Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dinner Quickie 1 - Bacon BBQ Chicken Breast

Traditionally I would credit a website, chef, or cookbook at the top of my blog. This time around this is an invention my better half and I came up with on the fly when we were sick of the 'same ole, same ole' and didn't have the cash to eat out. So great job Suzi!

As you probably guessed by the name of my blog, I'm a dad. I love being a dad, really it's one of the highlights of my life. BUT (as all parents reading this know) with being a dad comes all sorts of stresses, responsibilities, and tight schedules I would have never conceived of as a younger man.

I know other parents read the above paragraph and nod their head in agreement. Such is the life of the modern American. Like other Americans one of the casualties of the war that is parenting many times is dinner. Sometimes it seems like there is just not enough time to work, pick up the kids, and get a decent dinner on table. Fortunately there are some short cuts you can take that won't sacrifice budget, time, or flavor. I am constantly on the prowl for such short cuts. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!!

For this recipe you will need:

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - Enough to feed your family
Thick Cut High Quality Bacon - Enough for two strips of bacon per chicken breast
Pre-made BBQ Sauce - Whatever is your favorite, I use Famous Dave's
Emeril's Original Essence Seasoning
Pre-Shredded Cheese - Whatever is your favorite, I used Sargento Mexican Shred

Tin Foil
9x13 Baking Pan
Non-Stick Frying Pan
Microwave (gasp!)
Plate Lined With Paper Towels

Before We Begin:
I love cooking. I love making things from scratch and learning new skills, I actually pride myself on that quality. I believe we as a society should get back in the kitchen more often and learn to make 'real food' the way our grandparents used to, because it's just that much better tasting, and better for you. BUT I work 50-60 hours a week. On average I don't get home until after a certain time of day. I help clean the house, I help with homework, blah blah blah. SO though this recipe may not require you to toast, grind, and mix spices or make home made BBQ sauce, it will taste pretty darn close. So don't "be hatin'".

Please pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

While the oven is heating up go ahead and get your tin foil and 'line' your baking pan with it. Basically just tear off a piece of foil longer than the pan, and push it down until it looks like the pan above.

Take your chicken and put it in the lined pan. Liberally sprinkle Emeril's Original Essence (or your favorite poultry seasoning or rub) on the chicken, and rub it in. Flip the chicken breasts, and repeat on the other side. I will note that I am not using any non-stick cooking spray, it's not necessary for oven baked chicken as it tends to be pretty juicy on it's own.

Once your oven hits 350 degrees put your chicken breasts in on the middle rack, for 30-45 minutes depending on your oven, barometric pressure, humidity, and the mood of the chicken. You are looking for the chicken to be cooked through, but not crispy crittered being as you're going to microwave this for a minute or two later on. Personally my oven usually takes 38 minutes for 6 chicken breasts.

While the chicken is in the oven let's turn our attention to the BACON.

I've always been a proponent of using higher quality bacon, which of course will hit you up for a higher price. BUT I have discovered recently at Kroger, Meijer, and a local grocer that the 'case bacon' (you know the bacon in the butcher's case you've been ignoring for years because "surely we can't afford that") IS ACTUALLY FREAKIN' CHEAPER THAN THE GOOD STUFF VACU-SEALED IN THE REFRIGERATED SECTION WITH THE REST OF THE BACON!!! BY UP TO A BUCK A POUND!!! So I've been using that lately.

Cooking bacon is not difficult though it can be rather harrowing on the pan with all the popping and splattering that can occur. To minimize smoking, splatter, and traumatizing experiences I recommend cooking with a flame no higher than the "medium" setting. Simply put the offending pig candy in the pan, brown one side until the bacon has reduced in size, flip, and repeat. When the bacon is done to your liking take it off and put it on a plate lined with paper towels. Now wait for your chicken to finish baking!

Tip: You can do this bacon a day or two before. Point of fact I've made this dish once using bacon I had made for a Sunday breakfast I cooked for the family and had left over.

Once the chicken is done take it out of the oven, and allow to rest for roughly five minutes.

Now all we left is assembly, which is a snap. Put the offending chicken on a plate, and cover with as much or as little BBQ sauce as your wish. Then put the bacon on top of the sauce, then cover with as much or little shredded cheese (mmm cheese) as you want. Microwave for 30-90 seconds, and you've completed this dish!

Other than the taste and ease of cooking, and assembly of this dish, the best part is this literally took 45 minutes from fridge to table. That's it. Even better the predominance of the time it takes to make this is oven time, so you have down time to clean or help with homework while it's doin' it's thang.

I will also say I've yet to see an unhappy face about this one. Picky eaters, not so picky eaters, and everything in between seem to love it.

I hope I've helped everyone reclaim dinner time for at least one night a week, and I hope everyone enjoys this easy and relatively cheap dish with their loved ones! Eat well everyone!

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