|Happy, free chickens|
An easy way to make chicken is to marinade it, and then fry, bake or grill. Coupled with a salad and maybe some fresh bread, it is simple and satisfying.
A great idea for make ahead meals or bulk cooking (i.e.: once a week or once a month cooking prep) is to marinade several cut up chickens, in several different marinades, place in heavy duty freezer bags, place in freezer, and then when you need one, take out, thaw in frig, and cook. It's perfect for any of you who find your day has evaporated and you still have to make dinner. Because you determine the size of the freezer bags, it is a perfect solution for singles, college kids, twosomes, or those HUGE family get-togethers.
A marinade has several components to make a great one. In order to flavor and tenderize meat, you need 1) oil, which helps preserve the meat's moisture (which some omit when freezing for long periods of time) 2) acid, which tenderizes the meat and is added through the use of citric fruits like lemon, lime, grapefruit, pineapple, wine or vinegar and 3) flavorings which can be spices, herbs, sugars (honey) or vegetables.
Here are a few I use routinely. Increase amounts according to how much chicken you have.
Chinese marinade - 2 T oil, 2 T lemon juice, 2 T soy sauce, 1/4 c honey.
Indonesian marinade - 3/4 c orange juice, 2 T lemon juice, 1/4 c oil, 1/4 c honey, 1 t curry powder, 1/2 t paprika
American bbq - garlic, 1 1/2 c ketchup, 2 T vinegar, 1 c honey, 1/2 c onion, 1 t mustard, salt & pepper
And my personal favorite called Open the Refrigerator and Throw Whatever in It - as long as you have the acid, the oil, and the honey, you can add anything else you find in the frig to finish off this marinade. Little bits of salad dressing are good for this, that little bit of ginger there, that last teaspoon of steak or worchestershire sauce and that bite or two of pear and mango.
I hope you enjoy these as much as our family does. And maybe make things a little easier for you as well.