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Cheap Chicken Thigh Dinner


Never mind the boneless, skinless chicken breasts, go for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for a better dinner. Thighs are usually cheaper. Leaving the skin on the thighs while you cook it keeps the chicken moist and helps it retain its flavor--meaning you need to salt the chicken less. Most of the fat in the skin is unsaturated, so it's not harming your heart. So go ahead and cook those thighs with the skin on. If you want to remove the skin before eating the thighs, that's fine, but leave it on during the cooking process if you want great tasting meat. Below is a simple recipe--Baked Lemon-Herb Chicken Thighs with Potatoes--that's easy, inexpensive, and worthy of a special dinner. The thighs marinate in a lemon-herb-wine mixture in the refrigerator and then bake when you're ready. Seasoned potatoes bake alongside the chicken, meaning less clean up. Try the thighs. They're moist, tender, and will make you forget about those rubber chicken breasts.

Baked Lemon-Herb Chicken Thighs with Potatoes -- Serves 4

4-6 Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)

2 lemons

2 teaspoons of minced garlic

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 cup of white wine

2-3 sprigs of rosemary (or 1 teaspoon of dried)

3-4 sprigs of oregano (or 1 teaspoon of dried)

2-3 sprigs of thyme (or 1 teaspoon of dried)

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper (without salt)

Trim the chicken of excess fat and separate the skin from the meat (on top), leaving one side of the skin attached (like a flap). Put the chicken in a large plastic bag. Zest the lemons and then slice them into thin slices. Add the zest and lemon slices to the bag. Add the remainder of ingredients to the bag as well. Seal the bag and shake or mash it gently to mix and distribute all the ingredients. You want the chicken to be coated with the marinade. Put the bag with the chicken and marinade in the refrigerator for at least an hour (preferably more like 4-6 hours). When you're ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray (or line it with foil and coat the foil with spray for easier clean up). Place the chicken, skin-side up, on the pan, making sure the skin covers the meat as much as possible. Put the lemon slices and herbs on top of the chicken and pour the marinade on top. If you'd like, place the potatoes on one end of the sheet pan and bake them with the chicken. The potatoes will absorb some of the marinade and juices from the chicken so won't be crispy. They will be really flavorful and good, and you'll have one less pan to wash. Cook the chicken/potatoes for 50-60 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh registers 175 degrees. Let the chicken stand for 5-10 minutes before serving it.

Simple Potatoes

6-8 Yukon Gold or similar potatoes, washed and quartered

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper (without salt)

Combine the potatoes and remaining ingredients in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and shake or mash it to distribute the ingredients well. Refrigerate the potatoes for at least an hour and preferably for 4-6 hours. Cook the potatoes alongside the chicken. If you want crispy potatoes and don't mind washing an extra pan, coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray (or line the pan with foil and coat the foil with spray) and spread the potatoes out on the pan. Bake the potatoes in their own pan alongside the chicken at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, turning them one or twice so they brown on all sides.

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