Mmmm flavas. So many flavas.
Perfectly seasoned, juicy chicken; tangy, rich, creamy tomato sauce; salty, bright capers. So much yumminess.
You know what’s awesome?? Baking chicken. You would really think that someone who is as obsessed with cooking as I am would have discovered this awesome technique earlier in life, but NO. I have baked whole chickens before, but never just chicken breasts. Well, when I made these and these, I realized more and more how wonderful baking chicken can be! I always just seared it in a pan…#rookie.
I find that it is quite challenging to end with a well-cooked piece of chicken using a pan. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s just okay, but usually mine just turn out pretty dry. But, when you bake the chicken, it comes out nice and juicy and wonderful!
Throw the chicken into a simple but flavorful tomato cream sauce with a few tablespoons of capers, and you just have a happy evening in front of you!
Don’t you just love crazy simple meals like this? Pop some chicken in the oven, simmer a few things in a pan, and BAM – you have a super delicious dinner in front of you. It is just so satisfying when something tastes like it took much more work than it did.
The secret to this recipe is adding layers of flavor and complexity to your sauce. The layers:
- Start with simmering some onion, garlic, and chopped fresh thyme. You already have a winner with this magical trio.
- Add your tomato sauce…simmer for ten minutes while your chicken bakes in the oven, letting all those flavors marry together and fragrance your kitchen with happiness. The smell of onions and garlic simmering = the cologne of angels.
- Turn your heat off and stir in your half and half….this is totally the best part. It is so fun to watch the cream mix with the tomato sauce and become a nice pink color (it looks more pink in real life than it does in the pictures). Tomatoes are very acidic, so the richness of the cream really adds a nice element, making the sauce more complex and delicious.
- Capers! Do you like capers? They are strange little guys! Sometimes I like them and sometimes I don’t. I really like them in this, though! They add that last note of flavor and texture making this dish unique and different.
Goodbye boring chicken! Hello tomatoes and cream and capers and love.
So, this week has been really weird (but in a good way). As you all know if you have read my last few posts, I was sick with HORRIBLE food poisoning from Wednesday night all the way through Sunday (THANKS QDOBA). The worst of it was over by Saturday morning, but I still didn’t feel well enough by any means to walk around a grocery store for an hour and then come home to cook all day.
But, I have been REALLY bad for the last few months about consistently posting three times a week. In fact, I think it’s been July since I have successfully pushed out twelve posts in a month. So a big goal of mine for February was to get three recipes out every single week and hit that twelve mark by the end of the month. Since I couldn’t cook this weekend, I was thinking I would have zero recipes to post this week (goal over so soon…faaaiiillll).
But Monday came around, and it has been getting darker a little later at night here (5:30/6:00 rather than 4:30), so I decided to go for it and make something when I got home from work. So I left work, drove to the grocery store, bought groceries for ONE meal, went home, cooked ONE meal, and photographed ONE meal. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. Only doing all those things for one meal instead of four/five like I usually do on weekends was so relaxing and chill and awesome. Sometimes having a food blog can make cooking feel like work rather than fun (especially when you have another full time job), but it hasn’t felt that way at all this week since it’s just been one recipe at a time.
So yesterday I did the same thing with this baked chicken. I really, really, really like doing it this way instead of shoving all my cooking into a weekend. There are potential issues with this of course. If a recipe doesn’t work out, I just can’t post that day. If the weather is bad, I just can’t post that day. So there are cons for sure.
Another good thing about it – you just cook whatever sounds good to you that day! You run no risk of picking your meals days before and then when the time comes around to cook everything, some of it just doesn’t sound as good to you anymore. Does this happen to anyone else? Yes? No? Am I weird?
It has just been a good week all around. With deployments, you have good days and bad days. You have good weeks and bad weeks. Sometimes you feel like you can finish this deployment off like a pro and tackle a few more in the years to come. Sometimes you feel like you need out of the Army PRONTO. This has been one of the good weeks!
I hope you are all having wonderful weeks as well!! See you on Friday!
- 3 chicken breasts
- 1½ tablespoons butter
- ½ onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (strip the leaves off the woody stems)
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- ¼ cup half and half
- 1-2 tablespoons capers, drained (I used 2, but use less according to preference!)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Season both sides of all three chicken breasts with salt and pepper
- Place the chicken on the parchment paper and place two pats of butter on top of each breast (each "pat" should be about ½ tablespoon). Bake the chicken in the oven for 10 minutes
- Remove the chicken, flip, and bake for another 10 minutes (or until just cooked through)
- Meanwhile, make your sauce
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute your onions, garlic, and thyme in a little olive oil until the onions have softened a bit. Season with salt and pepper
- Add your tomato sauce, stir, and simmer for 10 minutes
- Turn off the heat and stir in your half and half
- Season to taste with salt and pepper
- Stir in your capers
- When your chicken is done baking, nestle it into your sauce and serve!
*This recipe is gluten free*
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more yummy chicken recipes? Check these out: