Originally created 12/01/99

Skillet meal in minutes



The Thanksgiving cooking marathon has passed, but now the typical holiday rush begins.

When your schedule gets the best of you, take-out meals need not be nightly fare. With today's recipe for chicken potato skillet, you can whip up a homemade meal in no time.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are seasoned with salt and pepper, dredged in some flour and quickly sauteed in olive oil and butter. The chicken is removed from the skillet, and potatoes are added, along with some minced garlic. When the potatoes are nicely browned, they are removed and white wine and stock are added to make a quick sauce.

Many convenience products are available to make the preparation of this dish a snap. First of all, boneless chicken breasts are standard fare today. I remember when my mother used to spend hours boning chicken breasts. They were saved for special occasions because of the work involved.

Second, you can purchase cooked potatoes at nearly every grocery store. Simply Potatoes is a brand I see often, but I've noticed other varieties. Using them saves a lot of time. The potatoes aren't cooked completely -- they're par-boiled, requiring an additional cooking time of 10 to 15 minutes.

I used to limit this dish to chicken and potatoes, serving a vegetable on the side. However, on a recent trip to the grocery store I found a frozen vegetable combination that worked well in the recipe. Birds Eye now has baby gourmet vegetable blends. The Gourmet Potato Blend was a great addition to the recipe. Along with tiny new potatoes, it included baby corn, broccoli florets, baby carrots and red bell pepper strips.

This great one-dish meal requires no additional side dishes, unless you'd like to serve some rolls from the bakery.

Chicken Potato Skillet

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
10 ounces Simply Potatoes new potato wedges
or 1 14-ounce package Birds Eye Gourmet Potato Blend, thawed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine (or substitute 1/2 cup chicken broth)
1/2 cup chicken broth

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Add the oil and butter to the skillet, stirring to melt the butter. Sprinkle the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a plastic bag; and add the breasts one at a time, shaking well to coat with the flour. Shake excess flour from chicken breasts and place in the the pan. Cook the chicken for about 6 minutes, reducing the heat if the chicken is browning too quickly.

Flip the chicken to the second side and cook for about 3 minutes. (Test the chicken for doneness by cutting a small slit in the center of a breast. It should still be slightly pink because it will be in the oven for another 5 minutes.) Remove the chicken to an oven-safe platter and place in oven.

Add potatoes or potato blend and garlic to the pan. Saute until potatoes are browned, adding salt and pepper to taste. Remove to platter with chicken. Add the wine to the skillet, scraping the bottom well, for about 2 minutes. Add the stock and continue to cook, stirring until somewhat reduced, about 3 minutes more. Pour sauce over chicken and potatoes and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Karin Calloway is a Web chef for Viking Range Corp. (www.vikingrange.com) and a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. You can write her in care of Newsroom, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30913. Or send e-mail to karingca@aol.com.