Ina Garten's 3-Ingredient Chicken Dinner Is Practically Made For Beginners

Ina Garten smiling with chicken breasts, basil, and herbed goat cheese
Ina Garten smiling with chicken breasts, basil, and herbed goat cheese - Static Media/Shutterstock/Getty

While Ina Garten is known for her elegant, often elaborate dinner party recipes, she's as much a fan of quick meals as the rest of us. Consequently, Garten has plenty of tricks up her sleeve to make easy, quick dinners that still uphold her standard of culinary sophistication. In her cookbook, "Barefoot Contessa at Home," Garten features a three-ingredient dinner recipe that was made for beginner cooks.

Her recipe for chicken with goat cheese and basil is an all-in-one sheet pan meal that takes only 10 minutes to prepare and around 40 minutes to cook. She uses herb and garlic-infused goat cheese to impart even more savory ingredients to complement the sweet and earthy basil leaves. The recipe calls for boneless chicken breasts with the skin on, which Garten admits might be a special order from your local meat counter. However, the skin is the tasty hood that contains the goat cheese and basil.

Garten prepares the chicken right on the sheet pan by peeling back the skin, topping the flesh with thick discs of goat cheese and fresh basil leaves, then stretching the skin back over the ingredients to seal them in. Finally, she drizzles olive oil and a generous helping of salt and fresh cracked pepper over the skin before sliding the pan into the oven to bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 40 minutes.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

Tips For The Juiciest Chicken And Accompaniments

Baked chicken stuffed with goat cheese and spinach on a plate
Baked chicken stuffed with goat cheese and spinach on a plate - Alleko/Getty Images

Not only is Ina Garten's chicken with goat cheese and basil dish a fool-proof preparation, but it results in a highly complex flavor and texture profile. You get a burst of savory flavors, from earthy herbs to umami-rich chicken to the tangy funk of goat cheese. The texture is equally delicious, with a crispy skin, tender and juicy chicken meat, and creamy goat cheese in between.

The one tip Garten demonstrates in a video of the recipe that she shared on her Instagram is letting the chicken rest for 10 minutes under tin foil. The loosely formed foil will seal in all the flavorful juices while also passively continuing to cook the chicken until it's perfectly done. The 40 minutes of cooking and 10 minutes of resting time give you a broad window to prepare a wide range of sides to accompany the baked chicken.

Garten pairs hers with couscous salad and fresh cherry tomatoes. You could make the baked chicken dish a true sheet pan meal by adding spears of asparagus and baby new potatoes to the pan. You could also slice the chicken to serve over spaghetti or egg noodles tossed in a blend of olive oil, butter, cracked pepper, and Parmesan cheese. If you have any leftovers, add them to a ciabatta roll with bright and fresh pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and arugula for a fancy sandwich.

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