Tonight was another “hmmm … what’s in the fridge?” kinda dinner. Chicken, asparagus and goat cheese are pretty much a given any day of the week because they’re perpetually on the grocery list. So, I decided to wrap ’em all up. Haven’t had chicken-wrapped anything in a while (the bacon comes into play later).
So, first step, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Then, pull out your trusty meat tenderizer/mallet. Or, as I do, your trusty borrowed hammer, which has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Place chicken breasts in a plastic baggie or under some plastic wrap. Pound the chicken thin enough to wrap — but not too thin or else it will break apart when you roll it up around the goodness inside.
Note about the chicken breasts: I prefer to buy Tyson Natural IQF Chicken Breast Tenderloins because, honestly, touching raw meat gives me a serious case of the heebie jeebies. And these are already trimmed and ready to go.
Place flattened chicken breasts on a nonstick-sprayed cookie sheet. Another note: I always cover my pans in tinfoil because it’s way less messy that way.
Then, you can basically place whatever you’d like on top of the chicken breasts, leaving enough room at the edges to wrap the chicken. As is obvious by the name of the recipe, I chose goat cheese and asparagus. I also ground some Italian herbs on there for some added flavor.
Enter the bacon: As I was putting away the goat cheese, I saw one lonely leftover piece of bacon. Not one to let someone feel lonely for long, I decided to slice it in half lengthwise and wrap it around the chicken breast bundles before I put them in the oven. So, around and around the bacon went. Place a toothpick through the chicken breasts to keep them closed as they cook. Note: I’ve refallen in love with bacon since finding a store that specializes in locally raised meat products and has nitrite-free bacon.
While the chicken was cooking, I happened to glance up and catch a peek of my multiple bottles of balsamic vinegar. And I was like, “Hmm … wonder what I could do with that … “ Um, hello?! Balsamic reduction anyone? So I Googled how to make a balsamic reduction. Turns out it’s super duper easy. (I’m sure you all already knew that, though.) Only problem: I didn’t have enough of any one kind of balsamic vinegar to make my reduction. So, I combined regular balsamic, coconut-infused balsamic and grapefruit-infused balsamic. It smelled divine as it was cooking, so I knew it would taste delicious.
Here’s how you do it: Pour vinegar into a saucepan. You’re going to want about twice as much vinegar as you’ll need for the reduction because, well, it reduces. Put the pan on a warm burner and continually stir with a whisk as it comes to a boil. Keep at a boil and whisk away until the vinegar becomes syrupy. Once it’s at the desired consistency, remove from heat. Be careful, as it apparently burns easily.
Serve with the side dish of your choice. They’d be good on rice or with quinoa. I’m having mine on a bed of baby spinach with a nice, tall glass of ice water.
And to think … I used to just eat cereal for dinner because I thought cooking for one was a waste of time and energy. Boy was I wrong!