Chicken and vegetable tray bake with Asian flavours. You can call it a tray bake, a sheet-pan dinner or dump-and-go – either way it’s an impressive easy and tasty chicken dinner.
Chicken is easy to cook
Whatever you say about chicken (boring, bland, meh), it’s easy to cook. There’s no worry, like with beef, that you’ll overcook it because it’s good until seriously burnt. It’s not like pork: a fine line between cooked through and dry; chicken will be dry anyway.
No dilemmas of ‘whole or fillets?’ like with fish, and it’s so, so much cheaper than lamb. Also, at the end of the day, roast chicken is everybody’s favourite dinner, especially the death row inmates.
Tastes like chicken
I am always torn between the ease and the blandness, plus I am forever cooking the most basic bits, chicken breasts, as that is what The Weather Man favours (I’m the non-fussy half of the dining couple).
Creamy chicken, fried chicken, flattened chicken and cheesy chicken – I’ve tried it all. I’ve got to give it to the bird – it’s pretty versatile. Like a blank canvas – no wonder we always say about new meats we try that they taste like chicken.
How to make a chicken and vegetable tray bake?
This dish was created from sautéed chicken with a mixed vegetable ratatouille on the side. At some point it occurred to me that I could use half as many dishes, make a third of the effort and get the same result – a chicken dinner. But actually, it turned out to be quite an outstanding chicken dinner.
I marinate the chicken pieces borrowing from the Chinese velveting method: corn flour-based marinade which coats the meat in a velvety film to stop it from going dry.
It works very well without the need to sear the meat in a pan before baking it, which eliminates already one pan in the washing up – see what I meant about the dishes used?
Chicken being chicken takes about as much time to cook as the vegetables need and it’s all ready at the same time – that’s the less effort I mentioned.
Variations of the chicken tray bake
The flavour of the marinade can vary each time you make it, it’s the beauty of dishes like this, but the sweet-salty-spicy combo never lets anyone down.
Your choice of vegetables may be different, but I wouldn’t include potatoes as they need more space and time to become roasties.
And you might consider it for the next dinner with friends (or kitchen supper as these things are now supposed to be called). It’s pretty impressive without much effort. You can dish it out with some slightly zinged up rice, couscous or cheesy mash.
More easy chicken recipes
Where to start? There are probably more chicken recipes, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. I’ll just mention a couple, of the kind less travelled.
Chicken Creole is a recent addition to my repertoire. The crux is the Creole seasoning, very easy to concoct at home from a moderately equipped spice cupboard. It looks a little like a curry, tastes twice as good and is ready in 30 minutes from scratch.
Chicken with fried sweetcorn and crispy feta is three recipes in one, each worth noting.
Lemon chilli chicken – with LOTS of lemon and LOTS of chilli, in a creamy sauce.