Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tomato and Basil Chicken with Pan Sauce

I should really start off by saying, that when cooking, especially if you've done it for a while, you should always follow your gut. I personally hate cooking chicken breasts in a pan because I feel like they never cook evenly, take forever, and generally make my mood incredibly sour. I don't enjoy the dish because I'm so concerned the center of the breast isn't cooked. And if I'm not going to enjoy the food I made, what is the point of cooking? Right? Right. Ok, so now that my little rant is out of the way, I should say that I ignored my gut. Shame on me. I know. The recipe suggested you cut the chicken breasts in half to cook them. I did, but my breasts were massive (don't I wish! har har. sorry bad joke). Usually, I slice the breasts into tenders to make sure they cook fast and next time I definitely will. Had I done so last time, the recipe would have gone crazy fast. It didn't, I swore a lot, it wasn't pretty. So if you choose to make this dish, which I do really recommend, slice up those breasts! (hee hee).

Tomato and Basil Chicken with Pan Sauce
recipe from here

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (I used a bit more and left out the parsley)
A handful or two of grape tomatoes, cut in half
4 ounces cream cheese, regular or light
3/4 cup chicken stock or broth
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

I started by sprinkling each piece of chicken with salt and pepper. Then turn them over on flour to get a bit of a coating. Heat up the vegetable oil and when it's hot, add the chicken. The original recipe said to cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side. If I had done tenders that would have been great.
See how the flour contributes to a nice golden brown?
When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and cover on a plate. DO NOT RINSE THE PAN. Add the chicken broth, cream cheese and garlic powder. At first the cream cheese will look nasty and clumpy. Be patient.
Once all the cream cheese is melted and you let the sauce simmer for a few minutes, it thickens really nicely.
I added the sliced tomatoes and the chopped basil, let them warm for a few minutes, and then added the chicken. I reserved a few tomatoes and some fresh basil for the top. Turn the chicken over a few times so each piece is coated in sauce.
Serve each helping of chicken with some sauce and tomatoes.

But wait! I'm not done! We also had two sweet potatoes in the fridge that I wanted to use up, so I decided to make some sweet potato fries! I looked at a few recipes and then cobbled my own recipe together. Basically you need a bunch of spices and olive oil. Very simple.

I started by slicing my potatoes into fry-like thickness.
Toss with about 1/2-1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Dump a bunch of spices in there. I used Old Bay, garlic powder, salt, pepper and a steak rub (which had rosemary, some cumin, etc.). Basically anything that smells nice together.
This part of the recipe was a learning experience for me. First, use a very large skillet. My (or rather fiance's) very large skillet was occupied with chicken. Heat up a little more olive oil and lay out the fries. Cook for a few minutes (covered). Flip them over and cook for a few minutes, covered this time too. Remove the cover and cook both sides again to crisp up. I used the cover the whole time and mine were a bit squishy. Still delicious, but not super crunchy. Also, because my pan was small, I had trouble flipping, so some of the fries were a bit burnt.

Anyway, it was a pretty successful meal once we sat down to the table. I'd encourage you to try both parts! Enjoy!


  1. The sweet potato fries were the star of this dish. I would recommend making them to go along with practically anything -- they're delicious and don't require deep frying or anything else particularly crazy.

    As for the main chicken dish, I thought it was very tasty but also fairly heavy (as you may be able to tell from the recipe). I really liked it and would definitely have it again, but you have to really love cheese since the entire dish takes on that cheesy flavor. Personally, I think pan-frying chicken is easy. If I had been around, I would have handled those breasts just right (sorry, had to).

    1. Naughty! But you are totally right. Sweet potato fries for the win.


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