I have a confession to make: I own two or three Rachel Ray cookbooks. I don't use them much any more, but back when I was newly married, working full time, and in charge of almost everything in our household because my husband was working on his dissertation and toward a tenure-track job, I just didn't have the time or energy to cook. I also didn't cook that well at that point. I liked to cook, and many of my college friends thought that I was a good cook, but we all know how high college-aged food standards are!
I started my self-taught cooking classes with Rachel Ray. Whatever your opinion of her, her recipes are easy to make and quick, and the ingredients are usually what you already have on hand. (I did find even back then, though, that her recipes tend to be a little bland...) Like I said, I don't use her cookbooks much any more, but I do owe a debt of gratitude for teaching me some kitchen basics.
One of her recipes that have remained a staple in our household, though, is her Balsamic Rosemary Chicken. The marinade helps keep the chicken moist, while also creating a nice caramelized crust once cooked. This is not a dish to serve when having a fancy dinner party, but makes an easy, tasty, and cheap (!) weeknight dinner with or without guests. Leftovers are great in salads or pasta...
Balsamic Rosemary Chicken
from Rachel Ray
4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 Tbl balsamic vinegar, just enough to coat chicken lightly
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
3 stems rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped, about 2 Tbl, or about 1 Tbl dried rosemary
Salt and coarse black pepper
4 cloves garlic, cracked away from skin with a whack against the flat of your knife (at least...I usually add more.)
Coat chicken in balsamic vinegar, then olive oil. Season chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper and let stand at least 10 minutes along with the garlic.
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken breasts and cracked garlic to the pan. Cook chicken 12 minutes, or until juices run clear, turning occasionally. The balsamic vinegar will produce a deep brown, sweet finish on the chicken as it cooks.