I wish I could go back and tell employed Caroline that not working (but watching my 2-year-old) would not give me the amount of free time I thought I might get. Because boy was I wrong. If anything, I manage to find less time to devote to my blog and wonderful readers.
I love spending this time with my daughter, but when it comes to getting “work” done, I think in most cases, an adult boss might be a bit more rational to answer to than a 2-year-old. Just a hunch, but she is a joy nonetheless.
Making a vow today to work on my frequency but we have been BUSY lately. Garage sale, vacation, etc. Don’t worry, I’ve still spent lots of time in the kitchen and being creative, just have yet to sit down and write ‘em up!
I know it is officially Fall (YAY!) but there is still plenty of fresh basil and tomatoes to harvest from my garden. That’s the inspiration for today’s post.
I was at the grocery store and couldn’t resist some beautiful fresh mozzarella and knew I had the rest of the ingredients on hand (fresh basil, heirloom tomatoes and good balsamic vinegar are always around when the weather is warm).
My favorite part of this recipe is the balsamic reduction. It gives your vinegar a slightly sweeter taste but also some staying power instead of turning your dish into a soupy mess!
Super important note here people, start with a good balsamic dressing. A better one tends to be a bit thicker (unlike cheap ones that are watery). It doesn’t have to be expensive, you just want it to taste good.
Using a small stainless-steel sauce pan, all you do is pour roughly double the amount of vinegar that you desire for your dish right in. Place the pan over medium high heat and bring the vinegar to a slow boil. You are looking for small bubbles on just the edge of your vinegar to boil, so turn the heat down if it is too high.
Let the vinegar simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. After about 15 minutes, dip a spoon into the mixture, checking to see if it coats the spoon. It should reach a syrupy consistency. Just watch carefully. Nobody wants the smell of burnt vinegar taking over their kitchen! (YUCK!)
Keep in mind, as it cools it will thicken a bit, so don’t reduce it too far or it will never come out.
I just made mine, set it aside to cool, and went on with the recipe.
Caroline’s Caprese Chicken
Yield: 4 servings
4 skinless chicken breasts (I used tenderloins, which work just as well, just cut your tomatoes and mozzarella in half)
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2-3 Large tomatoes, sliced
10 large basil leaves, finely chopped
8 oz fresh fresh mozzarella, sliced in 1/2 inch thick slices
Balsamic Vinegar (roughly 1/2 a coup for marinade and another cup for the reduction)
I like to marinate the chicken with just a little vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper and set aside while I prep the other ingredients. Once the tomatoes, cheese and basil are prepped, it is time to get that chicken in your pan (or on the grill).
Hubs was not willing to man the grill so I just sautéed my chicken in a skillet. Set your temperature to medium high and adding the olive oil to the pan. Add your chicken, cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes. Flip over your chicken (it should have a beautiful brown, caramelized crust on it from the vinegar) and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked thoroughly (or has reached an internal temp of 165°F). I am crazy about chicken so I always use a thermometer.
Once the chicken is ready, transfer it to a serving plate, top each chicken breast with a slice (or 2) of mozzarella, a slice of tomato and a basil leaf. Drizzle with your balsamic reduction and you have a delicious, fresh and healthy meal.
I promise to wow you with more frequent (and creative and witty as ever) posts soon. Getting back into the swing of things after a garage sale and trip to Vegas!