Easy Baked Chicken Recipe

When I lived in a co-op in college, everything was bought in bulk— rice, flour, oats, sugar, etc. So whenever my cooking partner Honor and I decided to make chicken for our assigned dinner night, we obviously had to get whole chickens. Since they were bought several days in advance, they came frozen, too. Which was fine, except when Honor and I forgot to thaw the chickens overnight in the fridge.

me & honor during a post-college kitchen reunion

me & honor

The scene the next afternoon would be this:

Me: Hey, what time do you think we should start cooking tonight?

Honor: Well, dinner’s at seven, the tabbouleh’s already in the fridge, the hummus shouldn’t take too long… how long do you think the chicken will take?

*beat*

Honor: Oh no.

Me: We forgot to defrost the chicken.

What would then follow was a series of creative defrosting attempts. If we remembered early enough, we’d put the chickens in the fridge. Then, that afternoon, we’d give them a cold water bath while we prepped everything else. Still, the chicken was often not completely thawed by the time we were planning to prep it for roasting. So we went to plan B: shish-kebabs. Honor would take a pair of sturdy kitchen scissors and cut the meat up into cubes, which she then marinated in some sort of lemon-y concoction while I attended to the rest of the dinner.

Whatever Honor made always tasted delicious. So much so, that I started paying attention to what she was putting into the marinade, and then experimenting with it myself— not with shish-kebab’d pieces, but with chicken thighs and tenders. Over the years, as I was only cooking for myself, it became my go-to recipe for baking moist chicken that was full of flavor. The best part is, you can marinate a bunch in advance, and then just pull out the pieces of chicken you want, bake those, and go. I like to eat it plain, but sometimes I also chop it up and serve it with rice, pasta, or over a salad.

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