Weeknight meals are tough for me to negotiate, as I am sure it is for many. Lately, by the time, I make it home from work I just don’t have the energy to cook. As a result, my husband Brian and I eat out a lot, more than we should. We are burned out on all our favorite spots and we see our local delivery guys more than we see our family.
Recently as we started our usual debate of where we should eat that night, I realized it was time for me to find a way to cook more often. As I was going through my long list of recipes to try, I concluded everything I was trying to make during the week took too long to assemble. It was time to simplify things. As I was trying to figure out which direction to take I remembered a conversation from many years ago. Brian told me he could eat chicken every day in some form or another, so I started there, I asked myself what can I make with chicken that I haven’t tried before. After reading over a dozen different variations on apricot chicken, I came up with this combination. It took less than 45 minutes from start to finish. I served it with rice, but almost anything can be paired with it, noodles, potatoes or just veggies. As we were eating Brian exclaimed, “you definitely have to put this in the rotation.” That is the highest compliment I can receive from him.
1 ½ – 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1 cup apricot preserves or jam
1/2 lemon juice only, about 2 tablespoons
4 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
6 dried apricots coarsely chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Place chicken flat in an oven-safe dish with sides that is just large enough to hold it in a single layer.
In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients except the dried apricots. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Top it with the apricots.
Bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes until it is just cooked through (chicken should no longer be pink in the middle of the thickest part)
You can make the marinade in advance, it will keep for up to 24 hours before baking