Definitely NOT Kentucky Fried Chicken

by Melissa Hollern

I am going to throw caution to the wind and probably throw those of you who know me into helpless fits (possibly gales?) of laughter.  I am going to teach you how to cook something.

And it’s delicious, I swear!

Now, summer picnics are one of my favorite things about the season.  Finding a nice shady spot, spreading the blanket, drinking lemonade or iced tea, squashing ants by the millions… (HATE those things, but that’s a subject for another post).  Some of the best foods to take are those that are left over from a previous dinner. 

The following is one of the few recipes that I can actually cook and I have never (no, really: NEVER) had a complaint about it.  The secret is in the marinade, and though it sounds odd, it is very delicious.

You can either marinade the chicken the day before or right before you cook.  It depends upon how much flavor you want.  I try to do so at least 5 or 6 hours prior to cooking, but it does work even if you mix it right before you cook it.  I prefer to cut the chicken breasts in half, but you really don’t have to.  While were here, fresh chicken tastes better in my opinion, but you can use frozen chicken too.  Just increase the cook time.

Recipe: Catalina Chicken

  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (You can use any part of a chicken really.  In fact, as I write this, I’m wondering how wings would taste—and now I’m hungry for them and it’s ten o’clock at night… but I digress as it’s really only important that you know this recipe will cover 1 package of chicken.)
  • 10 – 12 oz, or about 2/3 bottle, Catalina Dressing. (I recommend against using reduced fat or fat free, it just doesn’t taste the same.)
  • 10 – 12 oz, or about 2/3 jar, of Apricot Preserves or Jam. (Yes, you read that right.)
  • 1 packet dry Lipton Onion Soup mix.

With me so far?  Good.  Keep up.  Trust me, it’s worth it!

Mix the dressing, the jam or preserves, and the soup mix thoroughly in a large bowl.  It’s okay if the preserves don’t fully mix in.  Add the chicken and turn to coat all sides.  Cover and return to the refrigerator.  Preheat the oven to 350ยบ.  When the oven is ready, place the chicken and the remaining marinade into a 12 x 9 casserole dish.  Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  It’s not necessary to turn the chicken half way through, but again, it’s something I do to keep it moist.

I normally pair this with rice and green beans, because the marinade goes really well over top of them too.  But you can choose whatever side dish you like.  I use greens because I’m a visual person when I eat.  I like lots of different colors in my meals.  It’s the ADD in me.  If it isn’t colorful, I guess I’ll forget it’s there.  Who am I kidding?  I never forget where food is. 

This dish is fantastic hot or cold.  It’s why I love to use it as a picnic dish.  Reheating is not necessary, although it does reheat pretty well.  I’ve never tried to grill it, but I would imagine that would be very tasty too.  Even though it sounds like I’ve overdosed on my allergy meds, I promise you that I haven’t!  It’s one of those recipes that shouldn’t work, but really does. 

And now I’m hungry—again!

Melissa is a lover of life, the beach, and her boyfriend.  Currently residing in Delaware, ten miles away from where she's wanted to live since she was six, she now teaches two-year-olds the basics of how to get to be three-years-old.  It's a rough life... actually, she can assure you it isn't!

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