After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, a break from cooking would suit many of us just fine. Yet after all the cookies, eggnog and other tasty transgressions, I usually start to crave some healthy home cooking by the time the New Year rolls in. A quick glance at the Visa bill can make the economics of eating in look pretty good, too!
Enter simple sheet pan dinners. Pairing vegetables and proteins with similar cooking times makes for easy meals and fewer dishes to wash. But the warm, comforting aroma that wafts from the kitchen as this dish bakes will make everyone think you’re working really hard.
I often serve the chicken and vegetables over quinoa that I’ve tossed with a quick olive dressing, but a basic green salad works equally well. In fact, I also use this dressing on a favorite Greek-inspired salad incorporating cannellini beans and artichokes. (That savory combo is on my ever-growing list of recipes to include on this site!)
The simple magic behind this rustic recipe is a hot oven that crisps the chicken skin while the meat underneath remains juicy and tender. The veggies caramelize and the addition of artichokes and olives adds a well-paired burst of flavor.
With the exception of the chicken, all of the ingredients can easily be stored in the pantry. Keeping a package of bone-in chicken in the freezer makes this an easy meal to fit into the regular weeknight rotation.
Yields 4 servings.
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (such as thighs, breasts, and drumsticks; about 3 pounds total)
- 1 pound fingerling potatoes (small new or red bliss potatoes may be substituted; half or quarter if large)
- 1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts (canned in water, not oil), well drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
- 3/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and well drained *
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 whole Kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill
For the chicken: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and grease a large, rimmed baking sheet. Place the chicken, potatoes and artichoke hearts on the baking sheet. Toss with the 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with the thyme, salt and pepper, and toss again to evenly coat. Spread in a single layer with the skin side of the chicken facing up.
Roast on the top rack for 30 to 35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part (avoiding the bone) registers 165 degrees F. (I have also roasted on the middle oven rack. In this case, I broil a minute or two at the end for a little extra crispiness and browning.)
For the quinoa: While the chicken is in the oven, bring the water to a boil in a medium-size pot. Add the rinsed and drained quinoa, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes (check after about 12 minutes) or until the water is fully absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to rest, covered, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, chopped olives, salt, and pepper in a small jar or bowl. Put the top on the jar and shake well or whisk together until combined. When the quinoa is finished, spoon a few tablespoons of the dressing over the quinoa and toss. Reserve the remaining amount to serve on the side or for a Greek salad another night.
Serve the quinoa topped with the roasted vegetables and the chicken alongside. Garnish with fresh thyme, if desired.
- * Quinoa has a bitter natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter. For this reason, quinoa should be rinsed in a fine-mesh strainer prior to cooking. A fine-mesh strainer ensures that the tiny seeds won’t wash down the drain. If your sieve allows some of the quinoa seeds to wash through, try this helpful tip the next time: Wet the sieve before adding the quinoa. The water will create a barrier that prevents the seeds from escaping.
For another easy chicken dinner and a reader favorite…
Chicken in Milk — the most tender, juicy chicken…and it’s so simple