Submitted Date 09/26/2019


When the week is stressful and chaotic, cooking doesn't seem worth the effort. Cooking takes time, energy, will power, motivation, a proper night's sleep and sometimes hip hop from 2009— just me? I don't always want to cook even though it's great to revel in a home-cooked meal. Understandably this happens to a lot of us. In this episode of Soul Freaking Delicious, I share a recipe I found and recreated for my family. This recipe is easy to make, relatively hands-off and comes together in less than an hour. I spent more time trimming the asparagus than the chicken took to cook. This post is for everyone who hasn't met their kitchen yet, doesn't know what a matchstick is in reference to cut produce, and is sick of take-out.


I follow tons of people on blogs, Pinterest and Instagram. There are millions of dinner ideas or recipes to fuel a lifetime of food. Routine bores me which means I am always trying something new to introduce myself to new flavors, food and cuisine. The recipe I am using today comes from a blog I visit occasionally.

Cooking Classy founded by Jaclyn who is always sharing new ideas. This recipe combines simple produce that can be easily switched out depending on the season or what's available and chicken. The recipe calls for chicken tenderloins, which freak me out but I bought them. The tenderloins work great because they cook quickly. If you are in a pinch grab some breasts and pull out your favorite knife and slice tenderloins yourself. It isn't quite the same thing but the size will ensure a quicker cook. The ingredients listed balsamic vinegar, honey, red pepper flakes, and Italian dressing. I was thrilled to see I had all the ingredients besides Italian dressing. I don't regularly shop for salad dressings but I wanted to recreate the recipe exactly.

Jaclyn uses fresh trimmed asparagus, halved cherry tomatoes and carrots that have been sliced into matchsticks. I decided a sturdy side of mashed potatoes would really complete the meal so I've added them to the mix. Going into this recipe I was anticipating a sheet pan dinner, however, this dinner takes place solely on top of the stove. This recipe can be easily adapted for the oven and an even more hands-off approach.

Make the Mix

This recipe instructs the reader to mix the dressing first before starting anything else.

The acid from the vinegar combined with the honey and spice from the flakes will all culminate while the stove gets hot and you get to chopping.

Chop The Veggies

The veggies do take the longest. I quartered some potatoes and placed them in a pot of water from the tap. I began to heat the pot and the potatoes at the same time so they warm up together. I wanted to mash my potatoes and this allows them to blend better during the mashing process.
Trim the woody stems off the asparagus and then halve them. The smaller asparagus will cook quicker and develop a nice crunchy top, which is absolutely what makes asparagus delicious.

The carrots were halved and then sliced to form little rectangles of uniform shape and size. Believe me, it takes patience and if you are already hangry get them small so they can cook quickly.

The cherry tomatoes are petite, adorable, and tasty. Halve them, but be sure to eat a couple raw.
I have a bowl of carrots and asparagus, then I added my halved cherry tomatoes on top.

*Do Not Add Cherry Tomatoes On Top*

The petite tomatoes will not need time on the stove as the asparagus and carrots will. They are added last to get warm but not mushy. Do as I say not as I do.

Season the chicken

I drizzled some olive oil in a skillet that should have been deeper. I seasoned one side of the chicken with black pepper and salt. Then I put the seasoned side facing down on the hot skillet. While the chicken sears over medium-high heat on one side I seasoned the other.

While cooking the chicken you want to allow the meat to form a crust, and the goal is to flip the chicken one time. The chicken fries for 4-6 minutes, then I added half of the balsamic mixture. I let the chicken absorb some of that liquid and then flippded the chicken to get the raw side. Continue to cook the chicken for an additional 4-5 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan and return pan to the stove.

Saute Vegetables

The veggies get tossed in with the remaining marinade and sauteed on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. The veggies should maintain a crisp texture. Once the vegetables are ready remove them from the pan and plate them with the chicken.

Do The Potato Mash

During this time I checked my potatoes for doneness, drained them, plopped them in a bowl with 4TBS of butter, a splash of heavy cream, salt, and pepper. I mashed until my desired consistency was reached adding more cream as needed.

Make The Glaze

The remaining half of the balsamic mixture needs to be condensed to make a sauce. Pour what is left of the mixture into the pan and stir continuously until the liquid becomes thick. When the liquid has become more of a sauce remove the pan from the heat.

Plate and Serve

Add the cherry tomatoes to the mix of chicken and veggies. Drizzle the balsamic glaze on top delicately like the pros. Plate and enjoy!

This recipe took about 30 minutes. Do what you can ahead of time, the veggie prep can take forever especially if knife skills are a little weak. Take time as needed, it's better to go slow than it is to lose a finger. My family enjoyed the meal, including my husband who isn't a fan of chicken, and my son whose tastes vary each day. I had no leftovers for lunch, which was kind of bittersweet. Please let me know if you try this recipe out, or if there are any questions.


Find the original recipe here:


Ashley Aker


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