Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Almond-Crusted Chicken Breasts w/Cranberry-Orange Relish (pg.201) and Skillet Green Beans (pg.233)

Hmm...where to start? Let me first just say that overall, we liked both of these dishes. I did have a few issues, though!

The chicken: This is not something I would normally choose (b/c of the fruity relish) but what appealed to me was the almond crust. I love chicken and love finding new ways to cook it, and we've never done an almond-crusted chicken so I went for it. My main issue with this dish was the fact that my chicken breasts were way too thick (and one was thicker than the other). I had a feeling this might be an issue but I didn't even start thinking about this meal until probably 30 minutes before I was about to cook it...and the only chicken I had thawed were the really thick ones so I had to use them. The recipe says to cook it in the skillet for a total of 6-8 minutes, browning both sides. Honestly, I didn't keep track of exactly how long I had to cook mine but it was WAY MORE than 8 minutes! I used a meat thermometer to test the temp in the thickest part after 8 minutes and it was only around 100* and it needed to be 165* (according to my thermometer recommendations-this did not come from the cook book). So, I kept cooking it a bit more making sure to turn every few minutes b/c I was afraid it was going to burn. I don't know how much more time passed b/c I was getting a little frazzled that I would not have dinner ready in time to leave for small group (and I was working on the green beans and dealing with my 19-month-old, ha!), but I finally decided that I would put it in the oven to cook the rest of the way while I made the relish. Unfortunately, I had been turning the chicken so much that the crust was beginning to break and as I moved it to a wire rack over a baking sheet to go into the oven, one half of the crust just fell off. oops! Anyway, as it finished cooking in the oven, I made the relish (in a separate, smaller pan b/c I only made a 1/2 recipe). I was very leery of this relish b/c the thought of putting cranberries and orange marmalade on top of my chicken just did not sound right. Not much to say about the actual cooking process of the relish - it was straightforward and I didn't have any issues with it (except my hubby bought orange juice w/mango instead of just plain orange juice-oh well!). So, overall the verdict is: I really liked the chicken alone but did not care for the relish. I tried one bite with it and that was it. The almond crust (which has panko bread crumbs in it) was delicious. There is also cinnamon in the crust (which I thought was kinda weird). Since I only made a 1/2 recipe, I needed just 1 teaspoon, but we're not really crazy about cinnamon so I just used 1/2 teaspoon. I could just barely taste it and thought that was the perfect amount for us. My husband ate his with the relish and said that it was "not bad." He liked it more than he thought he would. Overall, my vote would be to make just the chicken again and skip the relish...AND, use thinner chicken breasts so there's no issue with cooking it through w/in the 30 minutes!!

The greenbeans: these were super easy and tasty. I was rushing so much to get dinner on the table that I accidentally skipped the last step of seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. When we started eating it, I thought they were missing a little something and commented that I thought it odd that the recipe did not call for salt and pepper. I checked the recipe again and realized that I'd left it out - oops! Overall, these were good and I'd make them again just b/c they were so easy and quick.

This entire process took me 1 hour and 15 minutes. Next time, I think I can get it done much quicker now that I've done it once and learned some lessons!

Here is my plate, minus the relish...

Hubby's plate with relish...

And a closeup of the relish (looks weird, huh?)


Phil and Darby Hawley said...

You & Haylee have both liked the green beans, I think I'm going to have to give them a try.

Morgan said...

they are good, BUT I will say that they are not our favorite green bean recipe...but good enough to make again, especially since they are so easy!