Easy Chicken Dinner
When feeding an army (or just your family) having an arsenal of easy weeknight chicken dinners gives you a leg up on the enemy (you know those hungry kids!). My absolute favorite when cooking are one-pot meals, and this one-pot recipe is one of my all-time favorites.
Even better than using only one pot, it is from Giada – which makes me feel all fancy when I am making it like I am a beautiful Italian vixen rather than a short, scrawny suburban housewife in yoga pants! Plus it uses chicken thighs – literally the cheapest cut of meat at the grocery store right now. Yup, bone in, skin on, chicken thighs.
When my friend, Mindy recommended this recipe to me, my first thought was that it would be way beyond my abilities. But trust me this one only looks fancy, it is super simple. Of course, I have made changes, like I always do…and cut out the ingredients that I don’t have on hand…
One pot is all you need
But I digress, here you go. You start with a big pot. And when I say a big pot the one I use is the biggest one I have – but for you, in a normal well-stocked kitchen, it is probably a medium sized pot. Warm up ¼ cup of oil (vegetable, coconut, whatever) over medium-high heat; add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and whisk for 2-3 minutes. Gently set in your chicken thighs as the oil will pop and sizzle (note: at this point, Giada’s recipe calls for adding fresh ginger…this is way beyond me and my utilization of fancy ingredients…use if you want to) I simply salt and pepper the chicken and move on.
Cook the chicken for about five minutes on each side; then add a can of diced tomatoes. Another side note: if you check out Giada’s original recipe* she will say to add a can of whole tomatoes and break them apart. Seriously?!
Dump and Go
Why bother when you can just buy diced tomatoes and skip a step, not sure if it makes a difference but my family has never complained. Plus I don’t even bother to drain the can; just dump the whole thing in as you are going to be adding liquid anyway. Keep it simple!
Speaking of keeping it simple, Giada, of course, calls for fresh parsley and thyme at this point in the recipe – of which I have neither on hand, ever. So I sprinkle in some dried thyme from my seasoning shelf and call it all good. She also calls for 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces – what do I use? A half a bag of baby carrots of course; then peel and quarter three Yukon gold potatoes and toss those in as well. Add 2 cups of water and cover.
Key: Add wine to the cook! At this point comes my favorite part, you simmer for about 35-40 minutes which means I have time I to pour a glass of wine and clean up the inevitable mess. This way after dinner all I have to clean up are our plates, and my wine glass! Serve with some brown rice and a bottle of Riesling (DH fave) and you will have a very happy crowd…trust me the boys love this every time I make it!
Each week when I am meal planning, this one always seems to come up more often then not and it is always a crowd-pleaser!
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 pieces of chicken thighs or breasts
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger (optional)
- salt and pepper
- 1 can diced tomatoes (not drained)
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped thyme (or seasoning)
- 1/2 bag of baby carrots (or 3 regular carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces)
- 3-4 Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and quartered
- 2 cups water
- Warm up ¼ cup of vegetable oil over medium-high heat
- Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and whisk for 2-3 minutes
- Gently set in your chicken thighs as the oil will pop and sizzle
- salt and pepper chicken
- Cook chicken 5 minutes on each side
- Add can of diced tomatoes, not drained
- Sprinkle with thyme seasoning
- Add baby carrots and potatoes
- cover with 2 cups of water and stir
- cover the pot and simmer 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Once chicken is cooked all the way through and vegetables are tender remove from heat