Meal planning is both daunting and exciting.
The pressure does get to us when try and come up with recipes for an entire family. However, it does make the entire experience more exhilarating and rewarding at that.
One of the staples of meal planning is the good ol’ chicken. It’s easy to prepare, hard to mess up and cheap on the pocket. If you’re in need of inspiration, then look no further.
Rachel Ray rounded up the tastiest chicken recipes in the land. Here are out top three picks!
1. Scott Conant’s Pan Roasted Chicken with Potatoes & Green Olives
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
One 3- to 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces or 3 pounds legs and thighs
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
8 to 10 fingerling potatoes or 2 to 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup pitted chopped green olives
To brown the chicken: In a wide, heavy-based sauté or frying pan, preferably cast-iron, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken parts well with some salt and a lot of black pepper.
Add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook until the skin is well-browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Turn the chicken, reduce the heat to medium, partially cover the pan (another pan, inverted, can take the place of a lid) and continue cooking another 15 minutes.
To finish: Add the onion to the pan with the chicken. Continue cooking, stirring the onion occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through—the juices from a thigh pieces will run clear when pricked with the tines of a fork—another 10-15 minutes. Add the olives and cook for another few minutes just to warm them through. Serve immediately.
2. Spicy Chicken and Cheddar Waffle Sandwiches
For the Cheddar-Pecan-Green Onion Waffles:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 eggs, room temp
5 tablespoons melted butter, room temp
2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar, shredded or cut into fine dice
1 bunch scallions, chopped, whites and greens
1 cup chopped pecans
For the Spicy Fried Chicken Cutlets:
Vegetable oil for frying
4 pieces chicken breast, 6 ounces each, pounded ½ inch
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated onion
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the Maple Mustard:
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown spicy mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
12 slices smoky bacon, baked on a slotted pan at 375°F until crisp
Preheat waffle iron to high and a couple of inches of vegetable oil in large cast-iron skillet to 365°F over medium to medium-high heat.
Whisk up dry and wet waffle ingredients in separate bowls then combine. Prepare 8 waffles to very crisp (cook 2 batches on a 4-waffle iron).
For the chicken, set chicken cutlets into buttermilk and hot sauce for a few minutes. Whisk up the flour with a liberal amount of salt and pepper, the granulated garlic and onion, paprika and cayenne. Double-coat the chicken in buttermilk and flour, and fry to deeply golden, about 8 minutes.
Stir up maple syrup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
Serve chicken with bacon, lettuce and tomato on waffles drizzled with maple mustard and cut corner-to-corner.
3. Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches with Red Cabbage Mango Slaw
For the Red Cabbage Mango Slaw:
1/4 cup gluten-free light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plain 2% Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
2 medium mangoes, peeled, pitted, and shredded
For the Barbecue Chicken:
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
2 bone-in, skin-on, chicken breasts
1 cup prepared gluten-free barbecue sauce
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons salted butter
8 5-inch gluten-free corn tortillas, warmed or 4 gluten-free sandwich buns, for serving
Make the slaw: Place the mayonnaise, yogurt, honey, vinegar, salt and black pepper in a large bowl, and whisk until well combined. Add the red cabbage and the mangoes and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Prepare the chicken: Heat a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the olive or canola oil and add the chicken breasts, skin-side down. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes, as the chicken browns. To a slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce, onions and the honey. Add the browned chicken and cook on high for high for at least an hour or two then switch to low.
Remove the chicken from the sauce, remove and discard the skin and bones. Shred the meat with a fork and return it along with the butter to the sauce, and stir well to coat.
Serve with the slaw on tortillas or mini buns.
image source: rachelrayshow.com