Everyone should have a few staple, go-to meals in their arsenal. The type of meal that tastes good, doesn’t need a ton of prep work, and doesn’t need a lot of babysitting while it’s cooking. I love to watch the Food Network and the Cooking Channel as much as the next person, but the thought of making one of their meals (“30 minute” – more like 45-60 for those who aren’t the host of the show – or not) makes me want to just get take out.
I’ll be sharing quick recipes that are easy to memorize for those nights when you don’t have the energy to make dinner a giant production. These are the types of meals that also work great for both family dinners or dinner parties – just choose the sides, complex or not, and you’re good to go. Simple, satisfying, real food.
First up: baked chicken.
Before we begin – a word about chicken. When most people think ‘baked chicken,’ they think baked chicken breasts. And dry. And fairly tasteless. Chicken breasts are really hard to cook well. They overcook very easily and become dry. And fairly tasteless. (Did I mention dry and tasteless?)
Enter the humble chicken thigh. Bone in or boneless is up to you, but leave the skin on! Trust me on this one. Even if you don’t enjoy eating the skin (oh, and please just give it a try like this, just once), leaving it on while it’s cooking keeps the chicken from drying out.
Changing up the side dishes can really change the meal. If this becomes one of your go-to meals, you’ll want to change the sides around to keep from getting bored. Unless you don’t want to mess with a good thing. Then that’s ok.
Choose either two vegetables or a vegetable and a starch for a well-rounded meal. Choose the vegetables based on what is cheap and/or in season.
Some vegetable side suggestions:
- Roasted brussels sprouts (cut in half, place in single layer on baking dish or cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil or bacon grease, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cook at 400 degrees F until the edges are crispy)
- Roasted carrots and butternut squash (sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook this right in with (and underneath) the chicken)
- Boiled summer squash and/or zucchini (boil until soft, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste)
- Simple salad (lettuce, tomato, dressing)
- Reheat frozen or canned vegetables in a pot of boiling water until warmed through.
Some starchy side suggestions:
- Baked potato
- Mashed potatoes
- Baked sweet potato
Sewist, knitter, reader, dancer. Wife. Lover of things vintage and retro.