Monday, December 30, 2013

Pretzel Breaded Chicken with Apricot Dijon Sauce

  I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!  We enjoyed spending time with family and friends, relaxing, playing with our new toys, and also remembering the reason for the season.  We went to Church on the Move's Celebrate Christmas program.  It was amazing!  It contained secular Christmas songs, along with hearing about the story of Jesus.  What that church is doing is amazing to see.  As its name implies, it's really going places.  They have so many people that they are helping and outreach into the community.  Their hearts are truly on fire for God!  As we move into the new year, (which I can't believe it's already almost next year!  Eek!!) we are going to be starting a series called "How to make 2014 better than 2013."  It's about new years resolutions and what they are usually lacking and why they fail.  Anyone had the resolution of exercising more, spending more carefully, being more productive, trying more new things?  Yeah, so did I.  Ask me how long they actually lasted....better yet, don't ask!  I'm looking forward to hearing how to include God in my new years resolution this year and making myself let go and hand it over to Him.  Who's with me??

    One of my favorite things about hosting a party is that my house suddenly has to get cleaned.  And by 'had to get cleaned,' I mean I run around cleaning like a mad lady.  I did some of the cleaning yesterday. (I even scrubbed the toilets!  But actually, now that I think about it...I did one then poured the cleaner in the other and forgot about it til just now...woops!  I'm sure it's even cleaner for having sat there for a while.  And I think I remember Husband using that bathroom last night, soo I think we're good.)  One thing I like doing while cleaning, and really it doesn't look like cleaning at all and slows me way down is going through old Better Homes and Garden, Martha Stewart and Real Simple magazines that I've let pile up and tear out the ideas and recipes that I really like so that I can throw away the rest of the magazine.  I then put the torn out pages in those clear plastic sleeves that I keep in my idea binder.  I got the idea from my parents.   

    Anyway, one of the pages I tore out was a recipe for Pretzel Chicken with Fig and Mustard Sauce.  It looked and sounded amazing!  Of course, my version didn't quite turn out the same as theirs did, namely because I used chicken thighs instead of drumsticks, but Husband and I were still pleased.  He even said this had made it to the top of his favorites of things I've cooked.  This is something I never would have thought to put together.  As I was mixing together the alternative apricot jam and Dijon mustard, I was pretty skeptical....until I tried it!  Same with Husband.  It has a kick, a zing to it when you first taste it, but the flavors somehow oddly complement each other. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!!  The original recipe can be found here.  My version of it is listed below.

3 cups honey mustard flavored pretzels
1 tsp. ground Cumin
2 eggs, lightly beaten (though for this small amount of meat I think 1 egg would be enough)
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup Apricot or Fig jam (I used Apricot)
1/4 grainy mustard (aka Dijon mustard)
Thyme Leaves (yeah..I forgot to use these and it still turned out deliciously!)

*Another difference between my version and BHG's was that I didn't have a chicken roaster like the magazine version described.  So I placed mine on a foil lined baking pan.  The online version seems to use this method.  Be sure to coat the foil with nonstick spray.  I did not do this so the chicken was hard to separate from the foil*

1. Preheat over to 425 f.  In a resealable plastic bag crunch up pretzels with rolling pin.  Add Cumin then shake to mix
2. Place beaten eggs in a shallow bowl.  Dip thighs in egg and let excess drip off.  Place in baggie of pretzels and gently shake to get chicken evenly coated.
3. Lay thighs on foil lined baking sheet after first having sprayed the foil with nonstick spray.  (This was an important step that I left out when making mine. Yes, I regretted it.)  Bake at 425f for 40-50 minutes until pretzels are a little browned.
4. While chicken is baking, mix the Apricot or fig jam and the Dijon mustard in a bowl to serve with the chicken.

  I'm usually scared of cooking chicken, namely because it seems to take forever and I'm always afraid I won't have cooked it long enough, then I'll over cook it and it will get tough and dry.  But this...this turned out as perfectly as I could have hoped for.  It was so full of flavor.  We were both pleasantly surprised.  I congratulated myself on trying a new recipe, one that I was very happy to have tried.  We will definitely be having this again.  Maybe even serve it with vegetables!!

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