Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Mozzarella and Pesto

Yesterday morning I ventured to the DMV exactly when they opened, and sure enough there was already a line of 30-some people. It took me an hour and a half to get out of there but for the DMV that’s like speed dating. Afterwards, I was very tempted to play hookey because it was a gorgeously sunny mid-70 degree day. Somehow I managed to drive into lab anyway, only to convince the rest of my lab members to go somewhere we could sit outside for lunch. It felt good to check the DMV off my to-do list and then unwind outside for a bit. Don’t you wish you could pause life sometimes?

Unfortunately this story has zero to do with the chicken dish I am sharing with you today, I just felt the need to share.

Planning meals ahead of time is not a skill I have mastered. Which is why I was so excited to discover that not only does this chicken only have to marinate for an hour, but it actually cannot be marinated longer/overnight because the balsamic vinegar will start to break down the chicken. Perfect for the poor-planner like me! And to make things even better, with the addition of two other simple ingredients you end up with a pretty fancy looking plate of chicken. Fast, easy, flavorful AND pretty – I love it all.

Also, the brussels sprouts couscous posted yesterday was a perfect match for this chicken.

One year ago: Cheesy Chicken, Bacon & Avocado Quesadillas

GRILLED BALSAMIC CHICKEN WITH MOZZARELLA AND PESTO

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups balsamic vinegar

1 large ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into four thick slices

Pesto (homemade or store-bought)

Directions:

  1. Place chicken and one cup of balsamic vinegar in a large plastic bag. Seal bag tightly and place in fridge to marinate for one hour. (Don’t marinate this recipe overnight because over a long period of time, the acid in the vinegar may break down the chicken breast, forming a mushy texture.)
  2. Place the other cup of balsamic vinegar in a small pot on the stove and bring to simmer. Continue simmering for about 15 minutes, until vinegar has reduced and is thick like syrup. Take off stove and let cool while you cook the chicken breasts.
  3. After chicken breasts have finished marinating, preheat grill (or prepare grill pan on the stove). Grill chicken breasts until cooked through, about eight minutes per side. Remove chicken and place on a plate.
  4. Turn broiler on high and place one slice of mozzarella on each chicken breast. Place chicken breasts on a foil-covered sheet tray and broil for three-four minutes until cheese melts.
  5. Top each chicken breast with a dollop of pesto and drizzle balsamic reduction over top.

Source: PBS by Jenna of Eat, Live, Run.

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