Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The New Craze


Ever follow along with the new craze, either in fashion, music, dances, sayings, even food?  I have done my fair share of following in my time.  As a teenager in the '80s (yes, I'm showing my age), I was a fan of parachute pants, side ponytails, giant flower patterned clothes, and legwarmers. Yes, I listened to Bananarama, Devo, The Cars, Aha, and a bevy of one-hit wonders.  Don't judge me.  Gag me with a fork, maybe, but no criticisms, please.  

All joking aside, the new trend lately seems to be Caprese something or other.  Okay, so I'll jump on the bandwagon temporarily.  I love the flavor combinations of Mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and tomatoes.  And a little balsamic vinegar to boot.  And it's a one-skillet dish that turned out so so good.  The tomatoes and basil get a quick cook to kind of burst the tomatoes and bring out their juices and creates a fantastic sauce.  I think this is a keeper at my house, since we all enjoyed it and licked our plates clean!  I hope you enjoy it too.

I'm so going to bring parachute pants back.  Just sayin'.

CAPRESE SMOTHERED CHICKEN
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 T butter
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
Seasoned salt (like Lawry's)
Garlic powder
Black pepper
About 1/4 C fresh basil, cut into chiffonades (little ribbons)
8 Mozzarella cheese slices
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C water

NOTES:  Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  I used a thermometer to make sure mine was done.  Since not all chicken breasts are the same size, your cook time could widely vary.  Also, to make basil chiffonades, stack the leaves up in one stack.  Roll them up like a cigar.  Then slice them into thin ribbons.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with the seasoned salt, garlic powder, and pepper.  Brown the chicken on both sides in the butter, about 3-5 minutes per side.  Turn the heat down slightly and cook for another 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and registers at 165 internally.  Remove the chicken to a plate and cover it to keep it warm.

Add the garlic, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, water, and basil to the skillet.  Cook, stirring gently, for a few minutes until the tomatoes start to break down and get soft.  Turn the heat off and add the chicken back to the skillet.  Top each piece of chicken with 2 slices of Mozarella.  Cover the skillet with a lid and let the cheese melt, about 5 minutes.

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