Sometimes the food we see in restaurants or pre-prepared at a grocery store looks much more complicated than they really are. Truthfully, it just takes that little boost of courage to get in the kitchen and start making things for yourself at home. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll soon realize how simple most dishes are to make. The rest is up to your own taste profile. You know what things taste like, right? Of course! If not, then try it. Taste everything.
After that, it’s just a matter of figuring out which flavors work together and which ones don’t. The most important thing is to trust in your palate. Don’t be afraid to test your boundaries. You might even surprise yourself (or someone else).
Such is the joy of cooking.
So for tonight, I decided to combine a couple of the other posts to demonstration how easy putting together a delicious dinner can be with some of the side recipes featured on This Guy’s blog.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Chicken breasts
- Oven (or sun) dried tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Granulated garlic
- Salt and pepper
(and a little bit of chicken stock)
Preheat the oven to 375 F
First, place the chicken breast between two pieces of clear wrap and carefully pound out until thin.
Repeat this process with the other chicken breast.
Season both sides with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
Distribute the tomatoes evenly over the pieces of chicken.
Next, fold each chicken breast in half and use toothpicks to hold the ends together.
Place them in a small baking dish with about half a cup of chicken stock and drizzle with olive oil.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
While the chicken is in the oven, make the creamy pesto.
Put the pesto in a small saucepan and add a little milk.
Turn the heat up to medium and stir continuously to reduce.
After about 10-15 minutes, the sauce should be noticeably thicker. Turn the heat down to low to keep warm while the chicken finishes cooking.
When 30 minutes is up, take the chicken out and carefully uncover.
To serve, cut the chicken and spoon the creamy pesto over the top.
This dish can easily be complimented with some roasted vegetables and a small side salad. If you want something a bit heavier, serve over a nice bed of angel hair pasta. Either way, this recipe is simply delicious. The tomatoes give the chicken a touch of sweetness with just the right amount of acidity. Also, cooking the chicken with stock richens the chicken flavor and covering the baking dish while in the oven keeps them nice and moist. And you can think of the creamy pesto as the “icing on the cake.”
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On a final note, I don’t always have everything figured out. Hell, I don’t think I ever will. But that doesn’t stop me from trying new things in the kitchen. Some of my favorite meals to date were figured out within minutes of the pan hitting the stove.
Realistically, it’s about having a variety of ingredients around you to kick your creativity in the right direction. Like I said before, you know what things taste like. More importantly, you know how you like things to taste. The next step is merely getting in the kitchen and doing it. The funny thing is, when you think about it, no matter what you come up with or how original you think a dish is…it’s most likely been done before. At least in one way or another. In fact, it’s probably been done a million different ways. But that in itself should take some of the pressure off. It doesn’t need to be someone else’s version of perfection…as long as you enjoyed it. And that’s just it. The thing to remember is that cooking at home is something to be enjoyed. It should be fun. So have fun with it!
Until next time, take care.
P.s. Pesto and sun-dried tomatoes can be bought at the store if you’re short on time, but if you are feeling up to it, here are the links to my posts on homemade pesto and oven dried tomatoes!