Summer days are meant to be spent with your feet dipped in a pool with a good book in your hands. They're definitely not meant to be spent sweating (literally, like a lot) over a hot stove. The first four months of quarantine may have been spent in the kitchen stuck on a cook-do-dishes-repeat cycle, but that ends now.
You can absolutely still have delicious, healthy, and hearty meals for dinner every night while only spending a few minutes putting them together. And classically trained chef, comfort food lover, and Sweet Tea and Thyme creator Eden Westbrook has the secret to making it happen. Her Instant Pot chicken and potatoes recipe not only works as a delicious stand-alone meal, it's versatile enough to be reinvented into a wide range of other meals that don't involve any cooking whatsoever. Here, she shares the recipe, shopping list of everything you need to make it, and the five dinner ideas for Monday through Friday.
Instant Pot chicken and potatoes
Yields 6 servings
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (roughly 2 lbs. total)
2 lbs. baby red or gold potatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup chimichurri sauce
4 Tbsp regular olive oil (not extra-virgin)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1. In a large bowl, toss the chicken thighs and potatoes in the olive oil, chimichurri sauce, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, distributing the seasoning and oil as evenly as possible.
2. Add chicken broth to your Instant Pot, then place chicken in the broth, and top with the potatoes. Lock the lid onto the pressure cooker and turn the vent to its "sealed" position. Set pressure cooker to "high" for 12 minutes.
3. Once the cooking time is finished, do a "quick release" by turning the vent to the venting position. Be careful not to burn yourself with the steam by using a potholder to open the vent. Once the float valve has dropped, remove the lid. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chicken and potatoes to a large platter.
4. Enjoy a serving of the chicken and potatoes for dinner on Sunday (served with extra chimichurri sauce). Store the leftover chicken and potatoes in an airtight container in the fridge to enjoy for dinner the rest of the week.
How to use your Instant Pot chicken and potatoes in a whole week's worth of healthy, no-heat dinners:
Monday: Chicken avocado spinach salad
Even if you're not normally a salad person, you may find yourself wanting a big plate of greens on a 90-degree day. The Instant Pot chicken and potatoes is the key to making this salad hearty and satisfying. Simply mix a serving of your leftovers with spinach leaves and a sliced up avocado, which adds creaminess. The chimichurri sauce in the chicken and potatoes is flavorful enough that you don't even need dressing.
Tuesday: Barbecue chicken sandwiches
Cooking the chicken in the Instant Pot makes it so tender that it's practically begging to be turned into a barbecue sandwich. Shred a serving of leftover chicken, mash a serving of potatoes with a fork, and sandwich both between two buns. For extra fiber, you can also add slaw on top. (Prep School devotees will remember this recipe from June.) If you don't want to spend time making the slaw, you can also add some leftover spinach on top of your meaty middle, too.
Wednesday: Cheesy chicken smashed potato hash
Scoop a serving of your leftover Instant Pot chicken and potatoes into a small bowl; mash the potatoes with a fork, until they're your preferred texture for hash. Chop up any extra vegetables you desire for extra fiber, like onion, red bell pepper, and tomatoes, and combine them with the chicken and potatoes mixture. Then, put the mixture on a plate and top with one-fourth cup shredded cheese. Microwave for 45 seconds, or until the cheese is all melty. Feel free to mix in a serving of greens (after microwaving) if you desire.
Thursday: Chicken and veggie quesadillas
Start by chopping up your veggies of choice. (Like in the hash, onion, red bell pepper, and tomato all work well in quesadillas, too.) Then, combine all your chopped veggies in a bowl, with a serving of leftover Instant Pot chicken and potatoes. Place one flour tortilla on a plate and brush it with olive oil. Add your chicken and potatoes mixture on top, add one-fourth cup shredded cheese, and place another flour tortilla on top, brushing it with olive oil. Place it in a panini press for two minutes. If you don't have a panini press, simply put the uncooked quesadilla on a skillet for four minutes on medium-high heat, flipping over halfway through. Once warmed (by either method), put it on a plate and cut it into fours. Top with avocado for a creaminess that pairs well with the chimichurri sauce.
Friday: Chimichurri chicken salad
Use the rest of your leftovers to make an easy chimichurri salad. Simply mix the chicken and potatoes with diced beefsteak tomatoes and diced cucumber. Add lemon juice on top to brighten the whole dish. Insider tip: lemon juice helps virtually all leftovers from tasting like...leftovers. Serve on toasted bread or on top of greens.
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