Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Quick and Easy Caprese Chicken

When I took my fun trip to Des Moines for Allrecipes in September we were given the chance to watch an episode of Allrecipes' Dinner Spinner TV show before it aired on TV (the episode we saw featured my friend and fellow Allstar Angela, you should check her out at Dancing With My Father and Salt et Lux - she is one incredibly talented lady!).  One of the things that caught my eye right off the bat when we were watching that first episode was that the contestants were using a kitchen appliance I'd never seen before- the Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven.

 I was intrigued.
Ok, so this thing is crazy guys.  It combines direct induction and instant double-infrared heating.
Science, guys.  I had to Google it.

So according to Wikipedia, "Induction cooking heats a cooking vessel by magnetic induction, instead of by thermal conduction from a flame, or an electrical heating element. Because inductive heating directly heats the vessel, very rapid increases in temperature can be achieved."

Also according to another article I found, double-infrared heating means that it uses "dual quartz and ceramic elements so it heats up fast."

Honestly, all I know is that this thing cooks unlike anything else I've ever come across.  Allrecipes and Panasonic were kind enough to send me my very own CIO to play with at home and it has been an absolute blast.

First of all, it cooks SUPER quickly.  I pretty much cut the cook time of any recipe I make in half.
Secondly, it cooks so many different ways- you can use the grill pan to grill meat beautifully.
You can use most of your normal bakeware inside of the pan and bake foods.
You can use the combo settings to cook veggies and meats simultaneously.

It's pretty awesome.

And you know how you can reheat pizza or frozen chicken nuggets or whatever in a microwave, but it's just not as good as in the oven?  But I'm often in a hurry and impatient and don't want to take the time to reheat stuff in the oven.
This solves that problem by quickly reheating and crisping too.
It's like the best of both worlds.

So after playing around with this oven for the past few months I'm obviously hooked.  This month Allrecipes asked some of my fellow Allstars and I to try out some of the Panasonic CIO recipes from Allrecipes and the first one I attempted was Caprese Chicken.

I'm always a sucker for those classic Caprese flavors of tomato, basil, mozzarella, and balsamic so I was definitely drawn to this recipe right off the bat- not to mention it fits fairly well into the low carb diet I've been on lately.

So easy!  The tomatoes and basil roast in the pan right around the chicken and cleanup is super easy.  Throw in some balsamic dressing and melty fresh mozzarella and you have yourself one tasty meal!

Don't have a CIO (yet)?  Have no fear!  While it doesn't come together as quickly and in one pan I have a very, very similar recipe I posted about three years ago too for you to try.  :-)  Enjoy!

1/2 C balsamic vinaigrette, divided
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch fresh basil chiffonade
1 (8 oz) package fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

1. Pour 1/4 C vinaigrette into a medium bowl, add chicken and stir to coat.  Arrange chicken evenly in the center of a grill pan in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Pour remaining 1/4 cup vinaigrette into a mixing bowl. Add tomatoes, toss to coat evenly with the dressing.

3. Spread the tomatoes evenly around chicken in a single layer.  Bake in the Panasonic® Countertop Induction Oven using the "Auto Cook" Poultry with Vegetables setting, about 10 minutes.  Add basil to tomatoes and top chicken with sliced mozzarella.  Continue to cook until juices run clear, about 8 more minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

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