Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Crockpot Apricot Chicken. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post. The original recipe can be found over at About.com Busy Cooks.
This week’s recipe was Nance’s choice. I make a point of NEVER SAYING NO to her recipe suggestions because I AM THE NICE ONE (don’t roll your eyes at me!), so even though I’m not crazy about apricots (which, I know, unAmerican, right?) and even though I was giving the idea of mixing French dressing and apricot preserves the side-eye, I thought that mayyyyybe I’d end up liking it anyway. Weirder things have happened, right? I figured that even if I didn’t like it, maybe Fred would, and then I could make him eat the leftovers while I ate cereal or pepperoni and cheese sticks (DO NOT JUDGE ME) for dinner.
If left to my own devices, Lucky Charms would be the menu for dinner every night. In case you were wondering.
So, your ingredients:
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, frozen. Dry onion soup mix, French salad dressing (alternately, you can use Russian dressing), apricot preserves, apple cider vinegar, basil (alternately you can use thyme. I’m not super crazy about thyme. And HELLO, I had no idea how many herbs and spices I just flat out don’t care for until we started this damn site. Parsley, I’m looking at you.)
Please note the packaged chicken. Yes, I have a freezer full of home-grown chicken, but Fred and I decided that all first-time recipes involving chicken will be made with store-bought chicken. If we like the recipe, then I am allowed to proceed to using home-grown chicken. We just don’t want to waste our home-grown chicken on recipes we might not like, you know?
The recipe calls for frozen chicken breasts, so I actually had to buy the chicken, which was unfrozen, and then stick it in the freezer the night before.
Put your frozen chicken in the crock pot.
I had six chicken breasts (which is what the recipe called for), but once I got four of them in the crock pot, I decided to just stick with that instead of cramming another couple in there.
Mix all your other ingredients in a medium bowl and dump it over the frozen chicken. Like so:
Then set your crockpot on low for 6 – 8 hours, and take a kitten break.
That’s Hodor. He’s a 6 week old foster kitten who is a snuggly little guy and likes to make me worry by refusing to eat more than a few bites at a time. I’ve resolved this issue by repeatedly putting him in front of the food dish until the light goes on over his dumb little head (bless his heart!) and then he eats like crazy. Oy, kittens. Worrying about them is MY LIFE’S WORK.
I let my chicken cook for 6 hours – I like to err on the lower time when it comes to boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crock pot, because ain’t nobody got time for no dry-ass chicken.
I didn’t take pictures of this part, but after I took the chicken out of the crock pot, I mixed 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with some water, stirred it into the sauce, turned the crock pot on high, and let it cook for about 15 minutes. It thickened nicely.
We ate ours over rice. You could also serve it over pasta or couscous (I don’t think I’ve ever had couscous, but I like saying it. Couscous! Couuuuuuscous!).
The verdict? Dry. And I wasn’t crazy about the sauce. Was it because I really am no fan of apricots? Was it because mixing jam with French dressing and dry onion soup mix is just WEIRD? And would it have been less dry if I’d made all six chicken breasts, as the recipe decrees?
Fuck if I know. Alls I know is that I didn’t like it. I ate one chicken breast, but halfway through it I decided I wasn’t eating a second one. Fred disliked it less than I did – he actually ate it again the next night. I offered him the last one, and he didn’t want it.
The chickens gave it two beaks up, though. They’ll eat anything.
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Two things that must be said before I can tell you about this chicken.
1. I was informed by my friend, Regan, that years ago her mother served me last week’s cake while I was at her house. Well, damn. I was just saying how I have never tasted anything like it and apparently I had! In my defense I will say that Pat (aka: Regan’s mom) was a foodie before anybody knew what a foodie was and I probably just thought it was one of her fancypants gourmet cakes. And I probably didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to confirm my country bumpkin status.
2. It is well known around these parts that if I have a good week of cooking, the next week will surely go to shit. I really wasn’t sure what week I was on because I hadn’t really been doing any cooking around here. The lesson here? I need to start writing down my shit so I know where I’m at in my life. SHUT-UP.
Behold, giant frozen chicken breasts! I am so ready for this simple, yet fabulous, crockpot chicken. Seriously. I NEED this recipe to work because the night before I had Pizza Hut™ pizza and OHMYHELL, there is nothing worse (bye bye, Pizza Hut™ Sponsorship)! And I am so glad that I am not in the Anderson household right now because I’m sure they are rolling their eyes hard at my mutant chicken breast that cannot be anywhere close to what nature intended. And also, I don’t like it when Fred starts talking about corporate freezer camps and the horrible living conditions, blahblahblah. And another thing, while I’m shit-talking on Fred…he gets all superior about his ethical fucking food. I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want…I just wanna eat. And I don’t want to eat what I was just looking in the eye, okay?
This is me using Rick’s huge knife to cut that huge fucking piece of chicken because HOLY BIG BREASTS, BATMAN!
I had to really hack at those breasts to make them fit into my crockpot. Don’t think about that sentence too hard because I did and UGH.
I was mixing all of the stuff up when I had a brilliant idea. BRILLIANT!
I had a jar of preserves made by our own Robyn Anderson on her Crooked Acres Farm. Raspberry Habanero. I used a ½ cup apricot preserves and a ½ cup of the Raspberry Habanero. In my own mind (which I already told you was brilliant) I figured it would be sweet with a little bit of heat. HOW GOOD WOULD THAT BE? PRETTY DAMN GOOD!
We interrupt this program to show you my latest Polish Pottery find. Yeah, I’m going there. It’s PRETTY. This also shows you how I face most tasks. Iced Tea and coffee. Also known as CAFFEINE MEETS CAFFEINE.
The crockpot o’ chicken is on and since I have a minute I decide to bake some brownies. I was all, “HOME-COOKIN’, FTW!” And this is when I realized what week in my good cooking/bad cooking rotation I was in. SHIT.
I was already sifting through my mental index of take-out restaurants because I just knew the chicken was going to blow. I mean, really. Once you fuck up brownies you know there is no turning back. We were screwed.
Things turned out so bad for me that I don’t even have a picture to show you. I can tell you one thing. Regan came over, pulled an ugly face and actually had the audacity to tell me, “That even smells BAD!” The chicken went straight to the garbage can and I didn’t even think to try and take a picture of it.
Tomorrow’s another day. And it’s also another week. Thank God!
- 6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breasts (don't thaw them)
- 1 pkg dry onion soup mix
- ½ c. Russian or French salad dressing
- 1 c. apricot preserves or jam
- 2 T apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp dried thyme or basil
- ⅛ tsp pepper
- In 3-4 quart slow cooker, place frozen chicken breasts.
- Mix remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and pour over chicken. Stir to coat chicken evenly.
- Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
- To thicken the leftover sauce before serving, combine 2 T cornstarch with 3 T water until smooth. Stir into the sauce in the crock pot, turn the crock pot on high and cook for 10 - 15 minutes until sauce is thickened.
- Serve with hot cooked rice, pasta, or couuuuuuuuscous.