When it comes to feeding fussy eaters, Clare Johnston has form. Here, she shares a simple oven-bake recipe that has become a star performer in her weekly repertoire.
Finding a collection of dishes my whole family will eat has been my own personal Krypton Factor running for well over a decade.
My boys are now teenagers which helps because their need for calories often exceeds the pickiness that used to have them turning their noses up at any newcomer to the dinner table. All parents know the drill – textures, colours, smells, it doesn’t take much to throw them.
For those who work, time is also against us, so you face the double challenge of coming up with something everyone likes (or tolerates) that involves minimal preparation. Throw in that nagging need for it to be nutritious and you have a recipe for a headache.
Well, I’m hopeful this balsamic baked chicken dish will soon take place among the list of old faithfuls that you turn to on a regular basis.
Its strength is its simplicity, and the sweet tanginess of the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Adding a teaspoon of sugar takes any sharpness away and helps make it a hit with younger ones, too.
And as far as preparation goes, you are literally just placing ingredients into a dish to be baked in the oven, and boiling some pasta to go along with it. That’s how easy this is to make.
You can adapt to taste by adding in extra veg from the ‘approved list’ – my kids tolerate sliced carrot in there which works well.
Adding mozzarella slices near the end helps lock in moisture and creaminess so that the final result is a really delicious evening meal that couldn’t be simpler to prepare.
Balsamic Baked Chicken
- 4 skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- Good pinch of salt and ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 red onion, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp golden caster sugar
- 2 x 125g packs fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced
- Handful of fresh chopped basil to garnish
- Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan)
- Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil before sprinkling the oregano, basil, salt and pepper over the top. Spread the red onion and tomato halves around the chicken in the dish.
- Mix together the balsamic vinegar, sugar and garlic in a bowl or jug then pour over the chicken breasts.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until no longer pink in the middle. Remove the dish from the oven and place your mozzarella slices over the top before returning to the heat and cooking until the cheese is melted and golden.
- Serve with your favourite pasta with the juices from the dish spooned over the top and finish with the chopped basil (if younger diners allow).