Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Caprese Chicken & Roasted Parmesan Broccoli


In the list of summertime food is usually salad; whether it be potato, pasta, fruit or a nice summery salad with fresh spinach or romaine, it's typically a "must-have" at family BBQ'a, picnics and get-togethers.  One of my favorites: Caprese.  I love the mixture of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella sprinkled with a little salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil or balsamic vinegar!  It's refreshing, light and not to mention pretty darn healthy too!  While it may be a salad you typically indulge on during the warm months of the year, it happens to be one of those things that every once in a while I get a major craving for!  About a week ago, was when it happened! 

Even though we're quickly approaching the major holiday season, it doesn't mean that you can't incorporate light and summery foods into your warm and hearty meals; after all, now is the time to be eating lighter so you have room to gorge on the yummy trimmings that come at Thanksgiving!  I decided to put a spin on my beloved Caprese Salad and turn it into more of a heartier (but healthy) meal that would not only tame my craving but provide us with substance during the cooler months of the year.  With that, I decided to make Caprese Chicken!  It was on a whim and something I literally pulled out of the air!  While it was my first go-round with it, it was definitely a pleaser in our household last night; however I think there are a few changes I'll make to it next time or perhaps try it with steak!

Roasting veggies in our house seems to be a favorite right now as well since it brings out a whole new level of flavor than steaming or grilling (plus, it's a great substitute for cooking veggies in the Fall and Winter seasons).  Typically when roasting, I just coat an assortment of vegetables in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and throw them in the oven to do their thing.  But with broccoli, I wanted to add another layer of flavor and sprinkled Parmesan Cheese in the mixture as well so it added a bit of tang and crunch that was so yummy!  In addition to the chicken and broccoli, I whipped up a box of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice.  Yes, I said it...a box!  Come on people, not everything I make is homemade and Uncle Ben's is really good! 

The picture below does not do this dish justice so please forgive me as I work out my food photography kinks.  I'm learning...slowly, but surely!

Caprese Chicken
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1 lb. Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast
1 cup Italian Dressing
4 slices Mozarella Cheese
1 Lg. Tomato, chopped
1/2 cup Fresh Basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar

With a fork, poke holes in the chicken so the dressing can moisten and provide more flavor to the mean while marinading.  Place chicken and dressing in a large resealable bag and toss to coat.  Marinate in the regridgerator at least 2 hours.

Preheat an indoor or outdoor grille at medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.  Take chicken out of the marinade (discard remaining marinade) and place on the grille, cooking it 10-15 minutes per side (depending on size) or until juices run clear and they are no longer pink inside.  Turn grille off and place a slice of Mozzarella on each piece of chicken; cover with a lid until cheese has lightly melted over the meat.

Set chicken on a plate or serving dish and let sit for 5 minutes to allow juices to redistribute into the meat.  Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil (or balsamic vinegar) and salt and pepper (to taste) in a small bowl.  Spoon over chicken and serve immediately.

Source: With a Cherry on Top

Roasted Parmesan Broccoli
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2 Lg. bundles Fresh Broccoli
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Tsp. Pepper
1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Rinse broccoli and remove the stems, cutting into bite-size pieces.  Place the broccoli into a large mixing bowl and toss with remaining ingredients to coat generously.

Spread broccoli onto a large baking dish and place in the oven, roasting 10-12 minutes (or until tender).  Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Source:  With a Cherry on Top


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