Once again, another chicken recipe. What can I say, I love chicken. I like this recipe because it is quick, colorful and ever so delicious. Just one half hour and you’re putting a great meal on the table.
So let’s talk balsamic chicken and vegetables…
Lesson Learned 1 – Preparation is the key to success in this recipe: This recipe cooks relatively quickly. It is important to have everything prepped ahead of time so that you can move seamlessly through the steps.
I got everything ready and had the ingredients in prep bowls so that I could add things systematically. Because this recipe cooks so quickly it would be difficult, if not impossible to prep things as you went along.
Lesson Learned 2 – Cooking with shredded carrots: Boy, did I learn my lesson on this one. When carrots are cut that thinly they cook very quickly. I added them in with the asparagus and tomatoes and they overcooked. If you decide to add shredded carrots to this recipe add them at the end when you put the chicken back in the pan. That gives them only a couple of minutes to get warm which is what you want. As you notice in my final pictures you don’t see the carrots. They got so overdone that I just tossed them. True lesson learned. (you see, even cooks that have a lot of successes can have failures too – it’s all part of the process).
Lesson Learned 3 – Use cherry tomatoes and keep them whole: You can use any kind of tomato in this recipe, but I found that if you use cherry tomatoes and keep them whole they cook in the same amount of time as the asparagus. The cherry tomatoes were just starting to burst at the time the asparagus became crisp tender.
Lesson Learned 4 – Use chicken tenderloins for this recipe: You can buy prepackaged chicken tenderloins or you can cut your own from boneless skinless chicken breasts. Chicken tenderloins are slightly thicker than chicken cutlets (about a quarter of an inch or so) and they cook very quickly, I found cooking them for 3 minutes on each side and then adding them back to the pan at the end for a couple of minutes was more than enough time. The tenderloins were cooked and still juicy.
Lesson Learned 5 – Be careful how much oil you use: I cooked this in a well seasoned cast iron skillet so I only used about a tablespoon of garlic infused olive oil. You can use two tablespoons of oil or a combination of one tablespoon oil and one tablespoon butter but if you do, measure it and don’t eyeball it. You don’t want the end result to be greasy and if you’re not careful that’s what will happen. Less is more where the oil is concerned in this recipe.
This is a great recipe for a quick meal that tastes special. Try it and let me know what you think!
BALSAMIC CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES…
1 Packet Italian Dressing Mix (make according to directions on the packet)
3 Tbsp. good balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs. honey
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
1 – 2 Tbs. olive oil (no more than 2)
1/4 cup shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 chicken tenderloins
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, left whole
1 cup shredded carrots, optional (see lessons learned above)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large prepare the salad dressing mix according to the instructions on the packet. Add the balsamic vinegar, honey and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
Heat oil in (preferably) a large cast iron skillet. Pat chicken tenderloins dry with a paper towel. Season one side with salt and pepper. Place the tenderloins seasoned side down in the heated oil. Season the other side of the tenderloins. Cook for three to four minutes on each side. Remove the tenderloins from the pan and cover them with foil to keep them warm.
Add the shallots and garlic to the pan. Cook for only a minute. Add half the salad dressing mixture to the pan. Add the asparagus and tomatoes. Cook for about 3 minutes or just until you see slightly cracking on the skins of the tomatoes.
Remove the veggies from the pan and cover them to keep them warm. Add the remaining salad dressing mix and cook stirring constantly until the liquid begins to reduce and thicken. Turn down the heat and the chicken and veggies back into the skillet. Cook for another two minutes. Serve immediately.