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Recipe yields perfectly cooked chicken breast

“What is there to eat?” That phrase plays on repeat in every household in the world. Today I’m sharing one of the handiest shortcuts to give you a great answer when the inevitable question is asked. Now you can say, “There’s chicken in the fridge, go make yourself something.”

I call this recipe “Every Week Chicken” because I make this chicken nearly every week for my family. And once you try this, you might do the same. Chicken breast can be troublesome because it’s so lean; it’s easy to overcook. You’ll find this recipe produces tender, juicy chicken every time.

This is the simplest recipe for oven-roasted chicken breast. It’s perfect for an easy dinner or to make in advance for meal prep all week long. Moist and flavorful, this is the chicken you want waiting in the fridge to expedite your dinner, stick in a salad, slam on a sandwich, participate in a pasta, put on a pizza. You get the idea.

This simple salt and pepper seasoning gives the chicken tons of flavor yet keeps it neutral enough to play well with other flavor profiles. As always, feel free to adjust to your personal preferences.

Sometimes it’s the simplest of recipes that become the most useful and loved. Enjoy.

EVERY WEEK CHICKEN

What you’ll need:

4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, about 6 breasts

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Olive oil or your choice of cooking spray

Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 375 F. For easy cleanup, line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Brush the chicken with a little olive oil or give them a quick spray of cooking spray. Mix the salt and pepper in a small bowl and season both sides of the chicken breasts with the mixture then put them on the prepared baking sheet, uncovered. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Chicken should register 160 F (it will continue to cook when removed from heat). Remove chicken and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

This cooking time works on chicken breasts of nearly all sizes, from ¾ inch up to 1½ inches. If your chicken breast is thinner than ¾-inch thick, reduce cooking time to 25 minutes.

To store, place in a storage container. I prefer glass to plastic for this. Pour the accumulated pan juices over the chicken for flavor and to keep the chicken moist. Store in the fridge for as many as five days.

What do you do with all this chicken? Besides chicken salad, sandwiches and wraps, here are two fabulous ideas.

Barbecue Chicken French Bread Pizza: 1 loaf French bread, ¾ cup barbecue sauce, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 cup shredded or diced cooked chicken, ¼ cup chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut bread in half lengthwise. Spread ¼ cup barbecue sauce and sprinkle ½ cup cheese over each half of the bread. Divide chicken and onion between both. Top with remaining cheese and bake 15 minutes. Drizzle with remaining barbecue sauce and top with cilantro. Slice and serve.

Chicken Avocado Quesadillas: 4 flour tortillas, 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, ¾ cup shredded or diced cooked chicken, 1 ripe avocado diced. Optional: ¼ cup sauce of choice (i.e., ranch, barbecue, teriyaki). Heat a skillet on medium heat. Place one tortilla in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with half of the cheese, chicken and avocado; drizzle with sauce if using. Place a second tortilla on top and delicately squish with a spatula. Cook until the bottom is golden brown. Carefully flip the quesadilla over and heat until the other side is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Yield: 2 quesadillas.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

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