grilled chicken recipe

Grilled Chicken Thighs & Apricots

As the days grow warmer, we tend to migrate outdoors for family meal time in the southwest desert sunshine.  A favorite dinnertime plan around here, grilling is a "cool" way to keep family dinners “hot” (and keep the heat of cooking out of the kitchen!) 

This recipe is an easy way to sweeten up an old go-to: chicken thighs! Enjoy this Grilled Chicken Thighs & Apricots recipe with your own family as an everyday favorite, or wow your summer company with the visual appeal and taste of this superstar dish!

It looks like such a fancy dish, but actually only takes about 15-20 minutes to have ready. Easy and practical is how we do it here in the FRESH Start test kitchens!

Grilled Chicken Thighs & Apricots

Golden grilled chicken thighs with apricots.jpg

How To Make It

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1/4 cup lower-sugar apricot jam (briskly stirred with 1/4 cup water to make nectar)

  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh mint (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 Tbsp apple cider

  • 1/2 tsp curry powder (optional)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 4 medium apricots, halved and pitted

  • 2 green onions, chopped

  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios (optional)

  • 1/2 tsp dijon or yellow mustard

Instructions:

  1. Making the sauce: Combine half the nectar, half the mint, the olive oil, vinegar and curry and garlic in a bowl and whisk briskly together. Place the chicken thighs in a gallon-size plastic bag, and pour the mixture in the bowl over them. Seal bag, turn it to coat all the chicken, and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

  2. Remove chicken from the bag and throw away the used marinade.

  3. Grill chicken on low-medium heat for about 12-15 minute or until no longer pink (180 degrees F on meat thermometer)

  4. Turn the thighs once midway through grilling.

  5. During the last 5 minutes of grilling the chicken, place the apricots on grill, flesh side down and grill until lightly browned and softened.

  6. For finishing sauce: combine the remaining half of the nectar in bowl with the green onions, pistachios, and mustard and whisk them all together. Drizzle over chicken and apricots right before serving.

NOTE: As with all our recipes, cutting costs and keeping it simple stay at the center - feel free to make this recipe without the pistachios, curry and any of the other higher-cost ingredients if necessary. It’s still a tasty and filling dish even if altered!

IMPORTANT: Our recipes are always portioned to serve around 4 people. Just double the ingredients if you’re feeding a larger family or cut them in half if it’s for 1-2 adults.

What do you think, does this recipe sound like a winner?

I would love to hear about your family's favorite grilling recipes and tips over on our community Facebook page FRESH Start for Health!

How to Grill Chicken & Salmon

Grilling is one of the reasons I enjoy summer so much. The fact that I live in Arizona means I get to do more of it than just during the summer months too! Yep, I’m able to grill year ‘round here. Talk about a happy girl!

Have you discovered the benefit of grilling for a healthier dinner meal plan? SO easy, so light, so yummy!

Here's some specific ideas to help you make healthier (and yummier) salmon and chicken on the grill for your healthy dinners at home.

Tender & Savory Basic Grilled Salmon.jpg

How to Create Tender, Savory Salmon on the Grill

  • If salmon is frozen, thaw completely.

  • Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat, lay salmon filets out on flat pan or plate.

  • Squeeze 1 full lemon evenly over the salmon.

  • Sprinkle 3-4 garlic cloves, minced, over the fish.

  • Press the garlic into the flesh.

  • Sprinkle freshly cracked black pepper over salmon and salt lightly.

  • Sprinkle ground onion, ground garlic, paprika and a light shake of chili powder if you like a little more flavor.

  • Place salmon on light spritz of olive oil on aluminum foil packet on grill (if it has skin, you can place directly on grill plate - tastes better this way, in my opinion.

  • Your fillets are now ready to grill slowly over low heat, for about 15 minutes, or until done.

Additional Tip: Use fresh herbs, like dill, for extra flavor over salmon.

chicken and peppers cropped.jpg

Grilling Tips for Pull-Apart Chicken Breasts

  • Buy full boneless skinless breasts instead of tenderloins to save money.

  • Cut chicken breasts into 2-3 pieces (tenderloin-style) to promote quicker cooking and portion control.

  • Marinate breast pieces in a small amount of Italian salad dressing. I use Italian dressing because it’s a neutral flavor, keeps the chicken moist and from getting slimy/tasting weird as the week progresses.

Make Ahead Tips: Grill enough on Sunday for meals through Wednesday, then midweek, grill a new batch for the remainder of the week’s meals.

Cooking ahead like this cuts your prep time down and is a delicious grab and make option for those days you don’t want to be in the kitchen too long. 

Cooking for meals ahead of time will give you a quick protein choice for soups, salads, pastas, and sandwiches. It will be easier to stick with a healthier meal plan when you have these ready to grab and add, versus cooking them separately for each day’s meals.

Tenderness Tip:  Be sure to grill the chicken until JUST done (they’ll be white, NO pinkness), on medium heat.  If you grill them on high heat or too quickly, you’ll end up with tough meat!

Coaching tip: I've had people ask me about the "alleged" link between cooking on a grill and cancer. After researching this specific topic even further, I’ve found that so far, research has not concluded that grilling causes cancer. However, cooking foods too fast, at too high of a temperature and for too long can release carcinogenic compounds that contribute to some cancers.

So a good rule of thumb for safely grilling is:

Cook (and Grill) Low and Slow!

Got some of your own grilling tips you’d like to share?

Leave your grilling secrets in the comments below or feel free to share them with us in our (free) FRESH Start Club!

Asian-Inspired Grilled Chicken Thighs

Ready for a new and easy way to cook up a batch of chicken thighs for your loves? These Asian-Inspired Grilled Chicken Thighs will wow your family, yet keep you OUT of your kitchen!

I was ready for a dinner idea like that, too! Even with all the experimenting I do in creating foods that my picky eaters will actually enjoy (but don't take all day in the kitchen to prepare!) I get a little bored in our same old-same old choices! This easy recipe was just the fix.

We all know that boneless, skinless chicken is a better bet for our healthy eating plans than skin-on. NOT eating the skin can save you too much fat, empty calories and cholesterol-raising trouble! Yet, finding FRESH ideas that don't break the bank or the taste buds, that's where the challenge happens...

Once you try this delicious recipe, let us know if you'll be adding it to your family favorites from now on! I'm sure you're going to love it.

Here's how to make it:

Ingredients

Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey
  • 3 minced garlic cloves

    Chicken:
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Garnish:
  • 3-5 diced Green Onions
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Whisk the vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sweetener and garlic in a bowl until blended. Pour half the marinade into a large zipper bag; keep the other half of the sauce set aside in the bowl.
  2. Place the chicken thighs into the bag containing marinade, squeeze all the air out of the bag, and seal. Shake a few times to coat chicken with marinade.
  3. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
  4. Grill the coated chicken over medium heat until done.
  5. While the chicken is grilling, pour the other half of the marinade into a small saucepan over medium heat.
  6. Bring marinade to a soft boil, cooking for 3 to 5 minutes, to thicken sauce.
  7. After the chicken is finished grilling, baste with the additional, thickened marinade and sprinkle diced green onions and sesame seeds over the thighs before serving.

Easy enough, right? I especially love how FEW INGREDIENTS are needed for this recipe. You can serve it over a FRESH salad, with grilled veggies like zucchini or eggplant or mushrooms, OR with a delicious fried rice!

For more delicious (and EASY!) recipes like this one, visit our Recipe Box here!