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.