chicken

Crispy Baked Chicken Leg Quarters

With the prices of beef, pork, and chicken all on the rise this year, budget-concious cooks have to try a little harder to keep costs under control. When it comes to chicken, three things can usually save you money: skin, bones, and dark meat. (Buying larger “value packs” can also save money, but food waste can be a bigger issue if you live alone.) Bonus: those cost-saving traits also make for tastier meat.

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I love chicken leg quarters as single-serving, economical main dishes that also taste great. Four quarters costs about $5, regularly priced. For this recipe, I used low-sodium soy sauce, which provides a flavorful foundation. Workhorse seasonings – garlic and onion powder, Lawry’s seasoning, and pepper — go with everything and cost (at most) pennies per meal. Paired with your choice of seasonal vegetables, this entire meal can easily come together for under $10, or $2.50 per serving.

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Crispy Baked Chicken Leg Quarters

4 skin-on, bone-in chicken leg quarters
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Seasoning salt
Black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil.

Trim any excess fat from chicken. Use your fingers to separate the skin from the meat, eithout completely detaching it (you will end up with a “flap” of skin). Using a silicone basting brush,  generously brush soy sauce under skin. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, and seasoning salt.

Arrange chicken skin-side up in baking dish. Generously brush with additional soy sauce. Sprinkle with seasoning salt and pepper.

Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Increase temperature to 400 degrees; bake an additional 15 minutes until chicken is done and skin is crispy. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. 

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Citrus-Marinated Chicken Thighs

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Chicken thighs are the unsung heroes of economical, healthy cooking, and this simple citrus marinade makes them really shine. I come back to it again and again.

This dish is fairly quick, flavorful, and versatile. I’ve used this recipe with both bone-in and boneless varieties, although bone-in hold up a bit better — especially if you decide you’d rather grill outdoors than broil, which works well too!

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A few tips for marinading: you want both an acid (citrus) and an oil. Use a glass container or plastic bag, not metal, and keep the meat in the refrigerator. With chicken, don’t marinade longer than 2 hours.

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The chicken and reserved sauce are fantastic served over roasted spaghetti squash or pasta and  a large helping of broccoli, or try it with a bed of your favorite greens. Next time, try a double batch of the marinade and use it for grilled or roasted vegetables.

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Citrus-Marinated Chicken Thighs

From Bon Appetit

Makes 4 servings (2 thighs per person)

1 bunch scallions (green onions), white and light green parts only
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
8 chicken thighs, preferably bone-in, skin-on (about 2 pounds)

If you like raw scallions, finely chop them and set aside 1/4 cup.

Place all ingredients except chicken into a food processor or blender and pulse until a coarse purée forms. Set aside 1/4 cup marinade; place remaining marinade in a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, seal bag, and turn to coat. Chill at least 20 minutes, but no more than 2 hours.

Preheat broiler. Line a broiler-proof baking sheet with foil. Remove chicken from marinade and place skin side down on baking sheet; discard marinade. Broil chicken until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Turn; continue to broil until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°, 12–15 minutes longer.

Serve chicken with reserved marinade and scallions, if desired.

Sriracha-Glazed Drumsticks

On the weeks I’m super-organized and inspired, I go to the store on Sundays with a week’s worth of menus already planned and a full shopping list. Other weeks, I might have an idea or two, but I look to the market or store for inspiration. What’s in season? What looks delicious? What’s on sale? (With any luck, at least two of those three questions intersect.)

One of the things I picked up on this weekend’s shopping trip was chicken drumsticks, which are both economical and tasty. I cobbled together a marinade and roasted the chicken with some sweet potato wedges, and served it with a salad.

Sorry, no picture. I forgot all about it until well past dinner.

Sriracha-Glazed Drumsticks

Serves 3-4

1 1/2-2 pounds chicken drumsticks (6-8 drumsticks)
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons (or more) Sriracha sauce
3 tablespoons honey (or your sweetener of choice)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger

Pat chicken dry and season generously with salt. Combine all remaining ingredients in a large zip-top bag. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Shake excess marinade off chicken and arrange in a glass baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through. Meanwhile, place remaining marinade in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low and let the mixture thicken slightly. Add heated marinade to the pan of chicken, tossing to coat. Cook an additional 10 minutes until chicken is done and sauce has thickened.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let the mixture thicken slightly.