When you need a simple and nourishing dinner that requires little active prep time, try a one-dish meal of chicken and red potatoes. A classic combination of chicken and potatoes makes an easy and tasty weeknight meal. Cook chicken to perfection and create well-browned baby red potatoes in the same time for a carefree meal that will have your family reaching for seconds.
One-Dish Chicken and Potatoes
Choose bone-in chicken pieces for baking with baby red potatoes, as these are the optimal choice to match the time needed to cook the potatoes. Drumsticks and thighs are the best choice for a one-pan chicken and potato dish. While whole chickens are an economical choice, the longer cooking time needed means overcooked potatoes; if you use a whole chicken, cut it up to expedite the cooking process. Baby red potatoes smaller than 1 inch in diameter can be left whole; otherwise, cut all potatoes in half to hasten their cooking times.
Chicken and Potato Seasonings
There are many avenues for seasoning a one-dish chicken and potato bake. A simple salt and pepper rub is ideal on a busy day, but if you have more time, creating a more complex spice blend will yield delicious results. Paprika, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper rubbed together on chicken pieces and potatoes takes everyday chicken to extraordinary. Or, use pre-made seasonings you have on hand to flavor your chicken such as Italian seasonings and salad dressings.
Chicken and Potato Cooking Basics
A 400-degree Fahrenheit oven works best to evenly cook and brown chicken and potatoes, but this temperature can be adjusted down to 350 F or up to 425 F as needed. Taking roughly an hour to complete cooking, chicken and potatoes benefit from about 30 minutes covered with foil and 30 minutes without to brown the skin of the chicken well. Cook the dish until chicken juices run clear and the internal temperature measures 165 F using a kitchen thermometer. Pierce the potatoes with a fork to ensure doneness before serving -- they should be soft enough to slide off the fork easily.
Chicken and Potato Tips
Spray non-stick cooking spray on your pan before baking to ease the cleaning process. Stir the potatoes once or twice during cooking to ensure even browning; flip chicken once to brown both sides evenly. If you prefer to use a leaner cut of meat such as boneless breasts, add some water or chicken broth to the pan to ensure that the chicken does not dry out; additionally, cook the potatoes alone for 10 to 15 minutes before adding the boneless chicken and liquid to the pan. Serve chicken and potatoes with a side of cooked vegetables or prepare a simple green salad for a complete and balanced meal.
Based in Portland, Ore., Maxine Wallace is a writer with more than 12 years of experience. With a bachelor's degree in journalism and experience working on marketing campaigns for large media agencies, she is well-versed in multiple industries including the Internet, cooking, gardening, health, fitness, travel and holistic living.