Skip to main content

Get instant access to everything. 2-Week Free Trial

Make 2021 the year of “Why not?” in the kitchen with Digital All Access. Get all our recipes, videos, and up-to-date ratings and cook anything with confidence.

Get Free Access ▸
Volume 3

Dinner This Week: Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts, Brazilian Fish Stew, and Baked Four-Cheese Pasta for dinner in an hour or less.

Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.

Dinner 1: Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Pan-Steamed Broccolini

Boneless, skinless breasts cook quickly, but they’re also notoriously dry and bland. To keep our Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts moist (and well-seasoned), we salt them and then gently parcook them in a low oven. Right before serving, we coat them in a protective layer of oil and cornstarch and sear them in a hot skillet to develop a crisp crust. The tender florets of broccolini cook more quickly than its thicker stems, resulting in overcooked florets by the time the stalks become crisp-tender. For Pan-Steamed Broccolini, we solve this problem by splitting the thicker stems lengthwise so that they are the same size as the thinner ones, allowing for even cooking along the length of the vegetable.

Printable Shopping Lists: Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts and Pan-Steamed Broccolini

Equipment Review Large Dutch Ovens

Dutch ovens do it all. But which pot makes “it all” easiest?

Dinner 2: Brazilian Shrimp and Fish Stew with Rice Pilaf

Moqueca is a bright, fresh-tasting fish stew from Brazil made from everyday ingredients. Cod and shrimp are tossed with garlic, salt, and pepper before cooking to heighten their flavor. Rich, sweet coconut milk—along with  peppers, onion, tomatoes, and cilantro—make up the base of the stew. To finish, we added more cilantro and a couple of tablespoons of homemade pepper sauce, which elevates the dish with its bright, vinegary tang. As a foil to all of the bold flavors, we pair the stew with a Basic Rice Pilaf. Toasting the grains of rice in butter before cooking gives the pilaf nuttiness. A ratio of 1 cup of rice to 1 ½ cups of water yields fluffy, separate grains.

Printable Shopping Lists: Moqueca and Basic Rice Pilaf

Equipment Review Broiler-Safe 13 by 9-Inch Baking Dishes

Since our favorite 13 by 9-inch Pyrex dish can’t go under the broiler, we looked for one that could.

Dinner 3: Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta with Arugula Salad

Our Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta is the ultimate adult version of mac and cheese. It starts with a flavorful blend of four Italian cheeses: fontina, Gorgonzola, Pecorino Romano, and Parmesan. Combining the hot bechamel sauce and pasta with the cheese—and not cooking the cheese in the sauce—preserves the fresh flavor of the the different cheeses. A crisp topping of bread crumbs and more Parmesan is the perfect finishing touch. To balance the rich pasta, we recommend an Arugula Salad. For this salad, we found that a vinaigrette made with mustard was too spicy to pair with the arugula; our surprise solution was to add a spoonful of jam, which added fruity sweetness, pulling the flavors right in line.

Printable Shopping Lists: Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta and Arugula Salad


To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.

Leave a comment and join the conversation!

0 Comments
Read & post comments with a free account
Join the conversation with our community of home cooks, test cooks, and editors.
First Name is Required
Last Name is Required
Email Address is Required
How we use your email?
Password is Required
JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.