I grew up about 45 minutes away from a small amusement park. In middle school, if we earned near-perfect attendance, had above a certain grade point average, or pledged to be drug-free or something, we were baited with a day-long trip to this magical place. An entire day away from school with the sole purpose of riding roller coasters that could make us puke our guts out? Only to refuel ourselves with cotton candy and hot dogs? We all thought we had gone straight to heaven.
I don't remember much from that specific day, but one thing I can still taste is the sweet sauce of teriyaki smothered over a bed of white rice and steamed veggies (from a small food booth they always had next to the Colossus; my first upside-down ride experience, ever). It was completely mouthwatering, and I was always stuffed to the max afterwards; immediately ready for another 5-6 straight hours of constant roller coaster crazy...
I don't know about you fine folks, but if I tried to pull a stunt like that these days, I'd straight up die.
Or at least my stomach would turn on itself; redecorating every ride I rode on and restyle every passenger who unfortunately sat behind me. Not sure when I made the switch to wuss-town later on in life, but it happened.
However, what I can savor the most from those days of butterfly clips, Backstreet Boys, and overall shorts was how much I looked forward to that steaming bowl of teriyaki (I was weird - or perhaps already a foodie at heart). Thankfully, these days, thanks to this amazing recipe, I can have that same beautiful taste of teriyaki goodness without having to worry about how my post-birthing-a-9-and-a-half-pound-baby body can handle flying on the roller coasters afterwards. Plus, I think the amusement park somehow shrunk in size and overall ride-scariness since middle school. For whatever reason, they tend to pull that trick on you.
This stuff is ridiculous (I know I always say that, but it's for real this time - and last time). The sauce was sweet, tangy, and had just enough soft bite from the ginger and cider vinegar. Plus, this recipe is super-low maintenance. You preheat the oven, prep the chicken with a little pepper, lay it out on a 9x13, stir the sauce ingredients together on the stove until it thickens, douse the chicken with that gorgeous sauce, bake, and DONE. I couldn't believe it.
So easy. So delicious. This is a must-make-asap kind of thing here, friends.
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Baked Teriyaki Chicken
makes 4 servings
3-4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
1/4 t ground black pepper
1 T corn starch
1 T cold water
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C soy sauce
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground ginger
chopped green onions for garnish
cooked white rice for serving
steamed veggies for servings if desired
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prep a 9x13 glass dish with aluminum foil and a light spritz of cooking spray.
2. Lightly sprinkle each side of the chicken breasts with a little pepper. Lay side-by-side in prepared baking dish. Set aside.
3. Prepare sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together all ingredients (besides the chicken and green onions). Turn heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low, and whisk constantly until sauce thickens. Pour over prepared chicken in baking dish. Make sure bottoms of chicken get a little bit of that rich sauce, as well.
4. Bake for 35-45 minutes (re-glazing with sauce from the baking dish (with a large spoon) every 7 minutes or so) until chicken registers 165 on your meat thermometer. Slice at an angle into bite-size pieces and serve with green onions, steamed veggies if using, and rice. Pour more teriyaki sauce over chicken right before serving.
recipe adapted from: the recipe critic
-This recipe makes incredible leftovers!
-Serve with brown rice, if desired.