Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Baked Apricot Maple Chicken with Sauteed Apples and Roasted Butternut Squash

Is it just me or does the name of this recipe scream fall? Yay for autumn! It's officially just two days away. Come Friday, we'll be into my favorite season... Woohoo!

I made this dish last night to bring to a small dinner party with six people. It was the perfect amount for everyone! A few people had second helpings, and by the end, the entire dish was gone.... So, I guess it was yummy?! :)

I receive several cooking magazines and I love reading them. However, I will admit that I'm guilty of not making recipes from my magazines very often. :( I am making an effort to use recipes from my magazines more often, and this dish is an example of that effort! Of course, though, I did change the recipe... It's actually originally a recipe for pork, but I chose to use chicken instead because it was on sale at the grocery store! Pork was not on sale this week. I like to save money whenever I can; what can I say?

The dish is from the September 2011 issue of Cooking Light, and in there it's the recipe for "roasted pork tenderloin and maple-glazed apples" (for any of you Cooking Light subscribers!). I'll share the recipe as I made it though. Most of the measurements are approximate...I didn't really measure. Sorry! This is so not how I bake. I'm much more precise in that area. ;-) Oh, and I chose to just add the squash as a little extra since it went so well with all the other flavors.


For chicken:
-approximately 2.5 - 3 lbs. chicken breasts
-approx. 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-approx. 1 - 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
-approx. 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
-approx. 3 Tbsp. apricot jam (or another jam of your choice!)
-salt and pepper
-fresh rosemary, thyme, and/or other herbs

For apples:
-3 or 4 medium apples (I used macintosh)
-1 small yellow onion
-1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
-3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
-1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
-salt and pepper

For squash:
-1 lb. butternut or winter squash (I used a combination of these two types), peeled and chopped into 1/2 - 1" cubes
-extra virgin olive oil
-salt and pepper
-fresh rosemary


Prepare your chicken and squash first so they can be roasting while you're cooking the apples on the stovetop. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. For the chicken, I cut the breasts into 1/3 - 1/2 lb. pieces and put them in a 13 x 9 glass baking dish (I had sprayed it with cooking spray first). In a small dish, combine the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, jam, salt, and pepper (use your judgment with how much). Once the liquid mixture is combined thoroughly, spread it evenly with a spoon over top the chicken breasts. Sprinkle fresh rosemary and thyme (or other herbs!) on top of that. I probably used a couple teaspoons of each of those two herbs. Bake the chicken for about 20 - 25 minutes or until cooked thoroughly and not pink in the middle. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the breasts you prepare. Just be careful not to overcook so the chicken doesn't become dry! 

For the squash, place it in a baking dish and sprinkle with olive oil and your chosen spices. Bake for at least 30 minutes - maybe up to 45 minutes. The cooking time will vary here depending on the size of the squash pieces you cut. Check the squash's doneness by sticking a fork in it; if it goes through easily, it's done! Oh, and by the way, quick tip on peeling a squash such as this one pictured below... These things are so darn annoying and difficult to peel! It can be made easier if you microwave the squash first. Pierce it with a knife in a few places, and for a smaller squash like this one, just microwave it for 2 or 3 minutes, let it cool for a bit, and then use your knife to carefully cut off the outside peel. It will be soooo much easier if you microwave it than not. I promise!

While those two items are baking, prepare your apples. I kept the skins on my apples, but if you'd like, you can remove the skins. Cut each apple into 8 or 10 slices. Chop your onion into small pieces. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter or margarine and saute the onion for 7 or 8 minutes until it starts to soften. Once the onion is getting lightly browned, add the apples to the pan. After a minute or so, drizzle the maple syrup over top, along with the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Continue to cook the apples over low to medium heat for 6 - 8 more minutes, or until they're softened to your liking.

When everything has cooked, serve it however you'd like! I ended up combining the squash and apples into one dish when we actually sat down to eat. We enjoyed this meal with some When Pigs Fly harvest bread and a delicious side dish of quinoa, sweet potatoes, and dried cranberries made by the lovely Jenn. What a perfect fall meal!!


  1. This is quite a meal! Definitely perfect to welcome in fall. I made something similar to it last year and absolutely loved it. The squash was the perfect addition!

  2. oh I bet the combo of apples and squash together was amazing!