Bruschetta meet caprese. You’re about to be dinner. These Cheesy Chicken Bruschetta Bread Boats are packed with flavor and ready in 30 minutes.
They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but I say hell hath no fury like a woman who discovers her lovingly planted and watered tomato plant has disappeared.
Just a few days ago, I was out watering my garden when I noticed something seemed a little off. I carefully surveyed my tiny 4 x 8 foot space. The peppers were there, the jalapeno was flourishing, and the strawberries had claimed far more space than they had a right to. But the tomatoes…something wasn’t right. And then I realized one of my plants was gone. I rushed to the scene, searching for evidence. There were no paw prints, no disturbances, not even a hole where the plant used to be. I couldn’t find a single trace of green left. No half-eaten leaves or a scraggly stem. Whoever (or whatever) claimed that tomato plant did a darn good job at covering their tracks, and they’re lucky they did, because if I ever find the varmint who took it, they’ll have the fury of a gardener to deal with.
Sure, I’m a little protective of my tomato plants, but it’s for a good reason. There’s nothing quite like a juicy, plump garden tomato still warm from the sun, and I intend to enjoy as many of them as I can this summer. There’s a whole lot of BLTing, capreseing, and salsaing in this girl’s future.
And, barring a rascal making off with another one of my plants, there will be lots of these Cheesy Chicken Bruschetta Boats filling my kitchen this summer as well.
This dish is a mash up of some of my favorite summer foods. Think tomato basil bruschetta meets caprese salad meets a satisfying main course dinner.
I’m always amazed at the flavor fresh herbs can lend to a dish. Just a small handful of basil, rosemary, dill, or cilantro can really elevate a ho-hum dish into something worthy of a celebration. And the great thing is, they’re so easy to grow. I do mine in small pots, and as long as I keep them well watered they stay happy (and bug and rascal free) all summer long.
Take these Bruschetta Bread Boats. The components don’t sound like much. It’s just some bread, chicken, cheese, and tomatoes. But when it comes to garden-fresh veggies, there is no “just”. Here, a “simple” bread, cheese, and chicken dish is made special by juicy, garlicky tomatoes and sweet, fragrant basil. A drizzle of balsamic reduction pulls the flavors together while adding a hint of richness and tang.
The Mr. and I both loved these. It had everything we want in a meal. Varied textures, protein, fresh produce, lots of flavor, and of course, melty cheese. Always melty cheese.
Though this meal has several different parts, it comes together fairly quickly. The key is to get some of the longer components started first while you prep the other ingredients. Here’s my method for getting this on your table in under 30 minutes.
Start with the balsamic reduction. Throw it in a sauce pan with a pinch of sugar and bring it to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until reduced by half. No stirring necessary. Or you could save yourself the trouble, and buy balsamic reduction from the store.
While the balsamic gets going, add the diced chicken breast to a skillet with a bit of oil and cook until no pink remains, about 2-3 minutes a side.
Meanwhile, spread a little butter or olive oil on your sub buns and place them under the broiler until they’re
burnt around the edges golden, crunchy perfection. Lately, I’ve been using the broiler a lot to avoid preheating the entire oven and to speed dinner along by a few minutes. With all this practice, I’m even learning to conquer my fear of the broiler.
Once the bread is done, your chicken should be ready to go as well. Layer the chicken on the bread, then cover it with slices of mozzarella cheese. Give this another turn under the broiler until the cheese is browned and bubbling (Side note: watching cheese melt is quickly becoming my new favorite hobby.)
While the cheese melts, dice a couple tomatoes and toss them with some garlic. When the bread comes out, pile on the tomato mixture then give it one final turn under the broiler just to warm everything up.
By that time, your balsamic should be sweet and syrupy and ready to be drizzled over All The Things. Give the tomatoes a good drizzle of balsamic and sprinkling of basil and you’re done! You’ve got a warm, satisfying, summery meal in just 30 minutes. It’s almost good enough to convince you you don’t need a vacation…Almost.
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 large sub buns
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 large chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- Salt and Pepper
- Place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and let the mixture simmer while you continue on with the recipe. Once the vinegar is thickened and syrupy, remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the diced chicken breast with salt and pepper then place them in the skillet. Cook for a few minutes on each side until the pieces are cooked through.
- Preheat the broiler to low. Split the sub buns in half and brush them lightly with about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Place them oil side up on a baking sheet and place them under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Remove and set aside.
- Spread the chicken evenly over the toasted bread. Top with slices of mozzarella cheese. Place the cheesy bread under the broiler for an additional 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- While the cheese is melting, combine the tomatoes and garlic and season them with salt and pepper. Once the cheese is melted, spread the tomatoes out evenly over the bread slices. If desired, place them back under the broiler for a final time to warm up the tomatoes.
- Top bread slices with chopped basil and a drizzle of the reduced balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.
Recipe by Neighborfood
This month, I’m partnering with #SundaySupper and American Family Insurance to encourage people to try gardening as part of their #ChooseDreams campaign. Growing your own food is an incredibly rewarding experience, and much easier than you think! Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it too!
If you’d like some inspiration to get started, check out American Family’s Recipes from the Garden Pinterest Board. To find out more about the campaign and connect with American Family Insurance, you can find them on their website, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube!
For more easy weeknight recipe inspiration you can also check out the other #WeekdaySupper contributors below!
Monday – Chopped Chicken Garden Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing by Peanut Butter and Peppers
Tuesday - Lemon Herb Grilled Chicken Breasts by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Wednesday – Cheesy Chicken Bruschetta Bread Boats by Neighborfood
Thursday – Garden Vegetable Tart by Daily Dish Recipes
Friday – Bacon Chopped Salad with Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own.