Orange Rosemary Chicken

Chicken is such a versatile meat. And, for that very reason, I love to cook with it! I find it very difficult to screw up a meal with chicken in it. It always turns out really well and is so moist, tender and tastes great! …even the pickiest eater can find a reason to like it.

This is one of my “original” recipes that I made many years ago (no, not a recipe that I dreamed up…just one I’ve been making for a long time). It’s simple and quick and is very good. In the time it takes you to cook the rice that you will likely want to put your chicken on top of,  you will have your chicken made and ready to eat. How does that sound for a weeknight meal? Good? Yeah…thought so. This meal does require just a little bit of prep, as it needs to marinate. But, that’s easy to do. You can easily fix this while your dinner is in the oven the night before, so it really doesn’t require you to take any extra time in the kitchen away from your family. And those are my favorite kinds of meals.

Here’s what you need to make this meal:

  • 1 1/2 cups of orange juice
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Here’s how to prepare the marinade:

  • Cut your chicken breasts into relatively equal-size pieces — I choose to cut them closer to bite-size pieces (they cook quicker and require no further cutting at dinner time) but you can cut them into strips or any other size if you desire
  • In a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, combine orange juice, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper — seal and give a good shake to mix it all together
  • Add the chicken, seal and give a good shake again
  • Set in the refrigerator to marinade
  • Chicken should be marinated for at least 4 hours and up to 24 — try to give it a good shake a time or 2, especially if it’s sitting for 12-24 hours

And here’s how you put it together the night of the meal:

  • Pre-heat the oven broiler
  • Remove chicken from the marinade and shake off excess
  • Place chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet or large pan with edge
  • Pour marinade into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat (be careful — it will foam over very quickly once it boils) and reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for 10 minutes
  • About halfway through your simmer time, place your chicken in the oven, about 8 inches away from the heat
  • If you have sliced your chicken into bite-sized pieces, expect to cook your chicken for about 10-12 minutes (obviously, the larger your pieces, the longer your will need to cook them)
  • Regardless of how long you cook your chicken, every 5-6 minutes, turn your pieces of chicken on your baking sheet or pan and brush or drizzle with some of the sauce that you have boiled
  • Serve over rice and top with additional juice if desired

All in all, it will probably take you about 30 minutes from start to finish to make this meal: 15 minutes the first night to cut everything up and make your marinade, and another 15 minutes to cook it the night of your dinner. I love that it’s that simple. And the fact that my husband enjoys this, even with some of the juice topped on his chicken and rice, is an extra plus! (I may be picky, but I rarely cook something if I don’t like it. So it’s really Jon’s picky palette that I have to be concerned about.)

So when you have a night that you know you’ll be short on time but still want a delicious and healthy meal to feed your family, plan ahead just a bit so you don’t need to jump to frozen dinners, fast food or pizza. This is a very doable meal for a family on the go…and they’ll likely come back asking for more!