I am a HUGE fan of single cook tray bakes. Less washing up, less mess and easy step by step cooking. You can make a try bake with almost any ingredients. Fish, meat and vegetables. You can make any quantity of food but I usually cook enough for two meals (for myself and small child). I admit, I tend to slightly overcook meat in a tray bake, for one thing, I like the crispy caramelised edges on chicken and vegetables and also then there is my fear of poisoning ourselves with undercooked chicken (especially during lockdown).
My little one seems to be going through a bit of a growth spurt at the moment. How can I tell? Well he is eating almost everything under the sun which is unheard of. I am so used to him being a picky eater but these days he is eating the tomatoes, radish, salad leaves and even the eggs that I put on his plate. He is snacking but since lockdown, he hasn’t been asking for sweets or chocolate.
While working from home, I am having to multi task like never before. Stealing time between work calls and duties to bake and play in the garden and then I take a lunch break for an hour each day, but I really dislike having to spend my precious lunch hour cooking when I can be spending that time with Alex, so I prep in advance and tray bakes are perfect for this. Start with the item that takes the longest to cook, after some time, add the next element and so forth. Then time it to be ready just when lunch starts or have just finished work for the day. I simply love tray bakes! This tray bake was delicious. My favourite hasselback potatoes, sticky honey ginger chicken thighs and some green peas and asparagus. Soooo good.
CHICKEN AND HASSELBACK POTATO TRAYBAKE
- 420 g boneless chicken thighs (or approximately 4 pieces for 2 people)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 garlic cloves
- thumb sized piece of ginger
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup, optional
- potatoes, depending on how many you feel in the mood for, I do 6 decent sized baby potatoes for me and the kid
- some peas and asparagus, or whatever vegetables you have and need to use up
If you have time or can remember, make the marinade the night before and let the chicken marinade over night. If you don’t remember to do this, marinade the chicken for at least an hour. To make the marinade, crush the garlic and ginger. Put into a small cup and add the honey and half the oil (1 tbsp). Mix together. Put the chicken into a small dish or little sandwich bag. Add the marinade to the chicken. Seal the bag and squish the marinade into the chicken. Allow to marinade for minimum 1 hour but preferably overnight.
Heat the oven to 180C.
Think about how long each item will take to cook for any tray bake. Here the potatoes will take the longest so I put them on the tray first to cook. I like to make my potatoes a little fancier (these days I will do anything to relieve the boredom of food). I make hasselback potatoes, they are just soooo good. Slice the potatoes very thinly on the top, making sure not to cut all the way through to the bottom, my tip here is to use a metal skewer inserted through the bottom half of the potato so the knife doesn’t go any further. You just want to be able to fan them a little and this allows for the oil to get into the slits and make the potatoes super moist and rich. Rub the remaining oil onto the potatoes and in-between the slits. Pop them onto a large baking tray and into the oven for 20 minutes.
Next add the marinated chicken to the tray. Drizzle the marinade from the bowl or bag over the chicken, here I also add a drizzle of maple syrup over the chicken, and this is totally optional. Pop the tray back into the oven for 15 minutes.
NOTE: if you are using chunkier vegetables like courgette, broccoli or peppers, pop them onto the tray when you are adding the chicken, they will take longer than my peas and asparagus. Total cook time for chicken is 20 minutes.
The marinade will create a caramelised/charred flavour to the whole tray, it is to die for. But if you aren’t such a fan of the caramelised flavour, don’t drizzle the marinade or maple syrup over the chicken when on the tray.
When the chicken has had 15 minutes in the oven, take the tray out and add frozen peas and asparagus. I could only get my hands on frozen asparagus this week, so it is a little softer but it still tastes great. Cook for a last 5 minutes. Then you are done!
Plate up and enjoy, a nice fresh salad goes perfectly on the side. And a gallon of wine! (that’s the Covid-19 influence)