A Great Date Night

As Valentine’s Day approaches, are you considering staying in rather than going out? Just think of the major headache you can save yourself (traffic, crowds, long waits) and you can even help to keep your waistline trim in the process. Not to mention, cooking for someone, or with someone, is incredibly romantic! You can dress up or enjoy your home cooked meal in your pajamas…either way, you’ll get to fully savor a meal you made (or made together) and know that you’ve saved yourself a plenty of unnecessary calories and money. It’s a win-win!

Dressed Up Chicken

Chicken is a great choice for Valentine’s Day because there are a lot of ways to dress it up, so to speak, but it’s also good for you. As a lean meat, it’s low in fat and calories while still being a great source of protein. Chicken contains selenium, which has antioxidant properties to help prevent cell damage from free radicals and boost the immune system, along with choline, which helps fight inflammation and promotes nerve function. It also contains B vitamins that help your body convert carbs into sugar and increase the production of sex and stress-reducing hormones. Not bad for a Valentine’s Day dinner, right?

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This week we’ll feature three recipes, all geared towards a great Valentine’s Day meal. Keep an eye out on Wednesday for an easy green bean recipe to accompany your Cherry BBQ Chicken!

Cherry BBQ Chicken (Serves 4)

CherryChicken1

Cooking spray

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4-5 ounces each)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup cherry preserves

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

¼ cup tomato sauce

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cover a large, rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.
  3. In a small dish, combine salt, pepper, and cumin. Mix well.
  4. Season chicken breasts with spice mixture.
  5. To a saucepan warmed over medium heat, add preserves, vinegar, tomato sauce, mustard, Worcestershire, and smoked paprika. Mix well.
  6. Bring sauce to a small boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to simmer for approximately 5 minutes.cherrychicken5.jpg
  7. Lightly baste the chicken breasts with the sauce.
  8. Allow to rest covered at least 30 minutes (but up to 8 hours) then place cookie sheet into oven.
  9. Cook approximately 30 minutes (or until juices run clear), removing chicken to baste once mid-way.cherrychicken3.jpg
  10. Remove from oven and allow to rest between 5 and 10 minutes.
  11. To serve, plate chicken and cover with one additional tablespoon of sauce.

Recipe Notes

  • If you want to make this meal only for two, just half the recipe ingredients; the cooking time will remain the same.
  • You can substitute the chicken with a one-pound pork tenderloin. Simply follow the same instructions for seasoning and marinating. Place into an oven preheated to 400ºF. Bake 25-35 minutes, basting once midway through cooking.
  • You can substitute the cherry preserves for strawberry, grape, or orange preserves (really any flavor), and can use a no-sugar added option as well.
  • Smoked paprika has a really great smoky smell and flavor, but if you don’t have it or you can’t find it in the store, you can substitute regular paprika.
  • You can make your sauce a day or two ahead of time and store in an air-tight container in the fridge to save time.

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