When you're looking for easy dinner ideas, you can't go wrong with chicken. It pairs well with almost any flavorings and can be cooked in so many ways. These great ideas come together in an hour or less:
Chicken and orzo with lemon and olives: This dish is one-pot perfection. Chicken drumsticks cook with a simple medley of orzo pasta, lemon wedges, olives, oregano, garlic and bay leaves in a richly flavored dish that comes together in only 45 minutes.
Massaman curry with chicken: Bright and fresh and mildly spicy, Cholada Thai's homemade Massaman curry paste in this recipe marries perfectly with sweet coconut milk in this rich, slow-simmered chicken stew.
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.
You can find the recipes below.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHICKEN AND ORZO WITH LEMON AND OLIVES
Total time: 45 minutes | Serves 6 to 8
Note: This recipe can easily be doubled and also can be made with chicken thighs. Use a good-quality chicken broth; homemade chicken stock is even better.
8 chicken drumsticks
Salt, pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups orzo
3 cups chicken broth
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 small lemon, cut into 8 wedges
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 large bay leaf
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, divided
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the chicken legs well on all sides with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
2. In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the legs well on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan.
3. Add the orzo, chicken stock, garlic, lemon wedges and juice, olives, bay leaf and 1 tablespoon of the oregano. Stir to combine all the ingredients, then return the chicken to the pan. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is done (the meat will be firm and its juices will run clear). Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, sprinkle with the remaining oregano and serve.
Each of 8 servings: 317 calories; 21 grams protein; 32 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 11 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 48 mg. cholesterol; 622 mg. sodium.
MASSAMAN CURRY WITH CHICKEN
Total time: 1 hour | Serves 4
Note: Adapted from Cholada Thai Cuisine in Thousand Oaks. The restaurant uses Mae Ploy brand coconut milk, which is generally available at Thai and Asian markets, as well as well-stocked Asian sections of select supermarkets. Lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and shrimp paste are generally available at Thai and Asian markets.
MASSAMAN CURRY PASTE
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground clove
10 dried Thai chiles, chopped (seed the chiles for less heat)
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 ounces shallots (from 3 to 4 whole), peeled and chopped
2 ounces lemongrass (about 1/2 stalk), trimmed and chopped
1 thumb-size piece galangal, peeled and chopped
3/4 teaspoon chopped kaffir lime leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons shrimp paste
1. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds: In a small saute pan, toast the seeds over medium heat until aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Shake the pan frequently to keep the seeds from burning on any sides. Remove from heat and grind the seeds, along with the cardamom seeds, in a spice grinder, coffee mill or using a mortar and pestle.
2. Transfer the ground seeds to a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Add the nutmeg, clove, chiles, garlic, shallot, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. Pound the ingredients until finely pulverized with no visible chile pieces. Add the shrimp paste and mash to combine. (If using a food processor, drizzle in a little water as needed to puree the ingredients to a paste.) This makes about 1 1/4 cups curry paste, more than is needed for the recipe. The paste can be made up to 2 weeks in advance, covered and refrigerated until needed.
MASSAMAN CURRY WITH CHICKEN ASSEMBLY
1 tablespoon oil (soybean, peanut or corn oil)
3 to 4 tablespoons Massaman curry paste
1 (19-ounce) can coconut milk (unshaken so the cream rises to the top), divided
1 boiling potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size cubes
1 cup whole raw peanuts
1 tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1. In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Stir in the curry paste. Cook the curry paste, stirring frequently, until aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Stir in the coconut cream (the thicker liquid at the top of the can). Simmer until the oil separates, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Stir in the potato and cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes just begin to soften, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken cubes turn opaque on the outside, about 3 minutes.
4. Stir in the peanuts and tomato and remaining coconut milk. Simmer for a few minutes to marry the flavors.
5. Stir in the sugar and fish sauce. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture darkens and the oil rises to the top, 15 to 20 minutes. If the sauce begins to thicken too much, stir in a little water as needed. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Each serving: 697 calories; 37 grams protein; 25 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams fiber; 53 grams fat; 30 grams saturated fat; 63 mg cholesterol; 6 grams sugar; 858 mg sodium.
TUSCAN CHICKEN STEW
Total time: About 1 hour | Serves 4
Note: Adapted from Food Network Kitchens' "How to Boil Water.".
4 cloves garlic
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or Great Northern beans
8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
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 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.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times