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Caprese Chicken Casserole

Caprese Chicken Casserole: A Flavorful Twist on a Classic Dish

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Are you craving a delicious and satisfying meal that’s bursting with flavor? Look no further than Caprese Chicken Casserole! This mouthwatering dish combines tender chicken breasts with juicy grape tomatoes, fragrant garlic, tangy balsamic vinegar, and creamy mozzarella cheese, all topped off with fresh basil for a taste sensation that will leave you wanting more. Join us as we explore the ingredients, step-by-step instructions, cook notes, variations, and even keto and low-carb versions of this delightful casserole. Let’s get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Extra basil leaves for garnish

Instructions:

1. Preheat the Oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Season the Chicken:

  • Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Sear the Chicken:

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned chicken breasts and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

4. Prepare the Tomato Mixture:

  • In the same skillet, add the halved grape tomatoes and minced garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to soften.

5. Add the Balsamic Vinegar and Herbs:

  • Pour the balsamic vinegar over the tomato mixture in the skillet. Add the dried oregano and basil, and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until the vinegar has slightly reduced and the mixture is fragrant.

6. Assemble the Casserole:

  • Transfer the tomato mixture to the prepared baking dish. Place the seared chicken breasts on top of the tomato mixture in the baking dish.

7. Bake:

  • Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the chicken breasts and tomato mixture in the baking dish.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

8. Garnish and Serve:

  • Remove the casserole from the oven and garnish with chopped fresh basil leaves and extra basil leaves for garnish, if desired.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Fresh vs. Dried Herbs: While dried herbs are convenient, you can use fresh herbs for a burst of flavor. Simply double the amount of fresh herbs called for in the recipe.
  • Balsamic Glaze: For an extra touch of sweetness and flavor, drizzle balsamic glaze over the finished casserole before serving.
  • Vegetarian Option: Substitute the chicken with sliced eggplant or tofu for a vegetarian version of this casserole.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts? A: Yes, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for this recipe. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Q: Can I make this casserole ahead of time? A: Absolutely! You can assemble the casserole up to a day in advance and refrigerate it, covered, until ready to bake. Just be sure to increase the baking time slightly if baking the casserole straight from the refrigerator.

Q: Can I use fresh mozzarella instead of shredded mozzarella? A: Fresh mozzarella can be used, but it may release more liquid during baking. If using fresh mozzarella, be sure to drain it well before adding it to the casserole.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

Keto:

  • Higher Fat Content: Increase the fat content by using full-fat mozzarella cheese and adding slices of avocado on top before serving.

Low-Carb:

  • Reduce Tomatoes: Limit the amount of grape tomatoes to reduce the carb count. You can also replace some of the tomatoes with other low-carb vegetables such as bell peppers or zucchini.

Caprese Chicken Casserole is a delightful twist on the classic Caprese salad, combining all the delicious flavors of fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella with tender chicken breasts for a satisfying and flavorful meal. Whether you’re cooking for a weeknight dinner or entertaining guests, this casserole is sure to impress. With its simple ingredients and easy preparation, it’s a recipe that you’ll want to make again and again. Give it a try and enjoy a taste of Italy right in your own kitchen!

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