Chicken with Dijon-Cream Sauce

Chicken — tasty, versatile, convenient — chicken is my fallback for many a weeknight dinner. It’s fast and easy, and there are so many ways to prepare chicken that I feel guilty when I fall back on traditional baked chicken breast with rice and veggies (don’t get me wrong: I love this combo, but it can get a bit monotonous).

I feel less guilty once grilling season rolls around because everything tastes better hot off the grill.

On the other hand, I’ve fallen in love with pan sauces. They are a terrific, easy way to pep up ordinary chicken. The mustardy, creamy sauce here brightens up any cut of chicken. Added bonus is it brings loads of flavor to accompanying rice or potatoes (or even GF bread or biscuits).

I’ve made this with a variety of cuts of chicken, but (typically!) prefer bone-in skin-on thighs for their flavor. You can substitute for what you prefer, adjusting cooking times accordingly. Also, regular smooth Dijon mustard works quite well here.

Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya

Jambalaya is most strongly associated with Louisiana, though friends from Mississippi claim it as their own. Every person who makes jambalaya has his or her own secret recipe — and, if you spend about five minutes searching for recipes on Google, you will discover dozens of variations of this classic dish.

Put another way: this recipe is just a starting point for your own version of jambalaya. My recipe anticipates you will have plenty of time to cook this dish…but, as you will see, there are plenty of opportunities to speed up the meal if time is short.

There are two major types of jambalaya: Creole, which contains tomato and is often associated with New Orleans, Cajun, which relies upon browned veggies and meat for a wonderful smoky flavor. My recipe blends the best of both styles, featuring chicken, spicy andouille sausage, and, when it’s on sale, shrimp.

Needless to say, jambalaya is a great party dish because the recipe can easily be doubled. It’s also a great dish for crockpots.

Broccoli and Goat Cheese Frittata

Frittatas are one of the most flexible foods you can have in your cooking repertoire. They’re perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and even late night dining. And while this recipe features broccoli, the truth about frittatas is this: you can make them with a variety of ingredients — substitute asparagus or spinach or whatever you have on hand for the broccoli.

And don’t think you have to confine yourself to goat cheese. Freshly grated Parmesan is a great substitute.

Another trick — one that makes preparing this recipe even faster — is to used already cooked veggies. If you do, reduce the saute time in Step 2. You can also use fewer eggs if you have fewer people. Adjust the other ingredients accordingly.