Flavorful, juicy chicken with a fresh and delicious tomato sauce is not only a tasty and satisfying meal, it is also full of healthy ingredients. My garden was loaded with grape and cherry tomatoes this year, so I made loads of tomato sauce. This easy and healthy mozzarella chicken is simple to make, and the chicken is always moist and full of flavor. There is a lot of simmering in the recipe, so give yourself some time and enjoy the wonderful homey aroma that will fill your kitchen. Serve with noodles or potatoes to soak up the extra sauce and you have a dish that is not only good but good for you.

Belle’s Mozzarella Chicken in Tomato Sauce

2-3 pounds cherry tomatoes, stems removed

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons

1 yellow onion, diced

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

½ cup fresh chopped basil leaves or 2 tablespoons dried

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

4-6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a heavy-bottomed saucepot, heat the ¼ cup of oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, occasionally stirring, until they soften about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, and continue cooking for another few minutes until the garlic is golden. Add the tomatoes and cook until they pop and soften. Add the herbs, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Turn the heat down to simmer, partially cover the pot with the lid, and let simmer for at least 25 minutes — and up to an hour — occasionally stirring as the sauce cooks.

Remove the pot from the heat, and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a blender (or use an immersion blender), and blend (start on low, so you don’t spray hot sauce everywhere) until the sauce is smooth.

In a large rimmed frying pan, heat the two tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides, working in batches if necessary. Arrange all the chicken pieces in the pan. Spoon the sauce over the top. Cover the pan, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about thirty minutes or until chicken is done and there is no pink inside. Place the cheese on top of the chicken pieces and cook until cheese is melted. Serve the chicken with the sauce over spaghetti or potatoes if desired.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins and a grandmother of eight. She is a cookbook author and novelist. For more recipes and information, visit her website, www.talesofthedinnerbelle.com.