Well.. hello! For the past couple of months I’ve been settling into a life that looks pretty different than the one I was living when I last posted. Within a two week period I changed jobs, we bought and moved into our first home, and added a wild, but precious puppy to our family. Along with the bigger life changes, we also had to unexpectedly buy a new car when mine went kaput on the way to church one morning. And then, just when things were starting to feel all nice and normal, our air conditioner went out. For an entire week. In June. In South Florida. It’s safe to say, we have officially entered adulthood.
One morning while as I was driving to work, after four consecutive nights of car shopping, and only about two weeks into my new job, Luke Bryan’s song, Huntin’ , Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day came on the radio. I found myself driving down I-95 in a daze, truly believing that if I could just live a life of fishing and hunting, then I really would love every day. That’s when I realized I was perhaps a little overwhelmed with all of the changes, however good they were. If you know me, you know that, while, yes, I did grow up in the smaller, southern town of Anderson, SC, I am not a girl that finds herself with a fishing pole in her hand very often. And I most definitely would not make a good hunter. I have a hard enough time killing small insects intruding in our home.
That night, as I was explaining to Patrick my new found desire to move out to the country and live off of the land, we both realized that something had to change. We had to slow things down and find a new rhythm that worked for this new life. And no, I definitely did not need to quit everything and go spend our savings on camouflage. I just needed to get back to the simple acts of life that bring me joy and make me feel most like myself. One of those things, for me, is intentional time spent around the table. And slowly, that’s what we’ve been doing, even if dinner some nights is a Trader Joe’s frozen pizza or take-out from our favorite local sushi restaurant, we are finally starting to find our way back to the table and into our new normal.
Another meal that seems to keep showing up on our plates is this Mustard-Balsamic Baked Chicken. It’s what I turn to when I want home cooked, but realistically only have the time and energy for frozen pizza. It involves very few ingredients and takes even less effort. Another perk is that everything but the chicken is typically always in my kitchen, so it takes little to no planning in advance. As much as I really do love the days that I have a little extra time to spend in the kitchen, working my way through more challenging recipes, some days that’s just not a possibility.
The last time I made this dish, we had an extra breast leftover. The next night, I sliced it up, pan-seared it just long enough to warm it through and added it to to a few sautéed mushroom and feta tacos. I topped them with arugula and a dollop of greek yogurt mixed with lime juice, salt and pepper. I will now always make extra chicken just to have these tacos a day later!
I recommend using whole grain dijon mustard in the marinade. It adds a little more texture, as the mustard seeds are still whole, instead of ground like in most dijon mustards. Trader Joe’s has a great one, but if you can’t find this, regular dijon mustard will be perfectly fine.
Please keep in mind that most of the time I’m only cooking for two, so most of my recipes have small serving sizes. This recipe can easily be doubled if you’re cooking for more!
Mustard-Balsamic Baked Chicken
- 3T whole grain dijon mustard
- 2T maple syrup
- 1/2T balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 chicken breasts
- dried rosemary
- Preheat the oven to 425°.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together the dijon mustard, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
- Sprinkle both sides of each breast with salt and pepper and place in a glass baking dish large enough that the breasts have a little space between each other.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken, picking up each breast allowing the mixture to cover them on all sides. Sprinkle the tops with a pinch of dried rosemary.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and carefully spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the pan onto each chicken breast to coat them again.
- Bake for another 12 minutes.
Did y’all notice my gorgeous new “Stacey’s Stir” logo and front page? My incredibly talented cousin, Morgan Condon, completely designed it. She also helped me create a SS Meal Planner & Grocery List that I’ll be sharing with you all soon!
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