Some nights you just want to hang out on the couch and read instead of cooking dinner. If you have a toddler like me, those nights you usually wind up going to the park, doing a load of laundry and playing the part of a horse in a make-believe rodeo. All the more reason for dinner prep to only take a few minutes, right?
This ISN’T a “ready in 30 minutes” kind of meal. It is however the kind of meal that you can prep in about 3 minutes and then ignore for the next hour and a half until it’s ready.
“Less cooking, more PLAYING!”
This is actually a recipe I’ve gotten from my mom. We call it “Favorite Chicken” because it was my favorite when I was a little kid. G doesn’t have the language skills to be dictating favorites quite yet, but he definitely likes it. I’ll bet it becomes a favorite in your house too. (Who cares what it was originally called, right?)
So here’s what you need:
A casserole dish with a lid, creamy dressing, fruit preserves and 4 chicken breasts (not shown)
Don’t you love how this shot looks like it’s from a horror movie?
Halloween is coming…
This is how the original recipe is written:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 c. Ranch dressing
1/2 c. apricot preserves
Place raw chicken, dressing and preserves in a casserole dish. Bake in preheated oven at
350 degrees for 1-1/2 hours, covered.
It’s awesome as written. But, if you’re like me and perpetually out of something you need to make dinner, you’ll be glad to know that this is a recipe that’s incredibly easy to modify to work with what you have. (I don’t think I drink while I make my shopping list for the week, but it sure seems like it when it comes time to cook)
Do you have chicken? Do you have a cream based dressing (ranch, blue cheese, creamy caesar, ect)? Do you have jam/jelly? Yes? You’ve got dinner.
Mmm, raw chicken…appetizing.
My favorite modification so far is substituting in blue cheese dressing and fig jam.
People who like to cook (like my Mr.) may argue that there is no way the chicken needs to cook for that long. This may be because (like me) you forget to start it cooking until 45 minutes before dinner is supposed to be on the table. Ignore them. We’ve tried shortening the cooking process. It doesn’t turn out right.
When you cook it for the full hour and a half, the fats in the dressing make the chicken incredibly tender and the jam and remaining dressing cook down into a fabulous, thick sauce. If you shorten the time, your sauce is runny and blah.
If you’ve done it right, it looks like this when you’re done
Looks delicious, doesn’t it?