For a mid-week recipe: the easiest and most effective way to make chicken, in my opinion. Make it today. Have it tonight with a side of roast veggies, put it in pasta tomorrow and make soup on Friday!
To make your life easy, buy a combination of chicken breasts, thighs and wings (or really whatever cut strikes your fancy) of the best quality you can find. Next, gather yourself 2 medium lemons (if you’re in SoCal, you might be able to just forage these from your neighbor’s yard) and a medium bulb of garlic along with some extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. That’s it.
Preheat oven to 375 and grab a 9×13 inch rectangular baking dish. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil (about 3-4 Tbs) over the bottom of the dish. You won’t end up consuming all of this oil, but it works miracles for juiciness and flavor. Finely chop up all of the cloves in the bulb of garlic and scatter around the bottom of the dish. Next, rinse the chicken and pat dry, then arrange in a single layer in the baking dish. Season one side of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then flip the pieces over so that the salt and pepper side gets garlicky and you can season the garlicky side. Once both sides of the pieces have the proper amount of exposure to garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, rinse your hands and chop each lemon into four wedges. Squeeze each wedge over the chicken and leave the wedges in the pan so they get nice and golden and crispy (see photo).
I’m not a big believer in setting a timer for my cooking. This might bother some people, but I tend to find that cooking time varies so much by oven that it’s more reliable to just keep an eye on things. For this chicken, it’s a good idea to check it after about 20 minutes if you’re using larger breasts, and 15 minutes if you’re using smaller pieces. If the lemons are starting to brown and the outside of the chicken is beginning to get golden, cover the pan with foil to keep in the moisture, and check after another 10-15 minutes. Chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165 degrees and/or when meat in the thickest part is no longer pink.
*If you are using a convection oven, cooking times will be faster.