I love balsamic vinegar so I made a quick marinade for the chicken with it. I also mixed some into the tomato topping for extra zing. The tomato topping is a lot like my favorite pico de gallo recipe except with a more Italian flare. I garnished with some fresh parsley for the photos, but it's not needed for flavor. If you have fresh basil, on the other hand, that would knock this recipe right out of the ballpark. Oregano would also be amazing. You can play with it!
I chose shredded mozzarella cheese here strictly for budget reasons. I bought a large 2 lb. bag of shredded mozz and then divided it up into 8 oz. bags and froze three of them. Shredded cheese freezes extremely well. If I wasn't concerned about the budget of this recipe, I would have used either fresh mozzarella or goat cheese. Again, there are many many options!
I was lucky enough to find roma tomatoes on sale for $0.50/lb so I grabbed them up quickly. You can use any type of tomato here, just make sure they're fresh and flavorful. The tomato is a major flavor player in this recipe!
Total Recipe cost: $6.75
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Cost per serving: $1.69
Prep time: 20 min. Cook time: 15 min. Total: 35 min.
|2 large||chicken breasts||$3.02|
|1/4 cup||balsamic vinegar||$0.80|
|1/2 Tbsp||olive oil||$0.06|
|1/4 tsp||minced garlic||$0.06|
|a pinch||salt & pepper||$0.05|
|4 medium||roma tomatoes||$0.93|
|1/2 medium||sweet onion (vidalia)||$0.37|
|1 tsp||minced garlic||$0.07|
|2 Tbsp||balsamic vinegar||$0.40|
|1 Tbsp||olive oil||$0.11|
|to taste||salt & pepper||$0.05|
|1 cup||shredded mozzarella||$0.87|
STEP 1: Trim the excess fat from the chicken breasts and cut each piece into two. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and pound the pieces down to one inch in thickness (use a rolling pin or heavy pan to pound).
STEP 2: Place the chicken pieces in a container or zip top bag along with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp minced garlic (or one clove if using fresh), and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything around to make sure the chicken is coated in the marinade. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
STEP 3: Prepare the bruschetta topping. Finely dice the onion and tomatoes. Combine them in a bowl with the minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Stir well, taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking (I like generous salt in this mix, about 1/2 tsp).
STEP 4: Grill the chicken until cooked through (I used my countertop grill, it only took 5 minutes). Turn the oven on to broil and adjust the rack so that is about 6 inches below the heating element.
STEP 5: Place the grilled chicken pieces on a baking sheet covered with foil. Top each piece of chicken with about 1/4 cup of the tomato bruschetta topping and about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. It's okay if some falls off, you can scoop it onto your plate along with the chicken. Place the baking sheet in the oven under the broiler. Cook just until the cheese is fully melted (5-10 minutes). Serve hot!
Step By Step Photos
Buying larger packs of chicken will always save you money. I usually buy about 5 lbs at a time. I split the pack up into individual bags as soon as I get home and freeze whatever I don't use that day.
I only wanted to make four servings so I used two chicken breasts.
Trim off the excess fat (don't stress over this, just remove the big chunks) and then cut each piece in two.
Place a piece of plastic wrap over the chicken and use something heavy to pound it down to a one inch thickness. The plastic wrap keeps things clean and prevents splatter. Pounding it out makes the pieces larger, which makes more surface area for the marinade, makes it cook faster, and makes a flat surface for the topping to rest on.
Place the chicken in a bag along with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Squish it all around to make sure everything is mixed and coating the chicken. Let that marinate in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest.
I kept my tomato topping simple: tomato, onion, garlic. You can add fresh or dried herbs if you want more flavor.
Cut the tomato and onion into a small dice. Stir them together in a bowl along with the minced garlic.
Add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste. You can also add any herbs at this point (basil or oregano would be awesome).
Grill the chicken until cooked through. I love my little George Foreman grill because it's quick and easy.
Turn the oven on to broil. Place the grilled chicken on a baking sheet covered in foil. Top with the tomato mixture and shredded cheese. Add a generous amount of each. It's okay if it falls off because this can still be served along side the chicken.
Cook under the broiler (a few inches from the heating element) just until the cheese is melted. This should take about 5-10 minutes depending on how hot your broiler is and how close you have the rack to the heating element. Just keep an eye on it!
Serve while the cheese is still melted and the tomatoes are hot!
Serve this with some crusty bread and a green salad and you've got a stellar meal!