When we were shooting images for In the Small Kitchen, our photographer, Josh, took a step back while photographing the umpteenth chicken recipe–the Mediterranean Baked Chicken in the Dinner Party chapter–and said, “So, you make as much chicken as my mom always did.” (Josh grills a mean chicken himself.)
So it goes: chicken is easy to buy and quick to cook. It’s filling and pretty healthful and an all-around go-to for cooks, harried or not, and that’s probably why it’s been a home cook’s favorite for generations.
Anyway, just because I cook a decent amount of chicken doesn’t mean that I cook it in the same way as someone’s grandma. The chicken recipes on BGSK are often exotically spiced, baked instead of fried, or marinated for a long time to boost moistness and flavor. No dried-out chicken breasts here, I promise. (FYI, I usually like to use whole chickens or skin-on thighs or breasts from my local butcher, Fleisher’s.)
**Everyday Chicken Recipes for Weeknight Meals**
1. Seared Chicken Breasts with Cherry Tomato Pan Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella. In this dish, there’s a sweet, tart explosion of juice that comes with heating cherry tomatoes in the oven, turning them into a pan sauce for quickly seared chicken. Melty wedges of mozzarella are icing on the cake.
2. Chicken Curry Wraps. The curry ramps up the mayo in this salad, the celery and shallot add an awesome crunch, and the raisins provide a haunting sweetness that in turn makes the curry taste even better. This incredibly tasty chicken salad becomes the filling in make-ahead wraps brilliantly suited to dinner in the park.
3. Green Chile Chicken. Filled with vegetables, this south-of-the-border chicken stew makes the most of pantry ingredients, though you may need a special supermarket run for the can of green chilies. As soon as you find fresh corn at the market, throw the sweet kernels in.
4. Ginger-Honey Chicken Wings. Baking chicken wings turns them crispy and rich, almost as if they’d been fried (but without the mess or the added fat). After baking, a teriyaki-inspired sauce coats the wings. Snack on these whenever, or make them the main course of dinner by serving them on top of rice with some greens on the side.
5. Indoor Grilled Chicken with Kale-Rice Salad. A marinade is one way to ensure that your chicken is moist and deeply flavorful without worrying about a pan sauce. Herbs and mayo conspire to give these chicken thighs extra value, and a flash in your grill pan does the rest.
6. Whole Wheat BBQ Chicken Pockets. Yes, I got inspired to make this recipe after reading a suggested use on the back of a grated cheese packet. That’s okay. The gooey, barbecue-flavored wraps may be an easy win, but who said dinner had to be sophisticated?
7. Chicken & Leek Stir Fry with Snow Peas. This recipe uses thinly sliced chicken, snow peas, and luscious leeks in an easily duplicated stir-fry format. You can sub in almost any vegetables that sound good to you, keeping the sauce and chicken as they are. Do all your prep work in advance–as with all stir fries, the actual cooking moves lightening fast.
8. Old-Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie. This recipe is as good the first time you make it as it is when you eat it for days in your lunchbox. The rich chicken filling is a perfect contrast with the also-rich and crisp pot pie topping. Be warned: this is a little bit of a project to put together.
9. Chicken Curry with Bananas, Raisins, and Peanuts. While there are a million curry chicken recipes, this is the one I’ve been making recently–creamy with coconut milk and sweet with surprising but just-right bites of banana.
10. Chicken Parmesan. We grew up having this for dinner at least monthly. In a small kitchen, you have to be super organized with your prepwork and frying, but you’ll be ecstatic when your pan of golded, sauced, cheesed chicken emerges from the oven–I promise.
11. Chicken Tikka Masala. A classic. With Indian restaurants a little inconsistent in New York City, we’ve been satisfying our cravings with homemade tikka masala for years. Best of all, it’s really not all that hard to make, though do leave a little extra time for marinating if you can.
12. Healthy Chicken Chile with Barley. I developed this recipe to deliver the glorious satisfaction of chili but to be a lot less work, more nutritious, and lightened up with grains and vegetables. On summer nights, this could definitely become the filling of simple corn tacos–just top with yogurt, cheese, and avocado.
13. Greek-Style Roasted Chicken with Potatoes. Everyone needs a roasted chicken recipe to rely on, and this is mine. The chicken is flavored with lemon, oregano, garlic, and thyme. But watch out, chicken: the potatoes that cook beneath the chicken, in its juices, compete with the meat for MVP.
14. Chicken, Avocado, and Hearts of Palm Chop Chop Salad. If you’ve gotten in the habit of roasting a couple of bone-in chicken breasts every week, it’ll be a cinch to throw together this low-carb, totally tasty, and exquisitely fresh chicken salad. Round out the meal with good bread.