I admit that I absolutely love to collect cookbooks, especially cookbooks that have a history or story along with the recipe. I think it is fascinating to look back throughout history to see what events were going on in the world that forced or inspired people to come up with the dishes that they have. Maybe it is because I am an English and History Major? Who knows, but what ever the reason, it drives my husband nuts. I will often find myself reading a magazine and telling him about a recipe. Instead of leaving it at that, I have to read it to him and try to get him just as caught up as I am. Yes, I recite all the ingredients, one by one. Sorry to say, he just doesn't get it. He honestly could care less as long as it taste good and prefers not to get caught up in the details, but rather the eating of it.
Coming from a long line of great Southern cooks, who had to improvise and make do with what they had, I too have learned a lot about cooking, improvising, and how ingredients come together to make a great dish. I can generally read a recipe and tell you if it will be good or what it will need to make it better. Having said that, I have to admit that my mother-in-law cooked a dish that I have turned my nose up to several times when I got a UTAH cookbook. Yes, I said Utah, because there are certain recipes that Utah wives get a hold of and then they are in every church cook book throughout the state. Forever and ever, Amen. The recipe that I am talking about has been referred to many different names, such as Apricot Chicken, Catalina Chicken, Russian Chicken and so forth. I am sure most of you have tried it before.
Why have I turned my nose up you might ask? Well, upon reading the ingredients, it not only sounded strange, but didn't sound the least bit appetizing. However, I realized that I could only go through life missing "my chance" so many times. I might as well get it over with. We decided to put it in the crock pot while we were at church for three hours. When our family arrived home, we made the rice and sat down to eat.
I must admit, it was pretty darn good. My kids lapped it up and have requested it again. I made it last night for the first time. It was as good as I remember, only better. You remember that I told you I love to add to? Well, I decided that it would be better with different sliced bell peppers, onions, and diced pineapple. You know what, I was right! There were no leftovers to be put away that night. Best of all, one pot to wash. Maybe there is something to those Utah women! Here's the recipe for those of you who have passed it up a time or two.
5-6 large, frozen chicken breast (yes frozen)
1 small jar apricot preserves (I like mine with pineapple in it)
1 small bottle Catalina salad dressing
1 pkg. Lipton onion soup mix
4-5 sweet bell peppers in different colors, sliced
1 sliced onion
1 can of pineapple tidbits, drained
Place all of the ingredients in a crockpot on high for 3 hours. When you get home, start your rice. While rice is cooking, take a metal spatual and shread the chicken into bite size pieces. When rice is done, serve Apricot Chicken over it. Yummy! No need to thaw the chicken. It has just enough water in it to make the chicken tender and not taste like rubber! LOL!