Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs

Chicken again? Definitely! I have been making a version of this roasted chicken recipe for years. It is SO EASY. It only has 6 ingredients, including salt, pepper and olive oil! I make it to entertain with or just on a weeknight for my family.  This feeds my family of 5 with enough for leftovers! Bonus, if you keep scrolling, I have a great recipe to transform the leftovers.

Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

About 3 pounds of chicken thighs (brined if you like)

¼ cup of lemon juice

3 Tablespoons of honey

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dry off the chicken thighs. Whisk together lemon juice, honey and olive oil in a medium sized bowl. Coat chicken with mixture and place in a roasting pan. Cook covered for 20 minutes, rotate pan and then cook for 30 more minutes uncovered. (Reserve juices in roasting pan for leftover recipe below)

To keep it simple, I recently served this with a new favorite product from Wegman’s, 90 Second Steamables, Savory Long Grain and Wild Rice, which one of my 6 year olds made by himself (2 bags for our family) and microwave in a bag green beans, which the other 6 year old made. The clean plate club was full that night!

This also made an incredible leftover dish based on an old favorite from Bertucci’s, Chicken Broccoli and Rigatoni in Cream sauce. I used the juices from the roast chicken above with a dash of pepper and some milk for the sauce. Heat the juices and keep adding a little milk at a time, until it tastes the way you want it. Cut up the remaining chicken and a head of broccoli. Toss everything together with your favorite pasta and it is a delicious meal!

What ways to do you like to cook chicken? How do you use your leftovers? We learn from each other, so comment and let me know!

Here are some of my other favorite chicken recipes:

Spatchcocked Herb Roasted Chicken

One Pot Roast Chicken with Tomato Sauce

Apricot Glazed Chicken Wings

Easy Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

If I want to have a quiet dinner in my house, I serve ribs. My kids love them. Especially one of my boys. He loves to talk, but put some ribs in front of him and he will be completely silent and just eat and eat and eat and eat 🙂

Ribs are best when cooked low and slow and they practically fall off of the bone. This recipe will make your house smell amazing and wow your family at dinner or friends at your next tailgate or game day gathering!

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

Ingredients

15 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 clove of garlic (minced)

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 Tablespoon chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

6 Tablespoon of brown sugar

3 Tablespoons of honey mustard

3 Tablespoons of soy sauce

5 Tablespoons of cider vinegar

3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce

1 rack of ribs (2 to 3 pounds), brined

5 sprigs of thyme

3 small onions, sliced

Directions

Mix all ingredients together, except for ribs, thyme and onions.

Turn your slow cooker on high and add the ribs. Pour half of the sauce on the ribs, reserve the rest of later. Add thyme and onions to slowcooker as well and mix with the ribs and sauce.

Cover and cook on high for 1 hour and 30, minutes and on low for another 2-3 hours.  Take ribs out, put on platter and top with the remaining sauce.

You don’t have to brine the ribs, but do it once and you will know why I brine all my pork and poultry. I have even tried it with beef, using pickling spices and it had a mild corned beef flavor. Delicious!

Serve with the apricot wings I posted earlier in the week and some easy appetizers if making for a party. For dinner, I often serve it with polenta and green beans.

Butter, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme: How to make a compound butter

Yes, I am spending an entire post writing about butter. Butter is an essential part of Thanksgiving. You rub it all over the turkey, spread it on warm rolls just out of the oven, put butter in the stuffing, melt it on top of roasted squash, cream together in the mashed potatoes and use it to finish off the gravy. I could keep going! I hope Julia Child would be proud.

butter

Because butter is such a big part of the meal, I like to make it more flavorful. It is very easy to do. Make a compound butter. That is a fancy name for a butter that you add flavor to. I usually make it a day or two before Thanksgiving. You can even make it today!

Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Lemon Compound Butter

compound-butter-mixture

Ingredients

1 ½ cups of unsalted butter (3 sticks), softened/room temperature

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage

1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme

zest of one lemon

1 teaspoon of salt

A pinch of pepper

Directions

compound-butter

With a fork, mash together all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Take 3-4 tablespoons of the butter and place on a small rectangle of parchment paper and make it into a roll. Place in fridge to cool, until Thanksgiving morning. Take it out, unroll it onto a plate and it will be ready for your table! This can be for your table for your guests to melt on warm rolls. The remainder of the butter should be covered and placed into the refrigerator until Wednesday night. Leave it on the counter so that it is spreadable on Thursday when you start to cook.

compound-butter-roll

If your stuffing mix or stuffing already has seasoning, use plain butter. Otherwise you can use this on any other part of the main meal.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions about your Thanksgiving meal!

Other helpful Thanksgiving posts:

Appetizer ideas for Thanksgiving

Cooking your Thanksgiving Turkey

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish: My Favorite! Acorn Squash

I guess Thanksgiving is coming soon!  – Great make ahead mashed potato recipe!

Happy Cooking!

Cooking your Thanksgiving Turkey

I decided to post a bonus blog today, since Thanksgiving is next week and I have barely even mentioned the star of the show: the turkey! Everyone has their opinions on the best way to cook a turkey, so here is mine 🙂 First of all, if you are buying a frozen turkey, get it today or tomorrow, so that it has time to defrost safely or buy a fresh one on Monday. I started brining my turkey a few years ago and it makes such a huge difference in flavor. Don’t be scared, its easy!

Step One: Buy Turkey

Can turkeys have gluten? Yes they can. Many times poultry is injected with broth before you buy it. Make sure the brand you are buying or have ordered is gluten free. Butterball and Shady Brook Farms both say on their website that they are gluten free. Most of the time when you order a fresh one from a farm, they have not been injected with anything, just ask.

If frozen, let it thaw for 2 -3 days in a refrigerator or keep on ice in a cooler where the temperature doesn’t go above about 40 degrees.

Step Two: Butcher the Turkey (optional – you can still follow the other steps if you keep the turkey whole)

butchering-turkey

I have been doing this for years, after listening to some professional chefs talk about making the turkey this way. I separate the dark meat from the light meat but keep all the bones in. There are many YouTube videos on how to do this. If you do not want to do this, buy a fresh turkey and ask if the butcher will do it. Whole Foods has done it for me in the past, when I’ve asked ahead of time. My Dad did the honors last year as I was so sick I could barely stand! (I cooked the rest of the meal the next day with a surgical mask on).

Save the giblets, the stuff inside the bag! Keep reading and you see how it helps make the most delicious gravy.

Step Three: Brine the Turkey

brine-for-turkey

Get a large bucket. I use a bright orange one from Home Depot that serves as my brining bucket. I have found that using a oven bag designed for turkeys in the bucket, makes clean up easier.

Basic Brine Recipe (inspired by this one from Our Best Bites)

Ingredients

2 cups of salt

2 cups of brown sugar

1 cup of peppercorns

3 Tablespoons of coriander seeds

12 small sage leaves, roughly torn

8 sprigs of fresh thyme

4 stems of fresh rosemary

4 Tablespoons of onion powder

2 Tablespoons of cumin

8 cloves of garlic, smashed

20 cups of water (may need more water to cover turkey)

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a large stock pot. I use a lobster pot. Cook on medium high until it boils. Take off the heat and let it cool.

Once the brine is cool, you can pour it over the turkey inside the bag in the bucket. Add more water or even ice to the brine if the 12 cups do not completely immerse your turkey. If your garage is cool enough or you have a refrigerator that can fit the bucket great. If not keep ice and ice packs around it and change every few hours so that the temperature stays under 40 degrees.

Brining for a couple of days or even one day will help enhance the flavor and juiciness of your turkey. I am also building in an extra day for the turkey to “dry” in my refrigerator outside the brine, as I heard that it will allow the skin to crisp up more. I’ll let you know if that works.

Step Four: Cooking the Turkey

turkey-in-oven-bag

If you did not butcher your turkey, put the whole turkey into an oven bag on top of a bed of onions, garlic, chopped carrots, celery and fresh herbs. I even throw in a couple of sliced lemons for the bed of the turkey. Remember to shake gluten free flour or cornstarch around inside the bag first!

Stuff some of the bed into the cavity of the turkey or if you did butcher it, you’ll have just the turkey breasts still on the bone. Rub butter or olive oil all over the turkey. I often make a compound butter (fancy name for mixing some of the herbs, salt, pepper and lemon zest in with some softened butter) and spread that all over. Close up the bag and cook accordingly with how many pounds of turkey you have. The breasts alone will cook faster. I roast it at 375 until the breast registers about 170 degrees. The dark meat (wings, etc should register about 180 degrees).

braising-turkey

If you braved the butchering, the dark meat is braised on the stove. A large heavy bottomed pot is what you will need. First brown the meat and then add onions, garlic, chopped carrots and celery with fresh sage, thyme and rosemary. Pour chicken or turkey stock about 1/2 up the meat. Add the giblets and make sure they are covered with stock. Braise for about 1.5 to 2 hours until the meat registers 180 degrees. Save the braising liquid to make the gravy!

Let the turkey rest for 30 to 45 minutes before carving!

cooked-turkey-breast

Step Five: The Gravy

Pour the braising liquid through a strainer and then pour it into a sauce pot on medium heat. Let it reduce a little and then taste it. Add 1 Tablespoon of corn starch and whisk.  Repeat adding 1/2 teaspoon at a time until it is the consistency you would like. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Just before serving, add a tablespoon of butter and whisk it in.

I serve gravy in insulated coffee mugs. That way it doesn’t get cold! Not fancy, but practical. I think everyone has come to expect the old Westlaw mug at the table 🙂

Ok. Breathe. That seems like a lot of work, but it is so worth it!  This is the star of the show. The actual cooking time is shorter when you cook the dark and light meat separate.

Please let me know if you have questions. There are buttons all over this page now that will put you in touch with me or make a comment and I’ll respond!

If you have missed any of my recent Thanksgiving posts, here are some easy gluten-free side dish ideas:

My Favorite! Acorn Squash

Holiday Mashed Potatoes

Breakfast for Dinner

An easy way to get dinner on the table during the week or at the end of any busy day is to have breakfast for dinner. We have breakfast for dinner at least once a week in our house. Depending on how busy we are, it can be anything: eggs, pancakes, frozen waffles, toast, quiche, frittatas or just cereal and fruit. Breakfast for dinner can be a fun way to get a meal on the table quickly. With activities, sports and back-to-school nights on top of work, homework and just trying to spend time with your kids, for many cooking is the last thing you want to do when you all walk in the door.  Hopefully these recipes will help take some stress off of you.
Easy Hard Boiled Eggs in the Oven  (adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/232024/hard-boiled-eggs-in-the-oven/)
Ingredients
12 eggs
Ice cubes in a large bowl with cold water
Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Put one egg into each muffin cup of a muffin tin
Bake in eggs in oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove and put the eggs into the ice bath for 5-10 minutes.
Peel and serve or refrigerate.

TIP: I make this for dinner one night and then have the eggs on hand for the next few days for a quick breakfast or a burst of protein to add to lunches or snacks.
Serve the eggs with yogurt or fruit or whatever you have on hand and you have a dinner on the table in about 30 minutes without much effort.
Now this next recipe is a little more involved, so if cooking relaxes you and you have some more time one night, try this oven baked “fried” chicken, served with cornbread waffles and peas. Take some help from the store and use your favorite cornbread mix. I like to use Wegman’s Gluten-Free Honey Cornbread mixture and add an extra egg and cook it in the waffle maker. For the peas, I put about 3 to 4 handfuls in a cereal bowl with a Tablespoon or two or water, salt and pepper, then microwave for 3 minutes with a small plate covering the bowl.
Oven Baked “Fried” Chicken


Ingredients
1 ½ to 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chicken tenders
3 cups of buttermilk (or 3 cups of milk + 2 Tablespoons of cider vinegar)
1 stick plus 2 Tablespoons of melted butter
2 cups of panko bread crumbs (use gluten-free if you are making it GF)
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons of cornstarch
Directions
Mix milk and cider vinegar or use buttermilk and soak the chicken for 15 to 30 minutes while you prepare the cornbread mixture. Remove from milk and pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Melt butter. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the panko, chili powder, black pepper and cornstarch.  Dip each piece of chicken into the butter and then the panko mixture and place on top of a baking rack inside a cookie sheet (that way the chicken will crisp all around).  Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the pan in the oven to ensure even cooking. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches about 180 degrees.
Optional:  Brine the chicken the day before if you have time or need to stretch the life of the chicken in the fridge for a day. Life happens and you can’t cook what you planned one night, so put the chicken in brine and make it the next night. This is my typical brine recipe that can easily be halved or doubled depending on the size of the poultry or amount of pork you want to brine. (Make sure poultry or meat does not smell rotten or is past due date when you put it in the brine)
Brine
Ingredients
½ cup black peppercorns
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
6 small sage leaves, torn (or rosemary or thyme)
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup of salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons onion powder
1 Tablespoon cumin powder
12 cups of water

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil. Boil for a couple of minutes and then allow to cool before you place the chicken or pork in the brine.

My kids look forward to breakfast for dinner and especially love when they can make it themselves. It is a good opportunity to get your kids in the kitchen and make you dinner! My 6 year olds can make yogurt parfaits for us or a bowl of cereal. My 8 year old makes the mixture or batter for scrambled eggs, frittatas or pancakes and then cooks it with our supervision.  Whether you want to make a quick and easy dinner or have something easy for your kids to try making, breakfast is always popular.