honey balsamic baked chicken

While I was always in a quest for good leftover meals, this challenge means even more to me now. I love things that are seemingly well balanced meals and re-heat in 90 seconds. I don't get home until after 7:30 and there is no sense in even imagining a world where I'm cooking a meal then. Waste of imagination.

I'm not quite sure what I searched for to find this recipe but I was happy that I did. It was the perfect recipe for an easy dinner that tasted great, limited active prep, and was still good 3 days later. Granted the balsamic glaze was not "as amazing" as night one, but beggars can't be choosers. Or shall I say, commuters can't be choosers. 

The recipe does call for a minimum of 2 hr marinating time. I'm not sure honestly why it has to be that way but it was fine for me. You could do it the night before and be even smarter. I used my 2 hours to knock a few things off my to-do list, practice a little home yoga, and take a shower. By the time I was sitting down to eat, I was completely ready for the week. I felt like a champion. I'm not even exaggerating.

A few notes:
  • THIN CHICKEN BREASTS // I am really insecure about cooking protein - especially chicken. I use thin chicken breasts because not only do I like the portion sizes, but I feel like it is easier to cook. Chicken breasts are varying degrees of thickness - where as the thin-cut breasts are much more predictable. Plus, they cook faster.
  • GLAZE // I didn't have any cornstarch to thicken the glaze so I just used a bit of flour. This worked fine and I would do this again - but not as ideal. Whichever option you use, add the flour/cornstarch slowly so as to gauge how thick it gets. I think my glaze was just a tad thick. Also, the glazing liquid has the chopped garlic and scallion in there. Without breaking a sweat, try to dice the garlic very small. It's not a big deal but this will make the glaze a bit more smooth.
  • RICE // I can't say enough amazing things about having a rice cooker. I made a little extra rice than I needed for an extra meal. I followed the same process that I did for this meal and added a little chicken stock.
Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) In a large sealable bag, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, honey, olive oil, minced garlic, ground ginger, and chopped scallions. Add the chicken, seal the bag, and then move the chicken around in the bag until it's thoroughly coated. Place the chicken in the fridge to marinate overnight or for a minimum of 2 hours.

(Step 2) When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF with the rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with foil - or use a throwaway foil pan. I did - and it was amazing. No clean-up.

(Step 3) Remove the chicken from the bag and reserve the marinade. Shake off any excess marinade from the chicken and arrange them on the baking sheet. Bake the chicken for 35 minutes - or until it is no longer pink in the middle when cut.

(Step 4) While the chicken is cooking, transfer the marinade to a medium saucepan.
Whisk together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water. Bring the marinade to a boil then whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue boiling the marinade, whisking intermittently, until it thickens to the consistency of syrup, about 5 minutes. (The glaze must come to a boil to get rid of any potential bacteria from the raw chicken.) Remove the glaze from the stove and set it aside.

(Step 5) Remove the cooked chicken from the oven. Serve it over white rice with some gently tossed greens. Drizzle the glaze over the chicken and rice and serve.
Shopping List (based on this original recipe)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons chopped scallions
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 thin cut chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

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