Baked Caprese Chicken

Introduction:

Experience the exquisite flavors of Italy with our Baked Caprese Chicken recipe. This mouthwatering dish combines tender chicken breasts with ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy mozzarella cheese, all baked to perfection. With its vibrant colors and irresistible flavors, this dish is sure to become a favorite among family and friends. Whether you’re cooking for a weeknight dinner or hosting a dinner party, Baked Caprese Chicken is a delicious and satisfying option that will leave everyone asking for seconds. Let’s explore how to create this flavorful and healthy dish in your own kitchen.

Ingredients:

  •    1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  •     cup balsamic vinegar
  •    2 Tablespoons honey
  •    1 cloves garlic minced
  •    1 Tablespoons olive oil
  •    1 teaspoons italian seasoning
  •     teaspoon salt
  •    pinch of pepper
  •    1 cup cherry tomatoes
  •    2 large tomatoes sliced
  •    4 slices mozerella cheese
  •    chopped basil for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Add the chicken to a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. In a small bowl whisk the balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour over the chicken and add cherry tomatoes to the side of the chicken.  Place the tomato slices on the top.
  4. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or internal temperature is 165 degrees.  Add cheese for the last 5 minutes to melt.
  5. Garnish with fresh chopped basil if desired.
  6. PREP: 5 min, TOTAL: 35 min, SERVINGS: 4

Serving:

  1. Garnish for Presentation: Before serving, garnish the Baked Caprese Chicken with additional fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. This not only adds to the visual appeal but also enhances the flavor of the dish.
  2. Accompaniments: Serve the Baked Caprese Chicken with a side of cooked pasta, garlic bread, or a fresh green salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. These accompaniments complement the flavors of the dish and create a well-rounded meal.
  3. Family-Style Serving: Consider serving the Baked Caprese Chicken family-style by arranging the chicken breasts on a large serving platter and allowing everyone to help themselves. This fosters a communal dining experience and encourages sharing.
  4. Meal Pairing: Pair the Baked Caprese Chicken with a glass of chilled white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, for a refreshing and complementary beverage option.

Storage:

  1. Refrigeration: If you have leftover Baked Caprese Chicken, allow it to cool completely at room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container or wrapping it tightly with plastic wrap. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
  2. Reheating: To reheat the Baked Caprese Chicken, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the chicken in a baking dish. Cover the dish with foil to prevent drying out, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.
  3. Freezing (Not Recommended): While you can freeze leftover Baked Caprese Chicken, the texture of the tomatoes and basil may change upon thawing and reheating. If you choose to freeze it, store the chicken in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag for up to 1-2 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  4. Portioning: Consider portioning the leftover Baked Caprese Chicken into individual servings before storing them in the refrigerator. This makes it easier to reheat only the amount you need, reducing waste and ensuring optimal freshness.

FAQs:

  1. Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for this recipe?
    • Yes, you can substitute chicken thighs for chicken breasts in the Baked Caprese Chicken recipe. However, keep in mind that cooking times may vary slightly, so adjust accordingly to ensure the chicken is cooked through.
  2. Can I use dried basil instead of fresh basil?
    • While fresh basil is recommended for its vibrant flavor and aroma, you can use dried basil as a substitute if fresh basil is not available. Use about half the amount of dried basil compared to fresh basil, as dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor.
  3. How do I know when the chicken is cooked through?
    • The chicken is cooked through when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C) as measured with a meat thermometer. Alternatively, you can check for doneness by cutting into the thickest part of the chicken and ensuring the juices run clear with no traces of pink.
  4. Can I prepare the Baked Caprese Chicken ahead of time and bake it later?
    • Yes, you can assemble the Baked Caprese Chicken ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Simply cover the baking dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking as directed.
  5. Can I omit the balsamic glaze from the recipe?
    • While the balsamic glaze adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the dish, you can omit it if desired. The Baked Caprese Chicken will still be delicious thanks to the natural flavors of the tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese.

Conclusion:

Baked Caprese Chicken is a delightful dish that brings together the classic flavors of Italy in a simple and satisfying way. With its juicy chicken, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy mozzarella cheese, every bite is a burst of flavor that will transport you to the sunny shores of the Mediterranean. Whether served for a family dinner or a special occasion, this dish is sure to impress with its vibrant colors, irresistible flavors, and wholesome ingredients. So, gather your ingredients and let’s bring a taste of Italy to your dinner table with Baked Caprese Chicken.