6th Honorable Mention – 2015 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service…to share more culinary nuggets of wisdom and make the world a better place through sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, risotto and the Mediterranean diet in general.

Happy New Year! May this be the best year of all of our lives! It’s up to us so let’s make it happen! Be kind. Be happy. Cook and eat well…with gusto – Like this month’s honorable mention prizewinner, home chef, Hamilton Brewer and his mom, Rebecca!

Congratulations Chefs! You’ll receive a deluxe gift box of Bella Sun Luci products so you can get going on your recipe entry for next year’s contest. Keep up the good work and maybe your next recipe will put you in next year’s contest’s money!

I know, from being a primary schoolteacher with a garden-kitchen program here in Chico, that kids love to cook. It’s rewarding to them, to be creative and enjoy the fruits of their labor…or in this case…the chicken of their kitchen. My dad told me when I was a kid that I’d be successful if I learned how to finish projects. Chef Brewer’s Easy Sun Dried Tomato Grilled Chicken Strips for Kids is a testimonial to this wisdom and apparently, Chef Brewer’s mom, who helped with the e-submission of this recipe, is fostering the same values. Congratulations to both of you! You inspire me, and all of us here at Bella Sun Luci…and I’m hoping more kids will now get involved in cooking and eating healthy because of you.

Chef Richie Says: You ROCK Chef Hamilton!

One thing that sets this recipe apart is its inherent health benefits. It’s gluten-free (and therefore lower in carbohydrates, which, when metabolized, turn to sugar (essentially are sugar). Being skinless, it’s low in fat, especially saturated fat. Our antioxidant-rich Bella Sun Luci estate grown (a half hour from Chico!) Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sun dried tomatoes are wonderful additions here. This is a traditional marriage of flavors, made new and fresh with its use of sun dried tomatoes and, when you taste it you’ll find out it’s bursting with jump-for-joy flavor!

Congratulations Chef Hamilton Brewer and Rebecca! I’m looking forward to your 2016 Recipe Contest entry, and if you’re ever in Chico, CA you’re invited to come to Mooney Farms and cook up a sun dried tomato storm with me at lunchtime, as long as it’s not a school day. Got it? Maybe you can show me something!

Happy cooking and buon appetito!

Chef Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA


Easy Sun Dried Tomato Grilled Chicken Strips for Kids

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of 8.5 oz jar Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes – Julienne Cut with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Italian Herbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon Bella Sun Luci California Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Ask a parent to fire up the grill. Coat the chicken breasts with Bella Sun Luci Olive oil and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Grill the chicken evenly – about 10 minutes on each side. Bring the chicken inside and cover with foil to keep it warm.

In a sauté pan, bring the sun dried tomatoes with their olive oil to a simmer. Add the onions and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, cilantro, basil, and paprika. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat.

Bring your chicken breast to a cutting board and slice in strips – the size that your kids like. Put on a plate and top with your sun dried tomato sauce. Garnish with fresh Parmesan and basil!

Chef Richie

About Chef Richie

As corporate chef for Bella Sun Luci, Richard "Chef Richie" Hirshen, whose culinary career spans more than 30 years, plays an instrumental role in product development, recipe creation, and cooking demonstrations.

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