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Food Daily Dish

Easy dinner recipes: Three tempting chicken ideas

You can never have too many easy dinner recipes for chicken. It's such a versatile bird, and lends itself to so many flavorings. And did we mention how easy it is to prepare? Check out these options:

Campanile's crispy flattened chicken: Campanile, which opened in 1989, helped to shape the culinary landscape of Los Angeles, influencing so many of today's chefs (many of whom passed through its kitchen). The landmark restaurant closed last fall, but Mark Peel was happy to share his recipe for this signature Campanile dish, originally published in "The Food of Campanile" in 1997.

Tuscan chicken stew: When you're looking for a perfect one-dish meal, look no further than this recipe for Tuscan chicken stew. Chicken thighs are braised with white beans in a light tomato sauce, the stew finished with fresh spinach and lots of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Best of all? The whole meal comes together in about an hour.

RECIPES: 99 easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less

Pollo al Colmao: Cuban institution El Colmao credits this recipe to "old grandpa Eduardo Sousa." The specialty features tender, slow-cooked chicken stewed in a Creole-style tomato sauce dotted with green olives and peas and spiced with chile powder. This recipe takes a little longer to make, clocking in at 1 1/2 hours, but much of that time is spent in the oven, and the flavor is well worth it.

You can find all three recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

CAMPANILE'S CRISPY FLATTENED CHICKEN

35 minutes, plus chilling time. Serves 4

4 whole boned chicken breasts with the skin on and the first wing bone in

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

6 sage leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Lift up the skin on the cut side of the chicken breasts and insert the garlic slices. Distribute them evenly under the skin, taking care not to break the skin. Rub the sage leaves between your hands to release their oils and insert the leaves under the skin with the garlic cloves. Pull the skin back over the breast. If the chicken has not been brined, salt and pepper liberally on both sides. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until hot. Add the olive oil and heat to just below smoking. Season the skin side of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place skin-side down in the pan. Season the other side of the breasts. Turn the heat down to medium low and place another heavy pan on top of the breasts, so that they are pressed flat into the pan. If the second pan is not heavy, weight it with canned tomatoes. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed over both breasts. They must cook evenly and at the same time, because once you turn them over you can no longer weight them. Cook until very brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.

3. Turn the breasts over and cook for 5 more minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the heat, let stand 5 minutes, then slice and serve, or cut each breast in half and serve.

EACH SERVING: 509 calories ; 59 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 29 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 165 mg cholesterol; 0 sugar; 140 mg sodium

NOTE: Adapted from "The Food of Campanile." For super-moist chicken, brine the breasts a day ahead.

TUSCAN CHICKEN STEW

Total time: About 1 hour

Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from Food Network Kitchens' "How to Boil Water."

1 onion

4 cloves garlic

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or Great Northern beans

8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 large sprig rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes

3/4 cup chicken broth

1 small head escarole or 4 cups baby spinach leaves (about 8 ounces)

1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)

1. Chop the onion; smash and peel the garlic. Rinse and drain the beans in a colander or strainer.

2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season all over with salt and black pepper. Add the oil to the Dutch oven. When the oil is hot, add the chicken skinned (rounded) sides down, and brown, in batches if necessary, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter when done.

3. When all of the chicken has been browned, reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and herbs; cook, stirring until the onions are slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until brick red, about 1 minute. Add the wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that cling to the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until syrupy, about 1 minute.

4. Add the beans, tomatoes and chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Nestle the chicken pieces in the stew, adding to the pan any collected juices from the plate. Simmer the stew, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

5. Trim the escarole and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. (If you're using baby spinach, there's no need to do this.) Wash the escarole or spinach and drain. Add the greens to the stew, cooking only until wilted, about 4 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve in shallow bowls.

Each serving: 642 calories; 55 grams protein; 24 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 32 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 179 mg cholesterol; 5 grams sugar; 650 mg sodium.

POLLO AL COLMAO

Total time: 1 1/2 hours

Servings: 6 to 8

Note: Adapted from El Colmao. The restaurant serves the chicken with rice and black beans.

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

1/2 large onion, sliced thinly into half-rings, plus 1 large onion, chopped, divided

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

3 pounds chicken pieces

1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon white pepper, divided

3/4 cup dry white wine, divided

1 tomato, seeded and chopped

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1/4 cup sweet peas

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup chile powder (type can vary, use heat to taste)

1 cup pitted whole green olives, or to taste

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 teaspoons oil over high heat. Add the sliced onions to the oil and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is aromatic and the onions are just beginning to color, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

3. Sprinkle the chicken evenly on both sides with three-fourths teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon pepper and place, skin side up and in one layer, over the onions in the Dutch oven. Add one-fourth cup white wine, cover and bake until the chicken is cooked halfway through, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Remove the par-baked chicken (with the onion-garlic mixture and any liquid) to a separate baking dish or bowl.

5. To the Dutch oven, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and chopped onion and sweat the onions over medium-low heat until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

6. Stir in the chopped tomato, tomato sauce, tomato paste and sweet peas, along with the remaining one-half cup white wine, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, one-fourth teaspoon pepper, chile powder and olives and bring to a boil over high heat.

7. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and add back the chicken, onion-garlic mixture and cooking liquid to the sauce. Cover and continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Each of 8 servings: 340 calories; 29 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 17 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 82 mg cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 1,144 mg sodium.

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Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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