Saturday, April 20, 2013

Jammy Chicken

Some days, you just need a delicious but low-maintenance dinner.  A dinner that it's really hard to screw up. A dinner that doesn't need chopping or stirring or babysitting.  A dinner that's ready for the table in 30 minutes.  A dinner that you can make with what you already have.

Here's a dinner like that for you:


You'll need salt, pepper, some jelly or jam, some balsamic vinegar (Okay, that's probably optional...any liquid that goes well with the jelly flavor is fine.  Or even water.), pepper, and some boneless chicken breasts.  Oh, and a little oil or cooking spray to grease the dish.  That's not pictured.


I love things in jars, and have a slight addiction, so this time, I used a Strawberry Pepper Jelly that I couldn't resist at the strawberry farm last summer.  Sweet with a kick.  And you all know me and balsamics, but this time I went with a blueberry balsamic, since I don't have a strawberry one...yet.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Using a fork, mix a good amount of the jam (about a quarter cup) with a good lug of the balsamic (about a tablespoon).


Lightly oil a baking dish with high sides, and put your chicken in it in a single layer.  It will get saucy, and that's a good thing. You don't want to loose any of that, or have to clean burnt sticky jam goo off of your oven.  Salt and pepper the chicken.


Smear the sauce over each chicken breast.


Bake it for 15 minutes.  Take it out.


Flip each breast over.  Spoon some sauce on top.  


Put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes.  Take it out.


That's it.  You're done.  Serve it with some of the sauce over the top.  Delicious chicken.  It's moist, it's got good flavor, it's easy.  

You can try different types of jams and jellies, mix it up a bit.  Apricot, peach, or plum are really good flavors with chicken.  Ooh, fig could be good too!  See what shows up at the farmers' markets, and pick your favorites.  Some shops have cool jams like onion jam that would be pretty awesome here.  Or break out of the metaphorical box and mix up some honey with some stone-ground mustard for a honey mustard chicken.  You know how much I love creativity in the kitchen!

And the 15 minute intervals also give you a lot of time to get other stuff done.  Sometimes for dinner, sometimes not.  This time around, I was able to throw on some homemade rice pilaf, have discussions with two of my children that were in time-out for fighting, steam up some artichokes, look through the mail, encourage my oldest to get her stuff together for her Brownie meeting, and field a couple of phone calls.

Again, this is a kid's dinner.  Hubby and I don't usually need our meat cut up for us.
A few food safety notes: the cooking time will depend on your chicken size and how hot your oven runs.  I tried to use average size breasts, and 15 minutes each side at 350 always seems to work out for me.  The juices should run clear if you poke the chicken.  If it's not done, give it 5 more minutes or so.  This will also differ if you use bone-in chicken breasts, or other parts of the chicken.  Rather than give you a whole table of numbers that I make up, I would suggest you find a recipe you trust for baking those parts of the chicken and then use the times/temps on that recipe with the jam treatment.

And one other side note: Chicken fresh from a farm that you trust honestly tastes best, but it's not always available or affordable, so do what works for you.  This time around, what I had on hand was organic chicken breasts bought in bulk from the store.  Still yummy.  Still better than anything from a box.