When in Doubt: Spicy Chicken Pieces

Like most of you, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen with my family, plowing through cookbooks and old favorite recipes. I’m mostly sticking with the kinds of things that reliably bring my family comfort…

…which means, of course, I’m going through chocolate and sugar at a mega fast clip. I’m also revisiting classic family dinners, like what we call “spicy chicken pieces.” I love them because they’re delicious and versatile, and because I can walk into the kitchen without a single dinner idea, pan-fry them up, and know that whatever direction I go from there, everyone in my house will enjoy their dinner.

There’s no official recipe for my spicy chicken pieces. While some olive oil heats in the cast iron skillet,  I slice two* large-ish chicken breasts into one-inch cube like pieces (as shown); I add the chicken and half a small onion (chopped finely, approximately 3 tablespoons) to the pan with salt and pepper, and let them sit still and brown a little. After a minute or two, I toss and sprinkle the pieces with about 2 tablespoons chili powder, a tablespoon of oregano, and a pinch of cayenne. Once the chicken is cooked through and everything looks toasty, I remove to a bowl. Factoring in attrition (at least one daughter, if not two, has plucked a few pieces out of the pan), I now have enough chicken for…

When in Doubt: Spicy Chicken Pieces

…a burrito bowl or salad (shown up top): Squeeze fresh lime juice all over chicken and add to rice or greens along with beans, avocado, salsa, cheese, hot sauce, the usual suspects.
tacos: Stuff into tortillas or shells with avocados and pickled onions.
…enchiladas: If I am feeling ambitious enough to turn on the oven, I’ll shred the chicken a little then wrap in tortillas with cheddar; place seam-side down in baking dish, smother with enchilada sauce, top with more cheese, minced red onion and bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes.
sandwiches: Toss the chicken (chopped a bit) with lime juice and a little mayo and eat open-face on Finn crisps or crusty bread.

What would you do with them? Always looking for more ideas.

*Note: you can absolutely use more than two chicken breasts (and adjust spices accordingly), but I am in  the meat-as-condiment camp, and find this is enough for my family of four as long as I’m fleshing out dinner with rice, beans, greens, avocado, etc.

P.S. Easy family meals we’ve loved to death and stovetop lasagna.