Easy Citrus Chicken

These easy citrus chicken recipes give sometimes bland chicken meat a zingy pick-me-up.  Season any poultry dish with lemon, lime and orange flavors. 

picture lemon chickenSlow Roasted Lemon Chicken

Slow Roasted Lemon Chicken with Garlic and Thyme
Serves 4-6

Low heat + slow cooking = intense flavor.  Simple equation!  Make this dish up to 1 day ahead.  Can be covered, refrigerated and reheated in a 350º F oven for about 20 minutes.

3-4 pounds chicken legs and thighs
2 heads garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
2-3 lemons, cut into 6-8 wedges
4-6 fresh thyme sprigs, reserve some for finishing the dish
4 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 to 1 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 300ºF. Put the chicken pieces into a roasting pan and add the garlic cloves, lemon wedges and thyme. Pull some of the leaves off of some of the sprigs and scatter over the chicken. Also leave some intact.   Add the oil and a small amount of salt and pepper.  Use your hands to mix everything together. 

Spread the mixture out, making sure all the chicken pieces are skin side up.  Sprinkle the white wine over the chicken. Cover tightly with foil and put in the oven, cooking for about 2 hours.

Remove the foil and turn up the oven to 400ºF.  Cook the uncovered chicken for another 30-45 minutes or until the skin on the chicken is golden brown and the lemons have begun to brown at the edges.  

Let the lemon chicken rest for about 10 minutes before serving. 

Sprinkle on fresh thyme leaves if desired.  Delicious served with Cheesy Baked Ziti or Baked Spaghetti with Herbs and Ham

Easy Baked Citrus Chicken
Serves 4

This easy citrus chicken has a subtle sweet and tangy flavor

1 (3 1/2 pound) whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
1 small orange, cut in half
1 lime, cut in half
1 small lemon , cut in half
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed to release oils
6-8 parsley sprigs
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt or to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.   Place chicken into a roasting pan, and squeeze the juice from the orange, lime and lemon halves all over and inside the chicken.   Place one half of the orange, lime and lemon in the cavity of the chicken (or whatever fits). 

Stuff the remainder of the cavity with the garlic and parsley.  Drizzle chicken with olive oil, and sprinkle with seasoned salt.  Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven, covered, for 45 minutes; remove foil, and bake until meat is no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 15 more minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 165 degrees F . 

Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest under foil for 10 minutes before slicing.


Lemon Chicken over Angel Hair Pasta
Serves 4

1/2 cup flour  
4  tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated  
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder  
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed  
4  tablespoons butter  
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup white wine   
2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth, heated
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces angel hair pasta  
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Combine flour, parmesan, and garlic powder. Dredge chicken in mixture.   Melt butter in large skillet. Add chicken and pan fry over medium heat until brown and cook through.  Remove chicken from the pan and keep warm. 

Add wine and chicken broth to pan and stir until thickened.  Taste sauce and add salt and pepper as needed.  Return chicken to pan and coat with sauce.

Meanwhile cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.   Drain pasta and place in large serving bowl.   Pour chicken and sauce over pasta. Toss gently. Top with grated cheese.  Garnish with fresh lemon slices and fresh parsley.

Super Simple Lime Chicken

Serves 4

Seasoning Mix
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons lime juice

In a small bowl, mix together salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and parsley (or seasoning blend). Sprinkle spice mixture generously on both sides of chicken breasts.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté chicken until golden brown, about 6 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons garlic powder and the lime juice.  Baste chicken with juices to coat evenly with sauce.  Cook breast until internal temperature is 165 degrees


Baked Orange Chicken Drumettes
Serves 3-4 as an appetizer

Perfect for a picnic or the buffet table-- these orange chicken was a delightful citrus crunch.  Want lemon chicken instead?  Substitute lemon juice and zest for the orange juice and zest.  Can be made 1 day in advance.  Cover tightly

2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole wheat or white cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch ground red pepper (optional)
10-12 chicken drumettes, excess skin and fat removed

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray.   In a small bowl combine the juice, mustard and salt.  On a sheet of wax paper or paper plate, combine the cracker crumbs, zest, onion and garlic powder and black pepper and red pepper, if using. 

Coat each drumette with the mustard mixture and dredge in the crumbs, pressing firmly to thoroughly coat.  Bake 15 minutes, turn over and bake until golden, crunchy and cooked through, about 10 minutes. 


Easy Orange Chicken
Serves 6-8

Serve this chicken dish with ramen or Chinese noodles. Cutting the thighs into bite-sized pieces makes it easier for guest to serve and eat on a buffet.   

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup fresh orange juice (about 4 medium oranges)
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut each chicken thigh into about 4 pieces.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or apply cooking spray. 

In a small saucepan, combine the orange juice, orange zest, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and chili sauce.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.  

In a bowl, mix the chicken pieces with half the glaze.  Place the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet.  Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.  Pour remaining glaze over chicken and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165 is reached.

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