A tasty solution to the great dinner dilemma

Aretha Franklin was once asked what her greatest creative challenge was and her answer was surprising.

"Trying to figure out what to cook for dinner... nightly."

The interviewer, Larry London, paused and laughed. Her honesty was refreshing and at the same time endearing because it made you realize that even the queen of soul had to think about dinner.

That's the problem with dinner; it's so nightly. Even if you love to cook it's easy to hit a creative challenge when planning so many meals. We all have a those five to 10 recipes that we tend to make again and again. That's why I'm always looking for new dinner ideas. Sometimes I find it in a cook book, newspaper article or blog.

However, the inspiration for this apricot and thyme chicken came from a magazine story about a roasted leg of lamb with apricots and thyme, which sounded wonderful. However, it wasn't a dish I could easily make on a weeknight. So, I decided to create a French inspired chicken with the same apricot and thyme flavors. This chicken has a delicious pan sauce with shallots, white wine and a touch of cream. I love to serve it with wild rice and roasted asparagus.

This elegant but easy dinner can be made in 30 minutes. It's one of those dishes that's fun to make because it tastes like you stepped out to dinner at a French bistro, only you don't have to travel far. So, if you are looking for a little dinner inspiration then I have a recipe that hits all the right notes for a delicious weeknight dinner - my apricot thyme chicken.

- Amy McCauley of Hinsdale is the paper's food columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].