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I'm Kendra, and I'm here to help you be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don't. Welcome to your people.

Change-Your-Life Chicken

Change-Your-Life Chicken

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Twenty-seven percent of the Internet is dedicated to chicken recipes, but this is the one you want. 

I shared the recipe on an Instagram story, and you asked for this post in droves. I discourage people-pleasing in most scenarios, but when it comes to change-your-life chicken, I will gladly oblige.

Here's why this chicken will change your life:

  • It's a complete meal. No extra sides needed.
  • Zero dirty dishes. The entire meal is cooked on a foil-covered sheet pan.
  • No last-minute trips to the store for weird ingredients. It's chicken and whatever vegetables you have around.
  • Takes minimal hands-on time. Depending on how comfortable you are with a knife and the vegetables you use, we're talking ten minutes tops.
  • Fool-proof. I promise. The oven does all the work, so it's impossible to mess up.
  • Delicious. A fellow Lazy Genius made this from my neurotic Instagram instructions, and her nine year-old said "best chicken ever." My kids eat it, too. IT'S MAGIC CHICKEN. Sure, it's simple roasted chicken and vegetables, but the method matters.

Now it's time to tell you how to invite this magic chicken into your life, but I'll start with a disclaimer: don't let the amount of words you're about to see scare you off. The reason we get weirded out by new recipes is because of all the tiny things the instructions don't talk about. 

So we're going to talk about them so you'll feel like a chicken rockstar.

Change-Your-Life Chicken

What You Need

  • chicken thighs with the bone and the skin
    Yes. I said thighs. That have the bone and the skin. Trust me on this. You can do breasts if you want, but we're a thigh family to the bone. (I love chicken humor.) Adults eat one, hungry adults eat two, and weird picky tiny kids eat a half.
  • two handfuls of vegetables per person
    You can use whatever you have. Options: onion, carrot, potato, green bean, asparagus, leek, sweet potato, and cauliflower. (Avoid mushrooms, zucchini, squash, and broccoli with this method.) I'll share some favorite combinations at the end.
  • olive oil, salt, and pepper

How You Make It

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Not a typo. Five hundred.

2. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil. Your pan needs to hold your vegetables comfortably - not too close together, not too far apart. Heavy duty is less likely to tear, i.e. to get dirty from chicken grease.

3. Cut your vegetables, and toss with olive oil, more salt than you think you need, and black pepper. These are the sizes to go for: large bite-sized. Carrots take the longest, so make those thinner than the rest. Consider cooking speeds with the vegetables you choose.

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Green beans don't need cutting, so those get tossed with the rest. Notice how cozy the vegetables are with each other but that there isn't more than one layer.

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4. Peel the skin back from the chicken. Don't wig out. It's cool. You want to generously season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, but you want to season under the skin. So pull back the skin, season, and fold the skin back over.

5. Pat the chicken skin dry with a wad of paper towels. This is how you get magic crusty chicken skin, i.e. the state fair craze somebody needs to start. The best order is to place the chicken skin side down on the vegetables, season, flip, pull back the skin, season, put the skin back, and pat dry. The worst is drying the skin and then realizing you forgot to season the bottom. 

6. Place the chicken skin side up directly on top of the vegetables. Here's what happens: the fat from the chicken skin will seep into the vegetables underneath, imparting flavor and moisture while the exposed vegetables get a tiny bit charred. It's a perfect marriage of texture and flavor. I'm not showing you a photo of raw chicken because raw chicken.

Ew.

7. Bake at 500 degrees for 50 minutes. Don't worry if the chicken will be done; it will be. And we don't have to be concerned about the vegetables burning at such a high temperature because they're nestled closely together. The most you'll get will be a few crusty edges, and those are delightful.

And since blog posts don't have sound effects yet, trust me on the crispiness of the crust. In the Instagram story, I tapped it, and it sounded like a little magic chicken woodpecker. You're allowed to invent bird species when dinner is this easy.

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And that's it! Then you eat. Bonus: any leftover vegetables are a great snack/lunch straight from the fridge for busy days. (Except for potatoes. Leftover potatoes have a weird texture and are a little depressing. See: old French fries.)

Variations

Start with what's above, but once you feel comfortable with how it works, feel free to change it up.

  1. Add fresh rosemary or thyme to the vegetables. 
  2. Rub the chicken (not the skin) with lemon or orange zest. (Rosemary and orange are a heavenly match.)
  3. Reinvent the meal with different vegetable combinations: onion, potato, carrot; leek and asparagus; onion and sweet potato, green bean and cauliflower. If you love it, try it. The worst that can happen is it's not great and you won't make it again.
  4. Same goes for exotic spices. Go nuts with curry powder, a taco seasoning blend, or whatever you want to try. You won't know if it works until you try.
  5. Use chicken breasts with the bone and skin if you must; be sure to bump the time to an hour. I can't vouch that it'll be as good, but I'm not your chicken boss. 

Meh, yes I am. Make this chicken, y'all, and change your life.

 

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