Almond Crusted Chicken with Cherry Balsamic Sauce – Improv Cooking Challenge

OK, last month I took the easy road with Strawberries & Cream Improv Cooking Challenge, simply whipping up a Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie (and then proceeded to accidentally delete one of my most popular posts, so if you go back and re-read it, sorry.  At least the recipe is there).  So this time, I decided to take the Challenge head-on.  Meaning I went savory with the Cherries & Almonds.

Almond Chicken with Cherry Balsamic Sauce 5

I figured that there will be lots of cakes, muffins, pies, cobblers, crumbles, and the like.  Which I am sure will all be fabulous.  And I know everybody loves to look at pretty pictures of delicious desserts.  But I thought I would be a little different.  And maybe everyone will need a break from the sweet stuff, right?

And this looks pretty delicious, right?

Almond Chicken with Cherry Balsamic Sauce 1

I am always trying to come up with gluten-free ways to “crunchify” my chicken that don’t require buying special ingredients, like gluten-free bread crumbs.  So I thought that almonds would make a great chicken coating.  Then I saw this Apricot-Balsamic Chicken from Recipe Girl.  The sauce sounded really good, and I know cherries pair well with balsamic vinegar, so I figured I could just use cherry preserves in place of the apricot.  Her recipe called for a simple sautéed chicken breast, but I thought that using the sauce with an almond-crusted chicken breast would bring in some additional elements of texture and flavor.

Now you know I am a total fan of sweet and savory, so this was a perfect combination for me.  Then you had the sharpness of the vinegar, and the crunch of the chicken.  Rich without being unhealthy.  Total contrast, and yet balance.  Served with some simple steamed broccoli (which I dipped in more of the sauce) and brown rice, and you have a fairly simple dinner that is full of flavor.

Almond Chicken with Cherry Balsamic Sauce 4

Chicken, nuts, fruit, balsamic vinegar.  Now all I need is some cheese.  Oh, wait, I did add cheese to the mix.  The next day for lunch, I chopped up some of the chicken on a salad, sprinkled on some crumbled goat cheese, and thinned out some of the leftover sauce with additional balsamic vinegar for a dressing.  Oh boy oh boy oh boy, salad with fruit and cheese!!

For anyone new to my blog, and as a reminder to others, the Improv Challenge is a blog hop where a theme is given, which is two assigned ingredients, then it is up to the participating bloggers to let the creative juices flow, and see what they can come up with.  Then on the third Thursday of the month, we will all publish our new recipes based on the theme.  If you are have a blog and would like to join us, click on the picture to the below to learn more.

Improv Challenge

And check out the links at the bottom of this post to see what the other Improvers came up with.

Almond Chicken with Cherry Balsamic Sauce 2Do you have any creative ideas for “crunchifying” your chicken, with or without gluten?

5.0 from 5 reviews

Almond Crusted Chicken with Cherry Balsamic Sauce
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Ingredients
For the chicken:
  • About 1 lb thinly sliced chicken breasts, or chicken breasts pounded thin
  • ¼ c plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ t kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 1¼ c slivered almonds
For the sauce:
  • 1 t olive or vegetable oil
  • ½ c sweet onion, chopped (I used a Vidalia)
  • 1½ t fresh thyme, minced
  • ¼ t kosher salt
  • pepper
  • ½ c cherry preserves
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
Instructions
For the chicken:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil or cooking spray.
  2. Combine the Greek yogurt, salt, and pepper in a bowl or plastic bag.
  3. Add the chicken, and mix to completely coat each piece.
  4. Place the almond in a shallow dish.
  5. Dip the coated chicken into the almonds to cover on both sides, and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
For the sauce:
  1. While the chicken is cooking, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the salt, pepper, and thyme, and saute for another minute or two.
  4. Add the preserves and vinegar, and stir until preserves melt and sauce is heated through.
  5. Serve over chicken.
Notes
This recipe was adapted from Recipe Girl’s Apricot-Balsamic Chicken

 

Enjoy!

Almond Chicken with Cherry Balsamic Sauce 3

This recipe was shared with:

Amee’s Savory Dish Fit and Fabulous Fridays #37

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Comments

  1. says

    hmmmmmmmmm! I was wondering about trying to make something-cherry-balsamic…
    Now I don’t have to experiment — your sauce looks quite tasty. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. says

    Think you nailed it! Saw your recipe link up on the Challenge and thought “not a dessert, gotta check this one out”. Sounds super yummy – especially the salad. Pinning.

  3. says

    Love your Improv Challenge recipe Brianne! It’s so easy to make a dessert with cherries and almonds as the main ingredients. Yours is quite unique, yet looks just as delicious!

    I find the sauce especially interesting. I’ve yet to try a fruit and balsamic sauce, though I hear they’re very tasty. I’m bookmarking your recipe to try at some point!

  4. says

    Kudos to you Brianne for making the most savory dish with the challenge ingredients! I love mixing fruit with chicken or pork and this looks just fabulous! That crunchy almond chicken looks amazing!

  5. says

    Oh, that looks delicious! Unfortunately, I’m the only one in my family who will eat fruit with meat — everyone else thinks it’s weird :( No duck l’orange. No roast pork with apples. No brisket with apricots and prunes.

    I made a savory recipe, too. #19 “Cherry Almond Chicken Salad,” if you want to take a look.

  6. says

    Too funny how you and I both went with chicken, but in opposite ways. I coated mine in cherries and topped it with almonds and you coated yours in almonds and topped it with cherries! Love it! Definitely going to try that almond coating sometime. Looks delicious.

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