Chicken Bruschetta with Mozzarella Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar
I cook chicken fairly often. It’s a favorite of two of my daughters (the vegetarian has little use for it) and my husband and I like chicken just about any way it’s fixed. I’ve found that cooking chicken on a George Foreman Grill is about as effortless and healthy as it gets. Best of all, the chicken is juicy and perfectly cooked each and every time.
You can, of course, change the flavor of the chicken (and even its nationality) with different marinades, seasonings, cheeses, and toppings. During the summer, when our garden is getting its splendor on, I use tomatoes, peppers, fresh herbs, and onions on a daily basis. When it comes to Chicken Night, this kicks things up to a whole new level. There are endless ideas for cooking chicken if you experiment with ingredients.
Bruschetta Chicken with Mozzarella and Balsamic Vinegar
4 Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless)
MARINADE: DRY INGREDIENTS
1 TBS Garlic salt
1 TBS onion powder
1 TBS white sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried basil
Combine the dry ingredients. Of course, you can add other seasonings if you desire – thyme, rosemary, parsley… Whenever I’m cooking, I usually have two or three (sometimes even one) primary flavor that I want to shine through. In this meal, I focus on the balsamic vinegar and basil – with the mozzarella chiming in. If there’s another herb you’d rather spotlight, go for it! Thyme and rosemary are also wonderful co-stars for chicken and mozzarella.
MARINADE: WET INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2/2 cup olive oil
2 TBS water
Combine the wet marinade ingredients and 2 TBS of the dry ingredients. You’ll have some left over which you can use again (on chicken, fish, eggs…).
Pour the marinade over the chicken, either in a bowl where you’re certain everything’s covered or you can do as I do: Use a large ziploc bag. You’ll want the chicken to marinade for about an hour. Be sure to reposition the pieces several times to make sure everything’s getting a chance to bathe in the flavors.
While the chicken’s marinating, make your Bruschetta.
2 firm tomatoes, diced (Roma Tomatoes are the Jillian Michael’s of the tomato world… firm, much?… so go with them if possible)
1/2 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped (Not too tiny, it looks extra impressive when it’s coarser)
3 cloves garlic minced – fresh garlic, jarred garlic is a no-no (Use more or less garlic, your choice)
1 TBS olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/4 of a red onion, minced (some people love onion in their Bruschetta, other’s think it’s a crime against humanity – last night, I took my chances with the law and added some red onion – my defense? I love the color)
Combine all of the Bruschetta ingredients.
Fire Up the Grill or the Oven!
After the chicken has soaked up all the marinade goodness for at least an hour, it’s time to Get Cooking! Heat your George Foreman Grill (or outdoor grill). Cooking times vary greatly, so keep a close eye on everything. If you’re using a George Foreman Grill (or other indoor grill), check the cooking chart that’s included. For boneless chicken breasts, the time is usually between 11 and 13 minutes. Outdoor, or stovetop grills, usually take about 7 minutes each side.
I use fresh Mozzarella balls when cooking and/or making snacks. The taste is beyond comparison – so fresh and delicious. It’s Heavenly sliced on top of pizza in place of Parmesan or shredded mozzarella.
Slice the cheese ball and lay slices on top of the chicken. Most cooks say to remove the chicken from the heat, then add the mozzarella cheese, but… ever the odd duck… I put my cheese on the chicken during the last 1/2 or full minute of cooking. I want it to really melt down into the chicken breasts.
Optional, but delectable: On a platter, drizzle a little Balsamic Vinegar, then place the chicken breasts on the platter. Top each with a little Bruschetta. As I said before, I really want the Balsamic Vinegar to be front and center, so I even drizzle a little more on top of the whole production before placing it on the table. Well, yes, I am obsessed with Balsamic vinegar, how could you tell?
How About Pico de Gallo Chicken?
Here’s something pretty cool: You can change this chicken’s nationality simply by switching up a few things. When I’m making Pico de Gallo Chicken, I follow the above steps except…
- I coat the chicken breasts with olive oil, then season them with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder before grilling.
- During the last minute of cooking, I place thinly sliced provolone or Monterrey Jack cheese on each breast.
- I re-work the Bruschetta mixture by substituting cilantro for the basil. I either use a sweet onion or a red onion, whichever one I have on hand. I also add a little lime juice to the Pico de Gallo mixture.
Needless to say, the Balsamic vinegar stays in the pantry when I’m making Pico de Gallo Chicken.
Want to cheat BIG TIME?! Simply grill the chicken as directed, add the cheese of your choice, and top each chicken breast with store-bought picante sauce. Pace is excellent!
Vegetarians: Use Imitation”Chicken Patties” to make delicious recipes like the ones above. Don’t marinade, however, it’ll only break your heart. Grill your chicken-friendly patties, then top with cheese and the tomato mixture of your choice.