If you are looking for a way to spice up chicken, there are so many recipes out there to choose from, you can get lost.
Baked chicken dinners provide a low-maintenance, easy way to prepare a leaner, healthier dinner. However, if you do not prepare the chicken correctly, you can end up with something as dry as that turkey they served in Christmas Vacation.
When it comes to chicken, anything that you plan on baking needs to be marinated in some kind of sauce or have some ingredient stuffed inside or in the baking pan to help it stay moist and tender throughout the process. There are many different options such as adding salt in and around the chicken or adding water in the baking pan to create a constant source of steam. If you do plan on adding water or lemon juice to the bottom of the pan, cover it during the baking process with aluminum foil to keep the moisture inside.
Another popular method of keeping moisture in a chicken while baking is to glaze it with something. The choices here are endless, but go beyond the traditional choice of barbecue sauce and make your own recipes.
With that in mind, here are three of my favorite options.
Baked Chicken with Apple Jelly and Worcestershire Sauce
I know, this one sounds a little strange, but experiment with your own favorite jam.
- 1 whole chicken or 1 kg of chicken breasts
- 1 whole onion
- Apple jam
- Worcestershire sauce
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the chicken thoroughly under running cold water then dry it off. Cut it into 8 -10 pieces. Cut the onion into many slices.
Arrange the pieces on the baking dish and spread the onion slices all around. Add 1 spoon of apple jam on each piece and smooth it out. Next, pour Worcestershire sauce over everything.
Now the pan is ready for the oven. Place the dish in the oven and cook for 1 hour, basting the chicken with Worcestershire sauce three separate time while it is baking to keep it moist. After about an hour, poke it with a fork and verify that the juice is clear. If so, remove it from the oven and let it set for 5 minutes. It should be golden brown.Credit: Daniel Sone via Wikicommons
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Baked Chicken and Onions
If you are afraid of using coconut oil, you can use traditional vegetable oil. I like to try to make it healthier though, but you may lose some flavor by using coconut oil over vegetable or virgin olive oil.
- 4 large chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp. of coconut oil
- 2 tbsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. of ground pepper
- 1 tsp. of paprika
- 2 sliced onions
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
Wash the chicken under cold water and dry. Cut the breasts into 8 to 10 pieces and place them in a 13x9 inch baking dish. I like to use a glass Pyrex dish.
If your coconut oil has solidified, melt it in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Sprinkle the coconut oil on the pieces, then season with salt and pepper. Turn the pieces over to coat the other side.
Place the onion slices on top of the chicken, and then sprinkle everything with paprika. When paprika is baked or grilled in a pan on chicken, it forms a hardened, seared outer layer which looks and tastes great.
Put the dish in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes depending on the size of your oven. I used a convection oven so it tends to cook a little faster. You may need to cook it from 5 to 10 more minutes if you have a regular oven.
While it is baking, move the chicken and onions occasionally then check after 40 minutes to see if the juice in the chicken is clear. The chicken should be golden brown and ready to serve. It is great with rice, potatoes or any kind of beans or vegetables.
Baked Chicken Wings with Coconut Milk and Chili Powder
If you ever want to make any recipe taste better, soak the chicken in either coconut milk or buttermilk before preparing the dish. Both will add flavor and keep the chicken tender.
- 1 kg of chicken wings
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 1/2 cup of chili powder
- 4 tbsp. of coriander
It is better if you have the time to leave them overnight in the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Soak the chicken wings in the milk of your choice in large bowl, and then add the chili powder and coriander and mix thoroughly. Make sure that each wing is covered with the mixture. Allow them to marinate for several hours in the refrigerator.
After several hours, put the wings on a cookie sheet close together. Pour the rest of the marinate sauce over the wings on the pan. Now you are ready for the baking.
Bake the wings for about 30 minutes until they turn brown. You will probably smell them before that. Serve immediately with your side item of choice. I love French fries with this recipe.
The wings will have a tangy taste that you will find very appealing. You can also experiment with other types of spices. Sometimes I use thyme or an Italian seasoning mixture.
If you want your chicken to retain as much moisture as possible while baking, be sure to cover the pan with some sort of top, typically aluminum foil, and cook it slowly. If you raise the temperature of the oven beyond 350 degrees F, you run the risk of having to cook unevenly and dry it out in my experience.
Experiment with some of the recipes above or create your own. Just remember to marinate the chicken in something before baking, or apply oil, butter or some sort of glaze to the outside of the chicken to help it retain the moisture.
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