Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chicken with Artichoke Hearts and Olives

There are days when you don't feel like making dinner. And then there are days when you ... Just. Cannot. Do. It.

But still, the people need to eat! My own people are most particular about requiring dinner every single night. I'll admit to leaning heavily on Trader Joe during the trying season of Little League Baseball. But, seriously, there has to be a limit.

So, for those nights where you're bumping up against that limit, chicken thighs are always a safe bet.

Yes, I know boneless, skinless chicken breasts are healthier. But there is a very narrow window between salmonella-undercooked and stringy-chalk-overdone breasts. Thighs taste better and can hang out in the oven an extra fifteen minutes if you wind up down the rabbit hole.

You know ... the weeknight rabbit hole.
You: Sweetheart, darling, I note that you haven't brought your lunchbox home for three days. Where might it be? 
Child: Yeah, it's in my locker. 
You: But Honeybunny, I asked you to look for it two days ago, and you said it wasn't in your locker. 
Child: Oh, then it's in the Lost and Found. 
You: Love of my life, I requested that you look in the Lost and Found yesterday. Did you? 
Child: Well, I did. But we had rehearsal for the spring concert, so I didn't get a chance to look at lunchtime. 
You: It's okay, dear, but Mummy really needs to know, did you, or didn't you check in the Lost and Found? 
Child: Uh huh.
Anyway, after the inevitable descent into profanity and tears, you'll probably fail to take your chicken breasts out at the right time. Save yourself the worry, and make chicken thighs instead.

Chicken with Artichoke Hearts and Olives
3lbs dark meat chicken, preferably thighs
2-12oz jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained
3/4 cup pitted olives
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon capers (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

Crank the oven to 400 and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (or scrub it later, ya goody-two-shoes). Put the chicken pieces skin side down and arrange the other ingredients around them, sprinkling the salt onto the meat. Roast for twenty minutes, flip the thighs and give the veggies a stir. Return the pan to the oven for another fifteen minutes or so to crisp the chicken skin.

If you feel like baked potatoes, microwave your spuds for five minutes, then throw them in the oven while the chicken cooks. Decide the artichoke hearts count as a green vegetable, award yourself full marks for a home-cooked meal, feel superior to the parents who ordered pizza tonight. (Forgive yourself for ordering pizza tomorrow.)

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