What's For Dinner: Rosemary Chicken Breasts with Wild Rice and Caprese Salad

Chicken breasts were standard fare when I was growing up -- "chicken with snot" was my nickname for the soup-covered chicken breast entree that had a starring role in many a weeknight dinner. Amazingly, I'm pretty sure that this is the first time that I've cooked chicken breasts on my own. And, full disclosure, it didn't go all that well -- but D helped me salvage the meal. Let's just say that Rachael Ray's instructions to cook the breasts on the stovetop didn't quite work out, but baking them in the oven did rectify my almost-disaster. And a glass of wine in between did wonders to my psyche. (Thank you, Lindeman's 2009 shiraz!) Our chicken breasts were served alongside a caprese salad (made with an ohmygawd so good!! heirloom tomato from Whole Foods) and some wild rice. All in all, it was a good learning experience, and I'm hoping that next time I'll have a little more confidence when cooking chicken!

For the meat itself, I opted to purchase organic boneless and skinless chicken breasts from the Whole Foods butcher. Whole Foods' standards for raising poultry include no antibiotics, no animal byproducts in the feed, no beak trimming, and appropriate litter for comfort and natural foraging. (Read more about Whole Foods' Farm Animal and Meat Quality Standards here.) In addition, animals are raised humanely and "processed with a measure of compassion." Though I still have some qualms about slaughtering (I think purchasing straight from a well-researched farm would be the best), I do feel a lot better purchasing this chicken rather than one raised under factory-farm conditions. And to be honest, when my initial attempts at cooking the chicken breasts seemed to be heading toward failure, I was most concerned that my chicken had died for naught, rather than that I would possibly have ruined dinner for myself and D. A little hippy-dippy? Maybe, but that's my perspective when it comes to eating as a conscientious omnivore!

Rosemary Chicken Breasts (printer-friendly version)
makes 2 servings

2 8 oz organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
fine sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pressed garlic clove.
3. Set the chicken breasts on a plate.
4. Brush each chicken breast with the olive oil mixture. Cover both sides thoroughly.
5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Sprinkle both chicken breasts with the chopped rosemary.
7. Place in the fridge and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

{marinating chicken breasts}

8. Place both chicken breasts in a glass baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
9. Bake in the oven for at least 30-35 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature has reached 170 degrees.
10. Remove from the oven and let rest for a couple minutes, then serve.