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Friday, February 1, 2013

Caramelized Garlic Chicken

If you're looking through a cookbook entitled "Quick and Easy," the recipes should be just that.  Betty Crocker's Quick and Easy Cookbook was actually a birthday present from my parents when I turned 22 and was moving into my first apartment in New York a week later.  I was new to my cooking passion and it was the perfect cookbook to get my feet wet, particularly for a working girl with long hours and a tight budget.  As my skills progressed and I amassed more recipes, I forgot about my starter cookbook.  A couple weekends ago, while I was trying to get out of a cooking funk, I pulled half my cookbooks off the shelf and poured over them for inspiration.  I forgot how many handy tips and tricks were in this one!  I marked several apps for future parties and found one chicken dish to make right away.

Cook 3 cloves of garlic in a skillet with butter on medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the garlic turns golden brown.  Then stir in 2 teaspoons of brown sugar until it's all melted - this is the caramelized part.  Sprinkle some salt over chicken breasts (I used the pounded thin ones so they would cook quickly) and add them to the pan. Cook about 3 minutes, turning once, until each side has turned white. Add a little water (about an 1/4 of a cup) and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, turning once, until the chicken is glazed and cooked through and the liquid has evaporated.  I knew I did it right when the chicken was golden brown.  The finishing touch: each chicken piece gets a basil leaf or two, a tomato slice, and a piece of havarti cheese.  Tip: Once you've topped the chicken with the basil, tomato, and cheese, put it on a foil lined cookie sheet and stick it in the broiler so the cheese gets nice and melty.

Since it doesn't really require any chopping and prepping, this dish takes about 20 minutes, start to finish.  However, because the garlic gets nice and sweet and really coats the chicken (especially when you use the thin cutlets), it tastes like something that's been roasting in the oven for much much longer.  Sure, it was simple, but it was yummy enough for me to immediately text my mom: "Wow oh wow was this caramelized garlic chicken good!  You must make it ASAP!"

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