Friday, March 29, 2013

Balsamic Chicken

One easy cooking standby for me for years has been a boneless, skinless chicken breast. They're easy to find and, as long as they're in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, I feel like they're just about guaranteed to turn out yummy. I often make a sauce with whole-grain mustard and mayo, which you might have read about here. That sauce isn't paleo, though I still eat it from time to time, using less than I used to. Either way, since I make chicken breast to eat at home at least 3 times a week these days, I had to branch out!

I did some poking around on the internet to see if I could find a simple, Paleo-friendly recipe that would use a balsamic glaze on chicken. Not finding anything that quite met my specifications, I decided to invent one. It wasn't a complete failure, so I decided to share it with you!

First, I started by mixing up the sauce.
I decided that I was going to combine the balsamic and the olive oil right here in my kitchen. You could certainly make this recipe with a "balsamic vinaigrette" salad dressing you have (or would buy) where the oil and vinegar are pre-mixed. Part of the reason I chose not to do that was because, where I was shopping, the only pre-mixed option used canola oil rather than olive oil and I didn't want to go that route.

I used 4 "teaspoons" (like the one in the picture above - not actually a measuring spoon) of olive oil and mixed them with 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. I mixed that together and got to this.

Once I ate it, I thought the result was pretty tart, so I may try making this recipe with a little less vinegar next time. If you're using a pre-mixed, you could always add oil or vinegar if you have any on hand to amp up (or down) the flavor!

As you can see from this moderately awkward photograph, I then marinated the chicken in the sauce bowl. I didn't let it sit in there for any particular length of time. It probably soaked in the juices for maybe 10 minutes total.

Meanwhile, I was getting my veggies ready to roll...

Okay, so here's my little toaster oven tray ready to go into the oven. I drizzled the marinade over the chicken and the sliced zucchini. I slid this in, set the timer for 25 minutes and wandered away!

Once the timer went off, I pulled the tray out and added about 10 cherry tomatoes to the mix. I wanted the tomatoes to have a chance to warm up a little bit without either a) exploding and making a gigantic mess or b) shriveling to the point of being chewy. 5 minutes turned out to be just about the perfect amount of cooking time for those sweet little tomatoes!

Please also note that the tomatoes are a perfect, "geez I'm hungry and my food is cooking but isn't done quite yet" snack. YUM!

It's time for dinner!

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