With all the stresses and busyness of motherhood, creating elaborate meals during the week is not typically a high priority. All-in-one dishes are often a quick and easy alternative, with less preparation time and less cleanup required. However, when cooking chicken and vegetables together in the oven, covering the dish ensures that the meat cooks through yet remains tender. To brown the chicken and vegetables for a finished look and richer flavor, remove the covering during the last 15 to 20 minutes of the cooking process.
Choose whether to roast the chicken and vegetables or braise them. To braise, add a small amount of liquid to the pan before covering, which will steam the vegetables and chicken when heated. Whether using a simple broth or a wine, this will result in extra-tender meat and soft vegetables. Alternatively, simply roast the chicken and veggies with no additional liquids, although cooking on a lower temperature will ensure that the meat does not dry out. Distribute the chicken and vegetables evenly in the baking dish to ensure they cook evenly. For easier cleanup, line the baking dish with aluminum foil before adding the uncooked ingredients.
2. Choosing Covering
Use a baking dish that has a lid, such as a ceramic or glass container. If a fitted lid is not available, aluminum foil is another option. Use heavy-duty aluminum foil, since it is less likely to rip when you're checking to see if the chicken is cooked. Cut a piece of foil slightly larger than the baking dish, place over top of the dish filled with the vegetables and chicken, and wrap it around the edges to create a fitted covering.
Bake the covered chicken and vegetables at a temperature ranging from 400 degrees Fahrenheit for braising, to 375 F for roasting. Cook a 1 to 1 1/2 pound chicken for 50 minutes to one hour at 400 F or one hour to one hour and 30 minutes at 375 F. If desiring a browned color, remove the lid or foil and cook the dish uncovered for the last 15 minutes of the cooking time. Ensure that the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 F by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.
4. Food Safety
Even if the vegetables look overcooked, ensure the chicken has reached the required internal temperature before removing the dish from the oven. Do not remove the dish unless this has been reached, as bacteria may remain in the meat, potentially causing food-borne illnesses. Let the chicken set for five to 10 minutes, covered with foil, after removing from the oven to make the meat tenderer.
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