In search of easy weekday dinners that the whole family loves? Give those chicken breasts a rest and look no further than roasted chicken thighs. They are flavorful, juicy, tender and delicious.
The best part? Chicken thighs are an economical cut, and they're super-easy to prepare. You don't need to be a culinary expert to pull off a great meal that looks like it took hours of slaving in the kitchen. Chicken thighs are so versatile that you can make different versions of roasted chicken thighs more than once a week!
"There are numerous ways to prepare delicious, nutritious, thoughtful meals. And by thoughtful meals, I mean meals that don't intimidate, that are easy and fun to prepare, that are flavorful, exciting, and good for the soul, and that you can stretch," said Cristina Ferrare, author of Big Bowl of Love: Delight Family and Friends With More Than 150 Simple, Fabulous Recipes, according to The Toronto Star. Endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, she swears by her "fall-off-the-bone" chicken thigh recipe.
How do they compare to the beloved chicken breast? Some complain that boneless, skinless chicken breasts are also tasteless and difficult to season without adding fatty ingredients. While it's true that they have a little less fat than thighs, breasts lack the rich taste of thighs. If you're watching your fat intake, then be sure to remove skin from all parts of the chicken before you eat it. And if you're cooking with thighs, leaving the bone in can help you eat less – and add even more flavor to those thighs.
When you're cutting costs but don't want to cut flavor, look to chicken thighs to feed your whole family on a tight budget. Chicken thigh recipes range from basic to spicy, crunchy to sweet, so no one will complain about you serving the "same old, same old" chicken dish.
Roasted Chicken Thigh Recipes that Rock!
Marinated Roasted Chicken Thighs -- (Adapted from MarthaStewart.com) Marinate chicken for at least one hour -- or overnight for best results -- in a mixture of olive oil and the juice from one lemon. Give it a dash of salt and pepper and bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey with one tablespoon of mustard and brush over cooked chicken. Broil for five minutes to seal in the flavor.
Crispy Roasted Chicken Thighs -- (Adapted from AllRecipes.com) Combine ¼ teaspoon each of garlic salt, onion salt, dried oregano, thyme, paprika and pepper and toss with chicken thighs. Bake on a sprayed, foiled pan at 350 degrees for one hour.
Tangy Balsamic Chicken Thighs -- (Adapted from JustaTaste.com) Marinate chicken overnight in a tangy dressing made from ½ cup balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup soy sauce, ½ cup honey, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of ginger, 2 tablespoons of scallions and ½ teaspoon of salt. Put all ingredients in a gallon-sized, sealable plastic bag, mix well and refrigerate. Remove thighs, set marinade aside and bake at 350 degrees on a foil-lined baking sheet for 30 minutes. Flip and broil for an additional five minutes. Meanwhile, while the chicken is baking, put the remaining marinade into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add one tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken the mixture. Whisk, boil again and brush over baked chicken. Serve with remaining marinade.
Red Wine Roasted Chicken Thighs -- Marinate chicken overnight in a mixture of 2 crushed garlic cloves, sage, rosemary, chopped carrots, diced celery, diced onion, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, a dash of nutmeg and 2 cups of dry red wine. Set oven at 400 degrees. Strain and reserve the wine mixture. Place chicken in buttered pan to sauté before baking. Add additional oil and 2 tablespoons of butter, then place pan in the oven for 20 minutes. Cook wine mixture in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Spoon over browned, baked chicken before serving.
Oven-Roasted Chicken with Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce -- Combine one jar of apple butter, 1 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoon paprika, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Marinate thighs for at least one hour -- preferably longer. Smother chicken in BBQ mixture and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Heat remaining mixture in a saucepan and brush on baked chicken for added flavor.
Basic Grandma's Chicken Thigh Recipe -- This is a simple recipe that is sure to please even the pickiest eater in your family. All you need is the chicken, chicken stock, olive oil, 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning, and salt and pepper. Coat pan with oil, place chicken thighs in pan, add chicken stock and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then place foil over the pan and let sit for 10 minutes to allow the meat to settle and absorb the flavoring from the stock.
The dark and juicy meat of chicken thighs lends itself to many types of marinades and rubs, as well as cooking methods. They can be baked, fried, roasted or grilled. While most chicken thigh recipes are quick and easy, making them ideal for weeknight dinners, they often require an hour or sometimes overnight marinating, so be sure to plan ahead when working chicken thighs into your weekly dinner menu.
For a special touch, use fresh herbs and tomatoes to season chicken thighs, or roast them using slices of fresh citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes or oranges. The fresh ingredients make a big difference in the quality of the dish and overall taste. Fresh ingredients will make your chicken thigh recipes pop.