WINNER! WINNER! CHICKEN DINNER: 50 Winning Ways to Cook it Up!

Stacie Billis

Storey Publishing
April 28, 2020
$16.95/Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1635861563

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Stacie Billis is the author of Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner and a veteran food editor, on-air personality, and cohost of Didn’t I Just Feed You?!, the popular food podcast for parents. Billis’s recipes and non-judgmental cooking advice have been featured in dozens of publications including Parents, the Washington Post, and Redbook. She also appears on national and local TV outlets including The TODAY Show, QVC, and Hallmark’s Home & Family to share her recipes and kitchen hacks with other busy home cooks.

With this cookbook on your kitchen counter, you’ll prepare delicious chicken suppers with confidence and ease. Author Stacie Billis’ light, funny, and instructional tone takes the intimidation factor out of working with chicken, whether you’re breaking down a bird or roasting it whole. Each chapter is chock-full of tips and tricks that use a wide range of techniques, from braising and roasting to grilling, slow cooking, and sheet-pan cooking, and all fifty recipes focus on tender meat infused with flavor. Keep roasted chicken classic, or give it pizzazz with the addition of a savory compound butter. Get perfectly crispy tenders without frying or give fajitas with lime crema the sheetpan treatment for easy prep (and cleanup). Other favorite recipes include Chicken Thighs with Maple–Cider Vinegar Glaze and Fennel-Apple Slaw, Sheet Pan Shawarma, Chicken Parmesan Meatballs, Green and White Chicken Chili, Peachy Sriracha Sticky Wings, and Pineapple Chicken Salad with Green Beans and Toasted Coconut. With colorful photographs of every recipe providing ample inspiration, Winner! Winner Chicken Dinner will help you master the classics and discover new favorites for every occasion, from a casual dinner party to a backyard cookout.

Sheet Pan Fajitas with Lime Crema

Yield: 4 servings

 

The only thing that makes me happier than fajitas is an easy cleanup meal. Bring the two together, like in this recipe, and I’m one happy cook. And that’s even without the lime crema, which I can eat by the spoonful. This is one of those rare times when bottled lime juice — with nothing added — is better than freshly squeezed. The reliable acidity level of bottled juice gives the sour cream an intensity that I love for this dish. If you can’t find bottled or prefer not to use it, you’ll need one really juicy lime to get 2 tablespoons of juice — and more if the limes at your market are rock hard, which they tend to be many months of the year. If freshly squeezed juice isn’t giving you the punch of flavor that you want, don’t add more juice, which will just thin the sour cream. Add lime zest instead.

For the chicken

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 bell peppers, cut into 1-­inch-­thick strips (I like using 1 red, 1 green, and 1 yellow or orange pepper)
  • 1 large red onion, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1/2-­inch-­thick wedges
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 11/2- to 2-­inch-­thick strips
  • Warmed tortillas, for serving
  • Fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)
  • Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

For the lime crema

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (see headnote)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Make the Chicken:

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). In the meantime, combine the chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and cumin in a small bowl; set aside.

Combine the bell peppers, onion, and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large bowl, along with about half of the spice mixture (about 3 tablespoons, though it’s okay to estimate here). Toss to coat well and transfer the vegetables to a sheet pan.

Add the chicken strips to the same large bowl along with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining spice mixture. Toss to coat well and transfer the chicken to the sheet pan, arranging everything in a single layer as much as possible.

Place the sheet pan in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables just begin to brown in spots. Turn the broiler to low and transfer the pan to the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes, until everything browns in spots.

If you prefer your veggies charred in spots, turn the broiler to high instead and cook for no more than 5 minutes, watching carefully to ensure that nothing burns too quickly and that the chicken doesn’t overcook.

Make the lime crema:

While the chicken is cooking, mix together the sour cream, lime juice, and salt in a medium serving bowl. Adjust the seasoning to taste; if using fresh lime juice, see the headnote about adding lime zest.

Serve the chicken and veggies with lime crema, warmed tortillas, fresh cilantro, and hot sauce, if desired.


My Favorite Fast Food–Style Fried Chicken Sandwich

4 servings

If you’re going to master chicken, you need to know how to fry it up. But remember: we’re curating a handful of fun, vibrant, simple recipes here. So going with bone-in, skin-on pieces for an all-out Sunday-night fried chicken dinner didn’t feel right. (Though the method for that isn’t much different, except that you’ll need more of everything, from flour to oil, and a longer cooking time.)

Borrowing from a more recent fast food history, to which I can speak more honestly (having grown up on the stuff) and that I share with my kids (who are obsessed with the Shake Shack chicken sandwich, and now with this recipe, too), I decided to go with a fried chicken sandwich instead. Plus, the combination of shredded lettuce, pickles, and special sauce gets me every time. Feel free to put your own twist on this sandwich.

 

FOR THE CHICKEN

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Canola oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

FOR THE SANDWICHES

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons dill pickle brine
  • 2 teaspoons mustard, preferably Dijon
  • 4 sandwich rolls, preferably potato rolls
  • Unsalted butter, for the rolls
  • Iceberg lettuce, preferably shredded, for serving
  • Sliced tomato, for serving
  • Dill pickle slices, for serving

MAKE THE CHICKEN: Add the chicken and buttermilk to a bowl with a lid or to a large food storage bag and seal. Set on the counter to marinate for 1 hour or place in the refrigerator for longer, up to overnight. If you don’t have even an hour to spare for marinating, you can use the buttermilk as a dip before dredging the meat in flour, skipping this step altogether. The chicken will not be quite as tender, but it will still be juicy and delicious.

When ready to cook, prepare your frying station: Set a cooling rack on top of a large sheet pan next to the stove. Pour enough oil into a large pot so that it comes 1 inch up the sides. Clip a frying thermometer to the side of your pot.

Whisk together the flour, corn- starch, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a wide, shallow bowl. Start heating the oil over medium-high heat as you dredge the chicken in the flour mixture to coat well. (I like to do this in batches as the oil is ready so that the coating doesn’t get wet before frying from sitting too long on the chicken.)

Once the oil reaches around 360°F (180°C), shake excess flour off of a couple of chicken pieces and drop them in the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pot (I fry in a pot that is 12 inches in diameter and cook two thighs at a time). Fry for 5 minutes, using tongs to carefully flip the pieces halfway through.

Note: You’ll need a frying thermometer to monitor the heat of the oil.

Transfer the fried chicken to the cooling rack, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Repeat until all pieces are done. If desired, lightly dab the chicken with paper towels to soak up any excess oil before serving.

MAKE THE SANDWICHES:

To make the sauce, whisk together the mayonnaise, chives, pickle brine, and mustard. If not assembling the sandwiches right away, set the sauce aside in the refrigerator.

Toast the rolls and butter both sides. Slather the top half of each roll with sauce. Place a chicken thigh on the bottom half of each roll and top with lettuce, sliced tomato, and dill pickle. Add the top half and serve immediately.

 


Excerpted from Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner © by Stacie Billis, photography © by Dominic Perri, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Contact: Alee Moncy

Alee.Moncy@storey.com


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