Balsamic Caprese Chicken

Meals can be separated into two categories: those that are quick and simple that you make for weeknight dinners and those that are photogenic and have a *wow* effect that you save for company. And then there are some very special meals that fall into both of these categories.

This balsamic caprese chicken is one of those chicken recipes that can be easily whipped up on a weeknight or dressed up on a big platter for a dinner party to “oohs and ahhs.”

Perhaps it’s because everyone loves the taste and colors of a caprese salad. If I see it on a menu, I have to order it even though I know I can just as easily make it at home.

Honestly, who can resist fresh mozzarella and in-season tomatoes with basil and a good balsamic vinaigrette?

Luckily, these are easy ingredients for the home cook to find and work with too. And instead of making it just a measly starter, we make it a star in our entree. The cheese is added to our chicken just minutes before it’s done in the oven so it’s slightly warm and melted when served (but feel free to just have it fresh). With summer here, you can just as easily cook the chicken in your outdoor grill.

I’ve also gotten in the habit of halving my chicken breast (check out the video below) these days. The size of one is too big as one serving these days and can take a long time to cook all the way through, which means some parts are dry and tough.

This one simple step takes care of cooking time and saves you money. Serving 8 for a dinner party? Now you only need to purchase 4 chicken breasts. People will actually be eating the right amounts and have plenty of room for your delicious dessert.


Prepping Smarts

  • Cut chicken breasts in half so that the chicken cooks evenly and quickly. And remember to season and tenderize them for more flavor absorption!
Video

How to Halve Chicken Breasts

Learn how to halve chicken breasts to save money and reduce cooking time.

Video

How to Season & Tenderize Proteins with a Fork

Maximize flavor and tenderize proteins with this little trick.

Equipment Smarts

  • Tongs – a must-have in every kitchen; acts as your hands as you use them to turn, lift, or transfer food
  • Whisk – to emulsify the vinaigrette
  • Grill pan – great for getting those grill marks without using an outdoor grill!

For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools

Cooking Smarts

  • Pair this dish with any roasted vegetable! All you have to do is toss your vegetables in part of the balsamic vinaigrette for more flavor. You can even make a double batch of the vinaigrette and use half for a side salad.
  • Leftover ideas: Chop up leftover chicken and add to salads or use as a filling for quesadillas.

Balsamic Caprese Chicken

We love caprese salad, so why not combine it with simple grilled chicken to make it something special? This dish makes a great weeknight dinner, but will also impress dinner guests if served at a party.

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

Total time: 25 min

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Skinless & boneless chicken breasts – 2
  • Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
  • Roma or heirloom tomato – 1, sliced
  • Basil – 2 sprigs, leaves removed
  • Fresh mozzarella – 4 oz
  • Balsamic vinegar – 2 Tbsp
  • Dijon mustard – 2 tsp
  • Brown sugar – 2 tsp
  • Olive oil – 3 Tbsp

Instructions

Prep

  1. Chicken – Slice in half and then season and tenderize with salt & pepper.
  2. Garlic / Tomatoes / Basil – Prep as directed.
  3. Mozzarella – Divide into 4 slices.

Make

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, and olive oil.
  3. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Brush with some oil and then grill chicken on both sides for about 2 minutes. (If grill pan isn’t large enough to fit all the chicken pieces, transfer grilled pieces onto a sheet pan.) Transfer chicken into the oven and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes in the oven. In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add a slice of mozzarella onto each chicken breast
  4. When chicken is done, top cheese with a basil leaf and tomato slice. Drizzle with the sauce.

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