also a great time to make your sides you could do Parmesan cauliflower risotto, roasted veg, or a simple salad. Im personally a fan of anything that can mop up the delicious chicken sauce.

6) Brown the skin, return to the pot, and serve!

When the chicken is done, turn the heat off, remove the chicken, and place it onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil the chicken until the skin crisps up (this shouldnt take long).

Remove the herbs and optional Parmesan rind from the sauce, then continue cooking the sauce on low while the chicken broils. It should reduce a bit and become thicker.

Return the chicken to the pot if you want a more rustic-style serving, or alternatively, spoon a good amount of sauce onto a plate and nestle the chicken on top.

Garnish with some optional minced parsley, and youre all set!

(Note: This makes AMAZING leftovers.)

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Recipe Notes

  • You may have heard the phrase cooking wine, but in reality, you should never cook with wine you wouldnt actually drink. When you add wine to a recipe, youre also adding the flavors in the wine and if its a crappy wine, guess what? Youre adding crappy flavors to your dinner.
  • Dont throw out your Parmigiano Reggiano rind when the cheese is gone! That rind has a TON of flavor in it (including natural MSG, which helps make food lip-smackingly delicious in the first place). Add it to broths, soups, stews, stocks pretty much any savory liquid that could use a little punch.
Monika's Molecular Meals: Italian Keto Chicken Dinner Two Ways (Perfect For A Busy Weeknight Or Lazy Sunday!)

Heres How To Cut Your Cooking Time Down By Half

If you have an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker, youre in luck.

It might not be the most traditional way to cook chicken cacciatore but it works.

And it will save you some time!

All you have to do is brown the chicken in a pan (in fact, you could even skip this step if youre really short on time), then throw the following into your pressure cooker or Instant Pot:

  • The browned chicken, plus 2 Tbsp of the browning liquid
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Red pepper
  • Black olives
  • Garlic
  • Wine
  • Bay leaf, thyme, and parsley
  • Optional Parmesan rind
  • Oregano, red pepper flakes, and seasoning as needed

Seal your pressure cooker, bring it to high heat, and cook for 15 minutes.

Release pressure, and then you can crisp the chicken in the broiler or simply shred it and return to the pot for a less conventional (but still delicious) dish.

keto chicken dinner

A Note About Adding Parmesan Rinds To Your Soups, Stews & Sauces

So I love using parmesan rinds, not only because its less wasteful

But because like I said, it adds a TON of flavor and natural MSG.

And no, MSG isnt bad for you, by the way.

It wont give you a headache, your body naturally produces it

(Its full name is monosodium glutamate, and your brain requires it to function properly.)

And it wont make you eat more if you use it.

Though if youre still against MSG, I urge you NOT to give up on cooking with cheese rinds there are actually two more kinds of cheeses you can use to add a whole bunch of flavor to the food you already make at home, and they contain zero MSG.

Not only that… but science has actually shown that these cheeses can even help boost your body’s fat burn!

Heres a quick list that shows you what they are:

Click Here To See 2 More Cheeses You Can Add To Your Recipes For Tons Of Flavor (And Extra Fat-Burning Power)

[Note: This post was updated by Fit Trim Happy on February 2, 2020.]

Monika Knapp

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