In the last few years, the bulk of my friends have become parents. It has been a joy to watch these dear people grow families and to see their once-tiny, squawking babes turn into little humans with preferences and desires.
One thing I’ve learned is that once kids enter the picture in your social circle, it becomes a whole lot harder to throw a traditional dinner party. And so, I stopped having them. Instead I started inviting people over for more casual gatherings and welcomed their children.
In the process, I’ve become a connoisseur of meals that allow you to cook once and satisfy everyone. Burrito bars are one good option, because they allow for mixing, matching and liberal applications of hot sauce for the parents.
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Like so many other Americans, my husband and I eat a lot of chicken. I roast them whole, grill marinated breasts for slicing over salad, and regularly stew thighs for soups and enchiladas. Because this particular protein makes such regular appearances on our dining table, I’m always on the lookout for methods that will breathe new life into this poultry staple.
One way to reinvigorate the chicken habit is with a new marinade. I tend to be loyal to either teriyaki sauce or a slurry of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh rosemary and garlic. Both are delicious, but they can get tiresome over time. So when I spotted The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Pollo Asado, with its marinade of orange, lemon and lime juice, I felt called to give it a try.
Because I have a fairly small household, I halved the amount of chicken, but I kept the volume of marinade the same (because it’s easy enough to squeeze some citrus). After the chicken had spent a couple of hours in the fridge, I heated a grill pan in the oven (it was a rainy day and the logistics of outdoor grilling were beyond me) and cooked the chicken until it registered 165 degrees F.
Before you start cooking, read these tips
Chicken breast is an easy go-to ingredient — quick-cooking, versatile and, of course, palette-pleasing. This week’s Most Popular Pin(s) of the Week is Rachael Ray’s Top 100 30-Minute Meals, which includes several easy chicken recipes. Pictured above is an eye-catching plate of Parmigiano and Herb Chicken Breast Tenders served with a side of pasta.
This recipe is versatile — you can serve these tenders hot or cold. If cold, pair them with a pasta salad. If hot, they’re good as is with a simple mixed green salad. For a quick chicken Parm, top the tenders with tomato sauce and cheese, and serve them with a side of spaghetti.
For more everyday recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Main Dishes board on Pinterest.
Get the recipes: Rachael’s Top 100 30-Minute Meals
You can still have your fried chicken and eat it too. This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, Oven-Fried Chicken, uses corn cereal crumbs and crushed crackers to create a delicious coating for Ellie’s faux-fried chicken. A light spray of olive oil before baking guarantees lightly crispy results.
For more everyday healthy recipes for kids and families, visit Food Network’s Let’s Get Healthy board on Pinterest.
Get the recipe: Oven-Fried Chicken
Recently FN Dish shared Food Network’s top-five grilled chicken recipes for enjoyable summer cookouts, but this week we’re focusing on a specialty chicken that deserves the spotlight on its own: beer can chicken. Cooked whole and most often vertically over an open can of beer, these chicken recipes promise meat that’s particularly succulent and tender, given that the beer steams the bird while it cooks and infuses it with flavor. While the presentation of beer can chicken is indeed impressive and guarantees wows from party guests, the dish is easy enough to prepare on a weeknight for a go-to dinner. Check out Food Network’s best beer can chickens below from Bobby, Guy, the Neelys and more chefs for top-rated recipe inspiration.
5. Beer Can Chicken — When cooking chicken over beer, it’s important to start with a half-full can of beer, so that when the brew bubbles on the grill, it doesn’t overflow and burn.
4. Beer Can Chicken with Cola Barbecue Sauce — Tangy, sweet and salty all at once, the cola-ketchup barbecue sauce is spiked with Worcestershire sauce and served alongside crispy-skinned chicken.
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A simple blank slate that you can dress up with seemingly any and all flavors and textures, grilled chicken is perhaps the ultimate go-to family dinner, guaranteed to please kids and grownups alike. Given the versatility of grilled chicken, however, it can be challenging to know where to begin in transforming the meat into a flavorful, juicy meal. Check out Food Network’s top-five grilled chicken dishes below for crave-worthy recipe inspiration, and find out how Guy, Bobby, Alton and more Food Network chefs put their signature spins on this classic summertime favorite.
5. Asian Barbecued Chicken — The secret to this weeknight-friendly dinner is finishing the chicken with a sweet, tangy homemade barbecue sauce featuring five-spice powder, garlic, hoisin sauce and honey.
4. Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken — Guy lets a mixture of mango, chipotle peppers and cilantro do triple duty in his simple recipe: It serves as a marinade for his bone-in chicken, a glaze with which to baste the meat while cooking and a finishing sauce to serve on the side.
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Dry, flavorless chicken. It’s something that every backyard griller has faced at one point or another in his or her outdoor cooking career. Once it happens, even an easygoing home cook will start taking extreme measures to ensure that future grilled chicken stays moist.
Some swear by an overnight rest in a seasoned salt brine (much like what is recommended for Thanksgiving turkeys). Others choose to perch a whole chicken atop an open can of beer, thinking that the vapors help keep the bird tender. Truly, there are enough dry rubs, soy-based marinades and tangy sauces out there to fill a small stadium.
Thanks to Alex Guarnaschelli, however, and her recipe for Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken with Harissa, I’ve discovered that you don’t need any of that stuff. All it takes to make a gorgeously tender and burnished grilled chicken is a sturdy pair of kitchen shears, a little bit of yogurt, a few spices and some steady, indirect heat. She also includes a recipe for homemade harissa (a spicy sauce with roasted red peppers as its base) that makes this chicken positively dreamy. The whole thing is easy, nearly foolproof and just perfect for The Weekender.
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When you think of chicken salad, do you imagine a cool, creamy combination of shredded chicken with mayonnaise, or is a mixture of fresh greens with perhaps grilled, sliced boneless breasts more your style? Both variations are easy to make and endlessly versatile, as they can be prepared with almost any ingredients you happen to have on hand and can be customized to your tastes. Check out Food Network’s top-five chicken salads below to find a roundup of recipes from Sunny, Bobby, Ina and more Food Network chefs that features five-star inspiration for these two styles of simple salads.
5. Picnic Potato and Chicken Salad — Served on eat-with-your-hands lettuce cups, Sunny’s bacon-studded chicken salad features tender roasted potatoes, poached chicken and a creamy herb topping.
4. Chinese Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Dressing — In only 20 quick minutes, Bobby tosses a salad of crisp cabbage, lettuce and colorful vegetables with a honey-laced mixture of peanut butter and soy sauce before topping the dish with shredded chicken and chopped peanuts.
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We moved to the United States from Italy about six months ago, and the adjustments have actually gone pretty smoothly. Our family is indeed American, but a four-year project took us to Rome, where all three kids were born. Now they’re in the thick of learning all things American first-hand, including chicken nuggets.
So when I found a recipe for a homemade version online, I made a few updates and came up with a new staple for a tasty dinner that travels well, too. These nuggets have been to the park, the playground and our own table.
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I hesitated for a long time before including a recipe for roasted chicken in my cookbook. It seemed so basic and simple, but as I talked to more and more home cooks it became apparent that roasting a whole chicken is an intimidating kitchen project for many people. And when I use the word project, I mean it very loosely, because really there’s no fuss in doing it.
The real key is the right cooking temperature; that’s what ensures a super crispy skin, but also keeps the white meat juicy and moist. And forget about trussing — this isn’t your mother’s roast chicken. In fact, I’ve found that the chicken cooks more evenly if you leave the legs wide open. It allows the heat to circulate throughout the chicken, so the dark and white meats cook evenly.
Learn how to make a roast chicken