Monday, June 2, 2014

The Schwartz's vs Recipe: Creamy Almond Chicken

This recipe was the red headed step child of my meal calendar.  It's been on the meal calendar for at least 3 weeks but whenever something came up and the calendar needed to be rearranged, this meal got bumped.  I'm not sure why I was avoiding it.  It's got normal ingredients and the directions aren't hard but for some reason I was just not excited about it.  In fact, I thought the winner recipe this week was going to be the Cajun Pasta I made.  However, that one was nothing to write home about and this one got a big two thumbs up.  Go figure.  I guess the lesson here is you never know what you're going to really like unless you branch out and try new things.

Creamy Almond Chicken, via eMeals subscription. 
     1½ cups slivered almonds
     4 tablespoons butter, divided
     2 lb boneless chicken breasts, pounded to ¼-inch thickness
     2 tablespoons orange marmalade
     1½ cups heavy cream
     1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
     ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes

     Sauté almonds in 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet until golden brown; set aside. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in the skillet 3 to 4 minutes per side, in batches if necessary. Mix together orange marmalade, heavy cream, Dijon, red pepper flakes, and toasted almonds. Pour over chicken and continue cooking until chicken is done and sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve chicken and sauce over hot rice.

The Pros:
  * Most of the ingredients were household staples. The only things I had to get were orange marmalade, slivered almonds, and cream.
  * The meal came together well time wise.  The rice was done just as the chicken was finishing up so everything was hot and ready to serve at the same time.  That always makes me feel like I've done something right.
  * The prep time claimed to be 10 minutes, and 20 minutes cook time which I thought was pretty accurate.  I think this meal took me around 30 minutes to make.
  * The cream sauce was amazing!  The kids even liked it and asked for some on their rice.
  * Decedent tasting meal, but easy to put together.  This would be an impress the inlaws type meal for me, especially since my inlaws know I can't cook to save my life.

The Cons:
  * Did not make leftovers.  That's not really a con, but I felt like I needed to put something.  Plus, we rely on left overs during school weeks for Chris.  So I can't say if this is going to be a meal that would reheat well or not.  And I always like to know if something is going to reheat well in case I want to send the left over with Chris for lunch or count on it for a quick easy meal on a busy night.

The Changes I Did Make:
     * I only used 1/2 a cup of slivered almonds and I think that was plenty.  It made it a cream sauce with almonds instead of an almond sauce with cream.
     * eMeals suggested serving this with savory garlic broccoli but I'm the only one in my family that likes cooked broccoli, so I served it with roasted green beans.  (Toss some green beans in olive oil with salt and pepper, put in oven at 425 for 10-12 minutes.)  And the cream sauce was yummy on the green beans as well.

Would I make it again?
  Yes.  Chris and I both LOVED it.  It's got excellent flavor, the chicken is moist, the cream sauce is yummy.  We were both really impressed with this meal.  It wasn't complicated to make I didn't feel lost or like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything done on time.  Sarah ate the chicken, liked the sauce but wanted me to scrape the almonds off.  And Cody well, he's on a hunger strike right now so his opinion doesn't matter.  With 3/4's of my family willing to eat this without complaining and my kitchen not looking like a bomb went off after I was done making it, this is a Schwartz household winner.

Give it a try and let me know what you think of it.

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