The first time I really felt like I was living on my own was in the summer of my sophomore year of college. I attended an apprenticeship at Central Washington University for The Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute. That summer thirteen undergraduate students including myself learned about caring for chimpanzees while assisting with the humane research studies currently underway. It was a very exciting experience that flew by much too quickly. I lived in a nearby dorm that included individual rooms with a communal kitchen for three to four students. Since it was summer I only had to share my kitchen with a single CWU summer student. Fortunately she spent the majority of her time elsewhere so I generally had the kitchen to myself. I had my small supply of dorm room belongings and minimal cooking utensils that were cast-offs and duplicates from my parent’s kitchen. After my father settled me into my new digs he left me with two life skills: how to wash my socks and how to bake chicken.
The story goes that when my dad was in college he had very few cooking skills; however he could bake chicken. By his telling it sounds like he ate a lot of it. As a student strapped for funds baked chicken is a cheap and healthy meal. Best of all, it is very difficult to mess up. If anyone wants to learn to make their own dinners, this is the first recipe I recommend.
Baked chicken is the most common dinner I make for my husband and myself. Deboned and de-skinned chicken, although convenient, is often twice the price as buying chicken with the bone still present. I usually buy chicken thighs in bulk, divide them up in freezer bags, and pull them out of the freezer the morning before I plan to cook them for dinner. It makes the process quick and simple.
Whole chicken pieces, thighs, breast or legs (not the deboned de-skinned ones)
Water, beer or olive oil
BBQ sauce (Peach Barbeque sauce)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken pieces in a glass baking dish. Drizzle the water over the chicken and add just enough to cover the bottom of the dish. Bake the chicken for 55 minutes total. After the chicken has cooked 40 to 45 minutes pour the BBQ sauce over the chicken pieces, don’t be shy. The chicken is done cooking when clear liquid escapes after being poked by a knife. Continue cooking if the liquid is still pink colored.