Easy Baked Chicken

Before my husband and I were married, I went with him to visit his mother one Sunday. As usual, something was baking in the oven for dinner. It smelled heavenly, but I couldn't figure out what was so different about it. When it came out of the oven and was put on the table, it was chicken, covered in some kind of sauce I'd never seen before. There was that smell again. Tangy, sweet, salty-it was covering all the taste buds. Tasting the chicken, it was indeed, all those things and more. It was instantly my favorite chicken dish. I begged my now mother-in-law to tell me what it was. “Different chicken” is what she said.

Not so helpful in the recipe department, but never fear, my mother in law is a genius in the kitchen and always shares her recipes (one reason I love her so much). This dish is simple to assemble and only contains a few common ingredients, which lends itself to becoming an easy weekend meal or if adapted to a Crockpot, a weeknight standard. This recipe is so simple and you can easily make half the recipe or double it and freeze a portion for another meal. So I'm sharing it with you in hopes that you'll like it too.

“Different Chicken”

4 whole chicken breasts (I use boneless) or 8 individual breast portions
Mix together:
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 jar (8 oz.) apricot preserves or jelly
1 bottle French dressing

Pour the mixture over the chicken pieces (I use an 9x13 dish), marinate 15-30 minutes in fridge and bake 1 to 1 ½ hours at 350 covered. Serve over rice.

Now, I don't use my Crockpot like I should so I got out the instruction manual. It says to adapt a conventional recipe that cooks for 1-3 hours in the oven, cook in the Crockpot on Low for 8-18 hours or on high 4-6 hours. Since this recipe cooks for about an hour in the oven, I'm going to suggest cooking on low for 6-8 hours (and checking to make sure the chicken is throughly cooked before serving) since that's what I did. It wasn't browned like it would be in the conventional oven, but it still tasted great. Also, if it looks like it's getting too watery in the Crockpot or conventional oven, uncover it for about a half hour to reduce the sauce a bit. (Crockpot users, uncover and turn to high) One word on the Crockpot version, you might find the chicken a bit dry after being cooked in the Crockpot, so just spoon more sauce over the chicken. Because who doesn't like more sauce? Enjoy!


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