Caprese Baked Chicken

You may be familiar with the simple Italian salad, Caprese salad. It is a delicious arrangement of fresh sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, and sweet basil, seasoned with salt and olive oil. Perfect for a hot summer lunch or dinner on the back porch. But those flavors work well together in other recipes, too.

The simplicity of this recipe is reason enough to try it, but I’m convinced you’ll enjoy the combination of flavors with your basic baked chicken. The name brands shown are the ones I picked up in Walmart; this is not a paid advertisement. Feel free to sub brands for your favorite, or make a pesto from scratch (you overachiever).

IMG_4639.jpg

All you need to pull off the caprese baked chicken is several boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced mozzarella, basil pesto, and fresh tomato.

I added the quinoa to the photo because it compliments the flavors in the chicken, plus it is a new find at the grocery store that got me excited.

When purchasing a chicken breast, I prefer to go with the thinly sliced. It is immediate portion control, and it cooks faster. Win-Win! You can certainly use a thicker chicken breast, note that the cooking time will be longer.

Get this party started by arranging your chicken in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

IMG_4642.jpg

Be mindful of your portion size of pesto. It is typically an olive oil based product, meaning it can be high in fat in small amounts. On the label of this basil pesto, it showed 1/4 cup equaled 35 grams of fat. Oh my!

I used about a tablespoon per chicken breast. The good news is that once the baking starts, a majority will cook off and to the sides becoming more of a flavoring agent, and not a caked on fat.

IMG_4644.jpg

After you slather on the pesto, it’s time to add the fresh mozzarella. Buying your mozzarella already pre-sliced will come in handy. If not, you will need to slice it. I assume you could use shredded mozzarella the same, sprinkle enough on to cover the chicken.

IMG_4646.jpg

Finally, slice a-good-ole Mississippi tomato and add it to the top of each chicken breast.

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.

Bake for 17-22 minutes for thinly sliced chicken breast.

You may need to bake for 25-30 if you opt for a thicker chicken breast.

Your chicken is ready when it reaches an internal temp of 165F.

IMG_4649.jpg

Look how melty and amazing!

See, don’t fret over the fat content.

Most of it will melt off and away, leaving juicy and delicious chicken.

The tomato isn’t just for looks. It is quite tasty!

Pair it with a whole grain, over pasta, or on toasted bread.

Below, this meal rates right with a protein, carbohydrate, vegetable, dairy, and healthy fat!

IMG_4657.jpg
Rebecca Turner