Simple Friday Night Dinner: Skillet Apricot-Dijon Chicken Breasts
When you walk in the door on Friday evenings, you usually don't want fussy recipes that require a lot of equipment and that take all night to make. Skillet Apricot-Dijon Chicken cooks in well under an hour, and, because you use one skillet, cleanup is easy, too. You start with grocery store special boneless, skinless chicken breasts and slice them so that the pieces are no more than one-half inch thick. The chicken slices get a quick dusting of flour and a sear in the hot skillet. Then they wait patiently for you to make a simple but super tasty sauce. Sweet onions, apricot preserves, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice feature prominently in the not too thick sauce. You'll have plenty of the savory-sweet sauce to soak into noodles or rice (which also take little time to cook). All you'll need to go with the chicken and noodles/rice is a green vegetable and/or salad--a quick fix for a Friday night supper.
Skillet Apricot-Dijon Chicken Breasts -- Serves 4+
1 - 1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced (lengthwise) into
pieces that are 1/3-1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
2-3 tablespoons of canola oil
1/2 cup of chopped sweet onion (like a vidalia, or use a yellow one)
2 cups of chicken broth (or two cups of water and 2 teaspoons of chicken
reduced sodium "Better Than Bullion"
2-3 tablespoons of grainy Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/3 - 1/2 cup of apricot preserves (depending on how sweet you want the
1/4 teaspoon of lemon pepper
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat until very hot and then add half the oil. While the pan is heating, add the chicken to a large plastic bag and then add the flour, salt, and garlic powder to the bag. Seal the bag and shake it until the chicken is coated with the flour mixture. When the pan and oil are hot, add about half of the chicken to the pan (you don't want to crowd the pan) and brown it for 3-5 minutes. Flip the chicken and brown the chicken on the other side for another few minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate (don't worry if it's not cooked through, it will get another chance in the pan later, and you don't want to over cook it, or it'll be tough!) and cook the next batch (browning and flipping and browning), adding a little more oil to the pan, if necessary, before you add the second batch of chicken. Don't throw out the flour in the bag! You'll use it in a few minutes. After the removing the second batch of chicken, add the onion to the pan (and a bit more oil, if you need it) and saute it for a few minutes. Then add the leftover flour from the plastic bag and stir it into the onion and chicken drippings in the pan, stirring it with a spatula or wooden spoon for a few minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, lemon juice, mustard, apricot preserves, and lemon pepper and keep stirring until the preserves melt into the sauce. This may take about 5 minutes. When the sauce is fairly smooth, turn down the heat to a simmer, add the chicken back into the pan, spoon some of the sauce over the chicken, and partially cover the pan. Let the chicken cook for about 5 minutes in the sauce or until it's cooked through and the sauce has reduced a little (by about 1/4). Serve the chicken and sauce over noodles, rice, or the carb of your choice--polenta maybe?