If you enjoy sweet and savory combinations then our apricot chicken casserole is right up your alley. It’s a great way to put a delicious meal on the table without too much fuss, and on a busy weeknight, that’s just the kind of recipe we’re looking for! A warm sweet and savory sauce coats the chicken with delicious flavor and helps to keep the meat nice and moist as it bakes in the oven. One bite will have you absolutely convinced that this meal is truly something special.
Because we had a little extra time for prep, we decided to make our own salad dressing to give the meal a little freshness and some wonderful flavor. A homemade Catalina dressing is actually pretty simple and its ingredient list doesn’t go beyond what most of us already have in our pantry, spice drawer, and refrigerator, like ketchup, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Of course, it’s easy to grab a bottle of Catalina dressing from the grocery store, and for the sake of convenience, by all means, grab a bottle and use it here instead.
The sauce wouldn’t be complete without two ingredients: a package of onion soup and some apricot preserves which help to make the sauce both sweet and savory. Pour everything over the chicken pieces and bake – it’s really that simple! For both flavor, texture, and some garnish, we love to add a scoop of french-fried onions over the top. They compliment the onion that is already in the sauce and add a nice crunchy element too. We could eat a handful of those crispy fried onions on their own, but we have to first make sure there’s plenty to go around on the top of our chicken.
For weeknight cooking, our apricot chicken casserole is a really great way to prepare something that’s got a touch of homemade and is also simple to make. Especially when we’re short on time, not having too much prep work to put a dinner together can be a real life-saver!
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup apricot preserves
1 cup homemade Catalina salad dressing
1 (2 oz) package dry onion soup mix
1 cup crispy fried onions
Homemade Catalina dressing:
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup canola or a flavorless oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Whisk ketchup, sugar, vinegar, paprika, garlic powder, Worcestershire, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Slowly add in canola oil, whisking constantly to combine. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk in dried onion soup mix.
Add apricot preserves to dressing and whisk again to combine.
Place chicken breasts into the casserole dish and cover with apricot-Catalina mixture. Bake for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Remove from oven and garnish with crispy fried onions to serve.