Well, I guess chicken and sun dried tomatoes with melty cheese with balsamic drizzle and fresh basil served with a mile-high stack of golden crispy little potato smashers is at least a step in the right direction, right?
These are trying times, and cooking dinner feels, well, maybe to you it feels easy? But to me it feels like it requires monumental effort, physically and mentally and dishes-ly. Easy, minimal, and delicious is the three-way target I’m looking to land on.
Let me give you a brain break. Let me show you a cheat code. Let me present an idea that feels about 10x more fancy than it actually is.
It is called caprese chicken with smashed potatoes.
Here’s how you make it:
You sauté chicken. You top it with sundried tomatoes and cheese and put it in the oven. You garnish it. The end.
For the overachievers among us, or honestly, the people who kind of cannot stop with golden crispy potatoes (PRESENT), I would like to suggest the second most trickster thing in this post after the fake-fancy chicken which is SMASHED POTATOES.
Ideally these work best with the tiny potatoes that can be contained once smashed. But I understand, these are weird times, you might not have tiny potatoes on hand.
In which case I would suggest the exact same method with regular potatoes – with just slightly slower expectations for how they will look. Larger potatoes just want to fall apart a bit more. But does a hungry, tired, semi-moody person care about “falling apart a little bit”, or do they only care about the golden brown salty crispy part? I will leave you to decide as I eat the falling apart remnants of my golden salty crispy potatoes off the baking sheet.
Round out the experience, please. Pour yourself a nice drink in a pretty glass – anything from sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon to a proper glass of red wine – because THE LITTLE THINGS ARE THE BIG THINGS. Always, and especially right now. Let’s make a moment out of this.
Caprese chicken and smashed potatoes and fake-fancy dinner… here you have it. A little pep for your step.
For the Smashed Potatoes:
- 10–12 small red or gold potatoes
- olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper
- fresh parsley or chives
- lemon juice
For the Chicken:
- 1 lb. chicken breasts (I like to cut 2 breasts lengthwise into thinner pieces to make a total of 4 pieces)
- olive oil, salt, and pepper
- 6-ish roasted or sun dried tomatoes
- 2 ounces havarti cheese, in small slices (any cheese works – be flexible)
- fresh basil
- balsamic reduction (see notes)
- Cooking the Potatoes: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover potatoes with water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, set timer for 10 minutes. Remove, drain, and allow to cool slightly.
- Smashing the Potatoes: One at a time, cover the potatoes with a clean dish towel. Mash gently it with your hand, holding it together so it doesn’t fall apart completely. Transfer to a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
- Cooking the Chicken: In an oven-safe skillet, heat a little oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Brown on both sides (but it doesn’t have to be cooked through). Top with the sun dried tomatoes and cheese slices. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and cheese is nice and melty.
- Serve: Top the chicken with basil and balsamic reduction. Serve with potatoes. Don’t forget your fancy drink BECAUSE YOU JUST MADE A MOMENT. Yum!
The balsamic reduction can be made by simmering about a cup of balsamic vinegar over medium heat in a small saucepan. When the liquid has reduced significantly and coats the back of a spoon, you can remove it from the heat. Voila! Balsamic drizzle for ya.