Mustardy apricot sauce enlivens baked chicken

July 03, 1996|By Charlotte Balcomb Lane | Charlotte Balcomb Lane,KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

When you're in a rush to make dinner but inspiration is running low, crunchy oven-baked chicken is a simple, delicious and low-calorie solution.

The crunchy, golden topping for these lean chicken breasts is nothing more than cornflake cereal pulverized into crumbs with two kinds of dried herbs. Unbeaten egg white helps the crumbs stick to the skinless poultry. Bake the breasts for 35 to 40 minutes and you have a dinner that tastes fried but gets only 33 percent of its calories from fat.

Speedy apricot sauce is a sweet-savory topping that you can make right before serving.

Simply melt sugarless apricot fruit spread with mustard, chicken broth and soy sauce in a microwave oven and drizzle it over the chicken as a robust accent. The sauce has no added fat, but plenty of eye-opening flavor.

If you wish to reduce the percentage of calories from fat, pair the chicken and sauce with a serving of unbuttered white or brown rice.

Crunchy oven-baked chicken with speedy apricot sauce

Makes 4 servings

nonstick cooking spray

4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (about 4 ounces each)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 3/4 cups cornflake cereal

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves

1 egg white

SPEEDY APRICOT SAUCE:

3 tablespoons sugar-free apricot fruit spread

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

2 tablespoons low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth

1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Sprinkle the chicken lightly with the salt and pepper. Place the cornflake cereal in a food processor, blender or heavy-duty plastic bag. Add the thyme leaves and tarragon and pulverize the cereal into tiny crumbs.

Place the egg white in one shallow dish and place the cornflake crumbs in another. Dip the chicken in the egg white and dredge in the cornflake crumbs. Fold the thin, pointed ends of the chicken under the thick end to form a rough square shape. (This helps the chicken cook evenly.) Sprinkle any leftover cornflake crumbs on top of the chicken. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is firm to the touch and opaque.

While the chicken is cooking, combine the apricot fruit spread, mustard and chicken broth in a microwave-safe dish. Heat on high (100 percent) power for 30 second intervals, stirring frequently, until the fruit spread has melted and the sauce is hot. Stir in the soy sauce. Serve the sauce on the side of the chicken or drizzle lightly on top.

Per serving (with sauce): 251 calories; 23 g protein; 18.6 g carbohydrate; 9 g fat; 94.5 mg cholesterol; 489 mg sodium.

Pub Date: 7/03/96

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