Balsamic Apricot Rosemary Chicken

 

Hi everyone– Here’s a recipe that’s so quick and delicious I’m happy to pass it on to you.  You can get it into the oven in about 5 minutes!  I put on some brown & wild rice mix to simmer after the chicken was in and then sat and read a book!  Best way to fix dinner.

BALSAMIC APRICOT ROSEMARY CHICKEN
4 bone in chicken thighs
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tab. balsamic vinegar
1 tab. rosemary, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and place them bone side down in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  (If you like the skin, leave it on!)  In a small bowl stir together the apricot jam, vinegar, minced rosemary and salt.  Spoon it over the chicken thighs and pop it into a 400 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes. Spoon the extra juices over the chicken as you set it on the serving plate.  (If you use a meat thermometer, internal temperature of 165 degrees)

Ready and delicious!

Ginger Apricot Chicken

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Hello dear friends– I think we all know the hardest part of fixing dinner is deciding what to try to summon up with the ingredients on hand– in our fridge there’s always chicken breasts lurking and jam and soy sauce…  and happily I had one little nub of ginger in the drawer. So we ended up with this chicken on the table– It’s sweet and savory with just little bite of ginger.  I think you’ll like it…

And can I say, I love that this dish is so easy? Ten minutes to get it into the oven and then it just bakes itself.  Gives you enough time to check your phone, get a drink, set the table and rustle up a salad or some broccoli and a sturdy loaf bread.  That’s it –dinner!

GINGER APRICOT CHICKEN
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tab. soy sauce
2 tab. minced ginger*
2 shakes cayenne pepper*
2 tab. cider vinegar
2 large chicken breasts, filleted
1 tab. cornstarch (optional)

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In a saucepan, combine the jam, soy sauce, ginger and pepper.  Heat until the jam is melted.  Then stir in the cider vinegar.

Cut the chicken breasts horizontally to produce 4 thin fillets.  Dip the chicken into the warm jam sauce.  And set it into a baking dish.  Pour the rest of the sauce over the chicken.

Bake the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven, basting the chicken with the sauce a couple times while it bakes.  When done, remove the chicken to a platter and pour the sauce from the baking dish over the chicken.**  Bon Apetit!

*If you like your meals nice and spicy you can, of course, up the ginger and cayenne (me, I’m a spice whimp, so this little amount is just fine.)
**If you want the sauce to be thicker, pour the sauce rom the baking dish into a small sauce pan and set it to simmering.  In a container with a tightly fitting lid, shake together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water.  When it’s thoroughly blended, stir it into the simmering sauce for a minute or two until  it thickens.  The pour it over the chicken on the serving platter.

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Chocolate Chip Dump Cookies

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Hi all– with a “glamorous” name like that, these cookies are bound to be good.  The dump part pretty much describes them.  You open your kitchen cupboard, pull out all the goodies you can locate  and throw them into the batter.

They’re  rather homely, downright lumpy to look at, but on closer examination (with your mouth!), you find they are exquisite– salty, sweet, crunchy, nutty and of course, chocolatey.  I think you’d like them just fine.

CHOCOLATE CHIP CUMP COOKIES
1 cup of butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1  1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tab. vanilla
1  1/2 cup flour
1 cup whole oats (oatmeal)
1/2 cup granola
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup walnuts (or pecans), chopped
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried apricots, but to small bits

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With an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until creamy.

Throw in the flour, oats, granola, baking powder and sugar and keep beating until it’s all mixed.

Then beat in the coconut, nuts, chocolate chips, cranberries and apricots until it’s all thoroughly blended.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  And pop the cookies into a 350 degree oven for 13 to 15 minutes, until they are beautifully browned.

Be sure to eat one while they are still hot from the oven (the best!)

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Apricot Almond Muffins

IMG_8610Good morning!  Sunday mornings are muffins mornings when the family is here.  Everyone is getting up at different times and in different stages of getting read for the day.  So we just leave out a good supply of muffins and some eggs to scramble and everyone manages to breakfast.  I love these sweet simple muffins.  They taste like a sunny Sunday morning…

APRICOT ALMOND MUFFINS
2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped to small bits
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 tab. amaretto (or almond extract)*
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Soak the apricot bits in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes to plump them up.  Then drain off the water.

Next mix together the apricots, egg, milk, oil and amaretto.  And stir in the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Top them off with the almonds

Pop them into the oven at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes while you pull out the eggs and orange juice, put on the coffee.  Breakfast!

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IMG_7659Hello friends– Here are some nubbly little cookies that start with hearty oats, but quickly fill up with extra little goodies– apricots, chocolate and coconut.

They are the kind of little bars a grandma should have around the house when the grand-girls arrive,  wait!! —like mine who are coming from China end of the month!!  I’m jumping up and down.  Can you feel the vibrations of my computer as you read?

But back to the cookie bars, they’re fast and easy and just sweet enough to satisfy.  I think you’ll like as much as I’m hoping Charlotte, Maryann and Josie do…

IMG_7646APRICOT CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL BARS
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped to smallish bits
2/3 cup coconut
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil (or melted butter, if you prefer!)
2 eggs
3 tab. milk

In a mixing bowl stir together the oatmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.  Then add in the “goodies”–apricots, coconut, chocolate chips, sugars.  Finally add the wet ingredients–oil, eggs and milk.  Mix is tip blended and spoon it into a 7″x11″ pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake it at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the cookie bars comes out clean.  Cut them into tidy little squares and enjoy!

Beef Tenderloin with Apricot & Olives

IMG_7678Hi all– A few days before Christmas the Fed Ex man came to my door with a huge white styrofoam box.  What on earth?  Did Larry order something mysterious?  I slit it open and it turned out to be packed goodies from a steak/meat company– A Christmas gift to us from my mom!  You have to admit she’s great at imagining gifts we’d love.

So I tucked it all in my freezer and have been doling out this luscious meat a bit at a time.  This week I tried a new recipe that I’ve had in my file forever, just waiting to test it out.  And it turned out to be just right with the tender, juicy Christmas gift tenderloin–the briny olives and sweet sauce that begged to be sopped up with a sturdy chunk of bread. Delish!

BEFF TENDERLOIN WITH APRICOT & OLIVES
1 cup white rice
1/4 cilantro, chopped (or your favorite herb)
1 pound beef tenderloin, cut in friendly chunks
splash of olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tab. tarragon vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have on hand)
1 cup apricot preserves
1 cup mixed good olives*
6 oz. bag of baby spinach

Cook the rice according the instructions on the bag.  Set aside in the pot to keep it warm.

While that’s cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet and then drop in the chunks of beef. As  it’s browning liberally salt and pepper the meat.  Cook on high for just about 5 minutes until the pieces are browned but still medium inside (please don’t overcook the meat like I usually do!).  Remove the steak from the pan.

In the meat juices cook the garlic a minute or two.  Then add the vinegar and preserves.  Cook about 3 minutes more.  Then add in the meat, olives and and spinach.  Stir on the heat just until the spinach starts to wilt and the meat is warmed though– only a minute or two.

Stir the cilantro into the cooked rice and serve of the rice an meat on the same platter– Be sure to scrape all the lovely apricot sauce out of the pan!  Makes 4 polite servings.

*I have to admit I’m a bit of an olive snob (blame it on all those olive filled years we lived in Spain!).  I don’t mind buying store brand products or shopping at the most affordable store in town.  But when it comes to olives, splurge!  Please don’t buy those salty hard ones in the jar.  Thank you.

Cranberry Apricot Granola

IMG_5742Hello Breakfast Eating Buddies–  I’m a granola fan, the nuttier and fruitier the better.  At the risk of alienating some of you who are reading– this is kind of the “fruit cake” version of granola– lots of candied fruit and crunchy nuts.  Add a little plain yogurt and it’s breakfast in a bowl.

CRANBERRY APRICOT GRANOLA
3 cups whole oats (oatmeal)
1 cup whole toasted almonds, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup currants

Mix the oats, almonds, walnuts, syrup, salt and cinnamon all up in a big bowl and then spread it onto 2 baking sheets, lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.   Pop it into a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring it around once about half way through.

When it’s out of the oven and cooled, mix in the cranberries, apricots and currants.  Store it in an airtight container.  That’s it!  So easy.

Chocolate & Apricot Bread

IMG_4512Hi friends–  It’s in the oven, the chocolate & apricot bread.  It’s sweet and sunny and made from things you might just have in your cupboard right now.  Kind of a standby you can make at the drop of a hat.  I’m ferrying it off to our class at church to go with coffee tomorrow morning. I hope everyone likes it as much as I do!

CHOCOLATE & APRICOT BREAD
10 oz. dried apricots
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tab. canola oil
1 egg
3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup chocolate, cut into bits (or mini chocolate chips)

Put the apricots in a bowl and cover them with hot water.  Let them sit 30 minutes to soften.  Then cut them into small pieces.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  The mix in the oil, egg and orange juice.  At the end fold in the apricots and chocolate.  Spoon it all into a standard size loaf pan (or two smaller pans) that have been spayed with cooking spray.
Drop it into a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes until it’s golden and firm to the touch on top.

It cuts into slices better if you let it cool a bit.  Apricot-y sweet and delicious.

Sweet & Spicy Ham Avocado Sandwich

IMG_1793Hi all– Here’s a sandwich that is quick enough to whip up when you’re just home alone for lunch, but pretty and yummy enough to serve up to friends alongside a big salad.  it’s sweet, salty spicy, topped with creamy avocado.  Pretty perfect.  I think you’d like it as much as I did.  I can see a lot of these sandwiches in my summer ahead…

SWEET & SPICY HAM AVOCADO SANDWICH
2 slabs sourdough bread (or any sturdy bread)
4 slices ham (we used turkey ham*)
2 tsp. seedy mustard
4 tsp. apricot jam
1 avocado

This makes a couple sandwiches, for you and a eating buddy.  Toss the bread into the toaster while you put the ham into a non-stick skillet at hight heat.  Cook the ham until it’s hot and crispy (just a minute or two).  Mix the mustard and jam together and smash the avocado.  Then put it all together layering bread, ham, jam & mustard and avocado on top.  Easy and delicious.

*I love that turkey ham.  I get a chunk at the grocery store for about $5 and the butcher slices it up for me.  When you crisp it in a pan, it’s the next best thing to bacon, with a whole lot less fat.  And I can use one package for 3 or 4 meals– in soup, fried for breakfast, sandwiches, tossed in a salad…

Apricot Mustard Pork Cutlets

IMG_0281Hello everyone– Here’s a quick weekend night dinner.  Add some steamed asparagus, a little rice to sop up the savory, sweet sauce and good bread.  Thirty minutes tops and it’s on the table.

APRICOT MUSTARD PORK CUTLETS
2 pork cutlets, about 1/2 ” thick
2 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup whole grain dijon mustard
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tab. cornstarch

Heat your pan on high and add in the olive oil.  When it’s plenty hot, drop in the pork cutlets and sear them on both sides, about 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are browned nicely.  Then remove them from the pan.  Mix the jam, mustard and wine together and add them to the pan juices, stirring them all together.  Bring to the lowest simmer and put the pork back in for about 10 minutes.  To serve the meat, put it out on a pretty plate and if you want the sauce to be thicker– turn up the heat and stir in 1 tab. cornstarch blended completely with 1/2 cup water.  Stir the sauce until it thickens and spoon it over the pork chops.  Viola!

P.S. I dropped a little piece of marjoram on the plate from a bit a of green in the photo.  If you live in So Cal, it grows in the yard unaided pretty much all year round.  Easy.  Nice oregano-ish flavor.  You might like some if you have an empty spot of earth.

Ham Ricotta Sandwiches with Apricot-Mustard


Hello all–  A while back we had a family Tea Party to shower our dear Katie with gifts and wish her well before her wedding to Nathan.  Everyone brought sweets or yummy sandwiches to munch with our tea.  It was a happy celebration.  God Bless you Katie.

HAM RICOTTA SANDWICHES WITH APRICOT-MUSTARD
1 loaf of small “cocktail” size bread (or cut regular bread slices  into 4 squares)
7 leaves of red leaf lettuce
50 slices of ham*
1 16 oz. tub of ricotta
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/3 cup brown mustard with seeds**

First mix together the jam and mustard in a small bowl.  On the small slices of bread layer a piece of lettuce, 2 slices of ham, a tsp. of ricotta and a small spoonful of the apricot-mustard.  Put them on a pretty plate for a tea party –or just gobble them on the spot for lunch!

*I accidentally picked up a package with turkey and ham mixed, so the sandwiches in the picture have a slice of each.
**I love “Maille Old Style Whole Grain Dijon Mustard”– it is the seediest!

Earlier this summer, we saw a display for fruit flavored mustards in the Salumeria store in San Francisco and picked up some blackberry mustard.  Yummy.  But I like this apricot-dijon combination even more.  I think it would be great on a plain a ham sandwich on ciabatta or a grilled cheese and ham on sour dough.  I’m going to experiment…

Summer Salad with Apricot Dressing

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Hi all– I love this bright, happy salad, perfect for dinner out on the picnic table.  But the best part is the dressing.  This recipe started when I picked up Ani for lunch at her office in San Francisco this week, we landed at a little sidewalk shop for especially yummy salad/sandwiches.  So this is my attempt to copy the luscious dressing on that salad.  I think it came out just fine.

SUMMER SALAD
red leaf lettuce
2 plums
2 apricots
1 avocado

DRESSING
1/3 cup olive oil
1/6 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tab. apricot jam
1 tsp. seeded brown mustard (with lots of seeds!)
2 tab. pumpkin seeds (or more if you love them like I do)

Layer the fruit and avocado on a platter over the torn up lettuce.  Then shake up all the dressing ingredients in a jar until it emulsifies. Pour it over the salad just before serving.