Raise your hand if you start your day off with the intention of making that healthy meal that you grocery shopped for, only to come home and decide that ordering Pizza is a MUCH better idea? I’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately, and it’s semi-unmotivating to just have the standard Chicken & rice, or Salads, or Fish & veggies. Let’s face it, if you have a love affair with food, than the routine of boring salads and protein + rice or veggies gets boring REAL quick. Plus, I’m very iffy about Chicken to begin with–Chicken breasts are gross to me and somehow always taste rubbery and dry no matter how I cook it, and I’m always a little worried about under-cooking it. Chicken thighs on the other hand, are cheaper and hold way more flavor. They’re always generally smaller in size and so it’s more satisfying to have smaller pieces to eat (and to save!). I love the idea of an impressive marinade that I can actually look forward to eating with dinner instead of “the usual” simple Chicken dishes. This keeps me from convincing myself that Mountain Mike’s is a better option, thus wasting all the food I bought so that I wouldn’t eat out. Oy vey.
Let me tell you about the BEST marinade I’ve created, which has inspired the nickname for this meal “Crack Chicken”. The can be BBQed, broiled, baked or pan-cooked…it literally doesn’t matter the method because it is seriously that good. This marinade has the perfect combination of sweet and salty, and anything that has cilantro in it will peak my interest. Not a cilantro lover? This can still be just as good without it! It’s quick, easy, and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.
P R E P
This meal is really ALL prep. If you’re putting this together before work (which I’d encourage), just be sure to give yourself enough time to get all the ingredients chopped, mixed and ready to go so that you’re not stressed for time. Don’t have time to do it before work? No problem–just make sure that it sits in the marinade for at LEAST an hour. You’ll want the chicken to soak up all the delicious flavors. I’d also recommend doing this the night before; this will keep you from the “ordering in” temptation because it’s all set and ready for you to cook!
What you’ll need
- 1 cutting board.
- 1 large ziplock bag.
- 1 medium-sized bowl.
- 1 large saute pan. Make sure this is big enough to fit all the chicken in–remember it’ll shrink down when it’s cooked.
- 2 pounds of Chicken thighs.
- 1/2 cup or chopped cilantro. Plus more for garnishing at the end.
- 1/2 cup of honey.
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Optional.
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
- 3-4 limes, squeezed for dat juice.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the chicken (chopped cilantro, honey, soy sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic and lime). Mix until combined.
- Pour mixture into a zip lock bag, and then add in the chicken.
- If marinating overnight, place in the fridge and remove 1 hour before cooking.
- Try to let this marinate for 3-4 hours for the best results!
Time to Cook!
- You can either BBQ this (highly recommend), bake these, or pan-fry. I did a combination of pan fry and then put in the oven, so you can decide what you’d prefer.
- For pan fry:
- Heat large saute pan on medium-high heat with either a little olive oil, or with a non-stick spray. Once this is heated through, add chicken in (it’s ok if a little juice gets in the pan!).
- Cook chicken on one side for 3-5 minutes, and then reduce heat to medium and cook the other side. Continue until the chicken is all the way cooked through (no pink). In total this should take 10-12 minutes.
- For oven:
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Using a cookie sheet and foil, add chicken and a little drizzle of the marinade.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Pro tip: Put your oven on broil for the last 5 minutes so that the chicken gets a that little golden glaze.
- Serve hot–you can make these as Tacos, top on a salad, serve over rice (or cauliflower rice), as a sandwich or just on it’s own–it’s THAT good!
Post Cooking Notes
- I. AM. OBSESSED. This marinade is pure heaven, and beyond simple. However, I tried this with Salmon and felt that it didn’t carry the same flavor…it was a little too bitter and citrus-y, but if you want to try I’d recommend doing less lime juice.
- The last couple times I’ve made this, I’ve added all the marinade juices to the pan, which takes away from the “crispy-ness”. I’ve removed the chicken and let the juices get thicker on low heat for about. This was a great little addition as a glaze to the chicken, but not necessary.
- Use as leftovers! Perfect for a salad or as a wrap. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.