Saturday, September 10, 2011

Balsamic Chicken with 3 Grain Risotto & Summer Squash Medley

I'm almost hesitant to say this in case someone has problems with this recipe, but my husband told me this was one of my best chicken dishes so far. And I had to agree that it was good. While digging for some olive oil in my pantry, I spotted the balsamic vinegar and threw it over the simmering chicken, while crossing my fingers. It ended up being delicious. You can have dinner ready in about 30 minutes with frozen chicken--you can make the sides simultaneously. I think the chicken may take a little less time if you use defrosted chicken instead of frozen.

We had the chicken with a summer squash saute and a Trader Joe's 3-Grain Blend Risotto (about $2.29) that I doctored up. If you are near a TJ's--try this! My aunt introduced me to it and I'm sold! You can cook this risotto in a separate pot on another burner next to the chicken.

Why I love this Trader Joe's 3 Grains Blend risotto:

1) It's healthier than white rice
2) It is creamy like risotto
3) It takes about half the time to cook
4) No continual stirring over the stove as with traditional risotto.

If you don't have a TJ's near you, try a multigrain pilaf from any grocery store. Or any starch you prefer.


Serves 4-6 (depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts)

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4-6 chicken breasts (I use 5 big frozen chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Scant 1/4 (or less) cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper, to taste (I tried a chardonnay scented coarse salt once & was bowled over)

Place all ingredients in a large (non-stick) skillet or frying/saute pan. Bring to a low boil and continue to cook for about 10 minutes. Flip the chicken and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to cook until most of the liquid evaporates and the chicken is cooked through (skim off any fat). This took about another 20 minutes for me with frozen chicken breasts. The chicken will be caramelized and brown when ready.

Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

3-Grain Blend Risotto with Olives & Tomato

Serves 4-6 (with leftovers)

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • ~1/3 cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1/4 tsp. dried parsley
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Trader Joe's 3-Grain Blend (rice, barley, spelt)
  • 2.5 cups of water or chicken broth (I used water)

Saute onion for a minute or two in olive oil. Add water and bring to a boil. Then add all the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Cook according to package directions--about 16 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.

Serve the risotto with the chicken. (We had leftovers of the risotto.)

Summer Squash Medley

Serves 4 as a side dish (may have leftovers)

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion or a couple shallots, diced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in ~1/3 inch rounds
  • 1 yellow summer squash,  sliced in ~1/3 inch rounds
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Salt & pepper, to taste.

Saute onion in olive oil until it is almost translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to saute until the zucchini is cooked through (only takes a few minutes--we like ours fork-tender).
To serve: Plate the chicken with the risotto and summer squash medley. Top with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and/or chopped fresh basil.

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