Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Balsamic Chicken with Grapes

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Influential - would you say you are? I'd like to think everyone is to some degree. I'd also like to think everyone has someone in their life that has been really influential they look up to. For all those wondering where my inspiration comes from when I wake up at the crack of dawn to work out, it's my brother. He's played a big role in helping me "bring sexy back!" My younger brother has been really influential lately when it comes to my health. He's done some pretty remarkable things throughout his own personal health journey and it's gotten to the point where his lifestyle has rubbed off on me. One example is that he helped me embrace being more physically active by doing aerobic classes and renewing my gym membership to use regularly. It's hard not to be excited about working out when you're around him. He's lost 70+ pounds in a few months with his hard work, determination and a whole lot of enthusiasm... which is contagious!

Another person who I need to give a shout out to is my dear friend David. Years ago David and I would meet at the gym and work out together. Often times, he'll find me there early getting a head start with an aerobics class and then he'll leave me still at the gym while I continue to work on weight/strength training or cardio. Dave knew me as a gym rat because before this little food blog existed, I pretty much lived at the gym.  It just so happens that Dave and I work at the same office building and we usually have lunch together every so often. Not too long ago, we talked about our younger years and how much fun we had at the gym and our workouts. That's when it hit me that there's no reason why I can't incorporate that in my life again. David certainly knew I had it in me to "bring sexy back" and needless to say, the gym scene is now an important part of my life.

It really helps to know there is at least another person out there who knows what you're capable of and truly believes in you to reach your goals. So thank you John and David for being so influential in reminding me and helping me realize my own potential when it comes to my health. This one's for you both.

This recipe for Balsamic Chicken with Grapes is a dish John shared with me. It's full of flavor where the chicken really absorbs the sweet tang of balsamic vinegar and brown sugar along with the sweetness of grapes that add a bit of texture. For an extra crunch, garnish with toasted almonds! It's quick and easy to put together with standard pantry ingredients and did I mention healthy too?...

The original recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, however I used chicken thighs instead. It's richer in flavor but use whatever cut you prefer. Red grapes work especially well with the balsamic but if you only have green grapes, it'll work as a substitute too. To accompany this dish, I served it with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Balsamic Chicken with Grapes
recipe adapted from Cooking Light's Annual Recipes 2002
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves or  boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 spring fresh thyme
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup seedless red grapes - halved or whole
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)


Season chicken with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken and let cook until browned on each side - about 3 minutes per. Remove chicken and set on a plate

Reduce heat and mix in thyme, grapes, broth, vinegar, and sugar. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until the mixture is reduced to about 1 cup, about 4-6 minutes.

Place the chicken back in the skillet and cook until done, about 10-15 more minutes. Scatter with almonds right before serving.

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