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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Honey Lime Marinated Chicken

I don't often marinate chicken... or meat in general. I have been trying some marinade recipes lately, but usually I have a difficult time remembering to marinate the meat long enough before dinner. It's kind of like when I use the crock pot. Sometimes I don't get the crock pot going until 2:00 in the afternoon because I completely forget how long crock pot meals can take.

I was quite impressed with myself on this one. I managed to make the marinade around 2:30 when I put Bailey down for her nap and since Aaron came home a little late it actually got a good 4 hours marinating in the fridge before I started cooking. It was super easy to make and the cayenne pepper in it gives it a little bite. I cooked it low and slow in a skillet so it came out really juicy.

This chicken would work well in a salad with a little honey lime vinaigrette (pretty much the same recipe as the marinade but with a little more honey to take the edge off the lime) or with a baked potato (or those roasted red potatoes I love so much) and some steamed veggies. I thought it would be nice with rice and black beans, a little like the the margarita chicken I used to order at... was it Chili's? I really can't remember where but that sounds right. Anyway, the point is it's a versatile recipe, and especially since it is so simple it's one you should definitely try for yourself.

Honey Lime Marinated Chicken

Source: The Enchanted Cook

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes) plus the zest of the limes (I used my fine cheese grater to zest the limes)
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper (I thought this was a little much actually so I may tweak it next time)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 lbs chicken

Note: I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Usually when I use chicken breasts I slice them either in half to make them thinner (so they cook faster) or at an angle into three cutlets (again so they cook faster) but this time I decided to leave them whole and slice them once they were cooked. Smaller pieces of chicken will take the marinade better and pack more flavor. Also, thigh meat really absorbs a marinade well so thighs are a great choice if you like dark meat.

Combine the olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, honey, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup and mix well with a fork. (The honey will sink to the bottom and be sticky and the salt will not dissolve unless you give it a vigorous whipping to mix. Woah, that sounded violent but you know what I mean.)

Place the chicken in a large ziploc bag and pour the marinade in. Get as much air out of the bag as you can and seal it up. Place it in the fridge to soak up the flavor for awhile. I'd say an hour minimum or up to overnight.

Once you're ready to cook spray a large skillet with vegetable oil spray and heat over medium heat. When the pan is hot carefully place the chicken in the pan, top side down (you know, the side the skin would be on if you're using a breast) and cook on medium to medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes per side.

Make sure you get a pretty brown color on both sides and that the chicken is cooked through before transferring to the cutting board. Allow to rest for about 8 minutes and then slice and serve.

I served it with some Cuban style black beans and cheesy rice (a simple 1/2 cup jasmine rice, cooked in 2 cups of chicken broth and layered in a baking dish with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and baked until the cheese is all melted and gooey) and it was fabulous!

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