Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Apricot Chicken with Lemon Broccoli

What a relief! I didn't think I was going to be able to participate in this week's What's Cooking Wednesday because I didn't think I had cooked/photographed anything fancy-smancy in the past week. I sat here berating myself for being a horrible mother and wondering just what had we been eating lately. Breakfast for dinner, boring old pasta, pizza...jeez! Then I decided to download the images from my camera to check out all the cute pics. I took of Jamie at her J.K. "Meet the Teacher Night" last night and, low and behold!, there was a pic. of the Apricot Chicken I had made! I had completely forgotten about that. Whew. So, I'm a good mother again. Just like that.

The recipe came from Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade 20-Minute Meals which I have on loan from the library. I love her "cheating" dessert recipes, so I thought I'd check out the main-meal ones. Hmmmm. I'd have to say that I probably won't be adding this cookbook to my collection. It seems like a lot of her recipes aren't all that terribly healthy and quite a few of them call for alcohol: vodka, wine, Kahlua, etc. I mean, I know the alcohol cooks off, but I just don't want to have to buy a new bottle of something everytime I want to whip off a "quick and easy" dinner. Plus, the recipes don't seem to be that much quicker to make than it would be to actually prepare something healthy with real, whole, ingredients. But, I picked out a pretty good one and, now, I bring you "Chicken with Apricots and Almonds" served with a side of "Lemon-Garlic Broccoli" (and some prepackaged chicken rice).

Chicken Ingredients:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons or more extra-virgin olive oil
2 scallions (aka green onion!) finely chopped
1 jalapeno chile pepper, sliced thin
1 teaspoon bottle minced garlic
1 teaspoon bottle minced ginger
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 can apricot halves
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted.

Broccoli Ingredients:

12 oz packaged broccoli florets
1 tablespoon lemon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons shredded lemon zest
1 teaspoon bottle minced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and ground pepper

Chicken Directions:

  1. In a large zip-top plastic bag, combine flour, salt, and lemon pepper. Add chicken. Seal bag; shake to coat chicken. Remove chicken from bag; shake off excess flour mixture. Set aside.

  2. In a skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add chicken to hot oil; cook about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes per side or until cooked through. Transfer chicken to plate; set aside. Add scallions and jalapeno to skillet. Cook and stir for 1 minute, adding more oil. Add ginger, garlic, and lime zest; cook and stir for 30 seconds.

  3. Drain apricots, reserving liquid. Set apricots aside. Add the reserved liquid to the skillet, scraping up browned bits in pan. Return chicken to skillet with any accumulated juices. Add apricots and toasted almonds. Stir to combine; heat through. Serve hot.

Broccoli Directions:

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine broccoli florets, olive oil, the water, lemon zest, and garlic. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; microwave on high setting for 4 - 5 minutes. Check for doneness; cook 1 minute more if necessary. Sprinkle with lemon juice; toss. Season with salt and pepper.


Well, I bought the chicken on sale: $10 for 6 breasts. I'm not doing that anymore. I find that cheapo chicken is just rubbery and gross. But, that's not Sandra Lee's fault. Also, it took way longer than 3-4 minutes per side to cook the chicken. Way. Longer. And, one other little note: I did not include the chile pepper.

The sauce was pretty good. I was surprised how it did thicken up nicely. Probably if I had used some nice, fresh, organic chicken this would have been pretty good. As it was, I just couldn't get past the gross chicken. Dave said he liked it, both the girls ate it, and it sure did look pretty on the plate.

The broccoli on the other hand was a huge mistake. None of us liked the lemon flavour. We just like broccoli to taste like broccoli, I guess. Maddie, who normally loves the little green "trees", kept trying different pieces and saying, "Ewww, there's something icky on this one. Ewww, there's something icky on this one, too. Ewww. Do I have to eat my broccoli tonight?"

The second side was prepackaged chicken rice which Sandra Lee actually recommended serving with this dinner. This got 2 thumbs up from both kids who loved it. I hate prepackaged crap: the list of "ingredients" on the packages frightens me to no end. Figures that this was their favourite part of the dinner! I kept thinking, Chef Ramsey or Jamie Oliver would have shuddered to see me making it. Well, I now have both of their cook-books so maybe I'll post something from one of them next week.

For other recipe ideas please check out Shan's Tales From the Fairy Blogmother and feel free to add your own while you are there!


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Both sound good to me - I love lemon and broccoli together. I'm not a huge fan of Sandra Lee only because she uses so much processed stuff, and I've found I've really fallen off using that. Happy What's Cooking Wednesday!

Renaedujour said...

What a good mom you are. I love your verdict after the recipe. :)

Shan said...

That does look beautiful on the plate, I must say. Oh and I just finished reading Sandra Lee's biography if you want to borrow it.