It was his first visit home with me to California, and after a long airplane trip and a delayed connection, we arrived exhausted and starving. In typical fashion, my mother had made a full dinner, despite our 10 pm arrival, and while she re-warmed the soup and rolls, my father encouraged Kevin to help himself to a beer and anything else he would like from the refrigerator.
It’s here that my typically taciturn husband turns chatterbox in recounting his initial reaction. My parents had recently remodeled their kitchen, including a spanking-new, sparkling stainless steel Sub Zero refrigerator (this after spending the first 20 years of their married lives with a jalopy of an icebox that required weekly defrosting). Kevin cracked the seal, which revealed contents rivaling a Martha Stewart kitchen photo-op.
Or so he thought.
On second look, the perceived bounty of gnoshes paled: a solid 50% (Kevin claims it was more) of the refrigerator’s contents were condiments: mustards, chutneys, chow-chow, pickles, hot sauces, glazes, relishes, curry pastes, aioli, and, my parent’s ubiquitous 1/2 dozen + varieties of preserves, jams and jellies.
Yet while Kevin once considered this a minor tragedy, I’ve since won him over to the wisdom of my parents’ ways: with a variety of ready-made condiments, a delicious meal (or perfect snack) is never more than minutes away.
Case in point, one of my standard chicken dishes: marmalade chicken. It’s quick and easy for dinner anytime (or company), requires few ingredients, and is just gorgeous and delicious when you finish it with a simple salad like the one I’ve done here (you can very the salad endlessly, but the combination of orange and feta is smashing).
I’ve made this dish with expensive marmalades and store-brand marmalades, and both work equally well. If you’re a marmalade aficionado, save your top-dollar jar for morning toast and use a less expensive brand here; you’ll taste the difference on toast, but not here.
Oven-roasting the chicken breasts is so handy; they stay tender and moist, infused with the flavors of orange and butter. Slide into the oven, put your feet up, then finish the sauce in a few minutes more.
(Ridiculously Easy) Roasted Chicken Breasts with Marmalade Sauce & Salad
6 skinless chicken breast fillets
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/3 cup orange marmalade
Zest and juice of 1 large navel orange
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 and 1/3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
For serving: 3 cups tender watercress sprigs, 2 navel orages (sliced), 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, and 2/3 cup cubed low-fat feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Season chicken breasts on all sides with salt and pepper. Place garlic, marmalade, orange zest and butter in a bowl and beat with a fork to combine. Place chicken in a roasting pan, spread orange mixture over the chicken and cover pan with foil.
Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes, then remove foil and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven; remove chicken to a platter, tenting with foil to keep warm.
Add juice and broth to roasting pan and stir over low heat (place roasting pan right on top of burners) until reduced by half (scraping up all of the yummy bits on the pan’s bottom), then pour over chicken. Serve with a salad of watercress, fresh orange slices, olives, red onion and low-fat feta. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition per Serving (1 chicken breast, 1/6 of all accompaniments):Calories 256; Fat 6.5g (poly 0.7g, mono 3.2g, sat 1.9g); Protein 28.1g; Fiber 3.6g; Cholesterol 72mg; Carbohydrate 19g.