How to Make Homemade Pizza on a Weeknight

How to Make Homemade Pizza on a Weeknight

How to Make Homemade Pizza on a Weeknight

This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. Read my full privacy policy here.

Homemade Pizza is Amazing

Do you love pizza? I love pizza. My husband loves pizza. You probably love pizza.

For years, I thought that homemade pizza could never rival that of a pizzeria because my oven can only get so hot. I was wrong. I’m sure that there are amazing pizzerias that can make pizza better than I do. But my homemade pizza is better than what I can find in an average pizza joint. We still eat frozen pizza from time to time, but it doesn’t compare to this pizza.

With the right prep work, you can have homemade pizza in less time than it takes to get delivery.

You Can Meal Prep the Dough

Doing the prep work will save you hours the day of. Besides the fact that homemade pizza dough tastes amazing, we can’t have the store-bought for allergy reasons.

An average batch of dough will make about four 12 inch pizzas. Here are some very popular pizza dough recipes. After you have your dough, portion it, wrap it in plastic wrap, and then freeze it. The night before you want pizza, all you need to do is throw it in the fridge and you’ll be ready to go.

Pizza Making Ingredients and Tools

Ingredients and Substitutions

Pizza Dough

You need some sort of pizza dough. Pillsbury pizza crust can do the job. But I strongly recommend making your own. I know it involves yeast, but don’t let that little fungus intimidate you. Try it out on a weekend afternoon.

 

Pizza Sauce

We like Rao’s pizza sauce, but there are so many options out there. Don’t be afraid to try them. We open a jar, and it will keep well in the fridge until the next week.

The important thing to know is do NOT use pasta sauce, it has the wrong consistency. I recommend steering clear of all sauces that claim they are both a pizza and a pasta sauce. Any that do are broadcasting that they are really neither.

 

Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella

This cheese will make your pizza absolutely amazing, even if you mess it up a bit. There is something special about this cheese. If you’ve never had it, go out and buy some. It can be a bit pricy, but they now make snack packs, and you can even get larger sealed hunks of it at Costco nowadays.

You can probably use the shredded part-skim, but I predict it won’t melt as well and the flavor will fall short.

We don’t add any other cheeses because the mozzarella is mind-blowing as it is. But if you want to explore, feel free to check out Romano and of course Parmigiano Reggiano. Some people like the powdered Kraft parmesan on their pizzas, and if that’s your thing go for it.

 

Turkey Pepperoni

I was raised on this stuff and so was my husband. For us, this tastes familiar and we like it. But go for the real pepperoni if you are so inclined.  Just remember that a little goes a long way on a 12-inch pizza.

Do note that some sort of heat magic happens to turkey pepperoni in the oven with the pizza stone, where they crisp up just like traditional pepperoni. This crispiness is a feat I have not accomplished elsewhere with the turkey variety.

 

Fresh Basil

I love basil so much that I keep a plant on my balcony. Fresh oregano would also go well if you have some. You can also use dried seasonings like basil, oregano, and garlic powder.

Be gentle with fresh herbs, a little really goes a long way.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

Do You Need a Pizza Stone?

The short answer is yes. The science-free explanation is that the stone performs cooking magic to make the crust, sauce, and cheese perfectly combine.

There are many sciency reasons why this occurs. Something about the stone’s thermal mass and its pore structure (this will be material-dependent, with a stronger effect in more porous materials like the manufactured ceramics compared to the more natural stones like granite).

What you need to know is that the stone gets hot and stays hot. Also, thermal shock will cause it to crack, so it needs to be heated and cooled slowly.

Here’s a link to the stone we use. It was a wedding gift and works well for us. We really like the handles. There are many less expensive and very effective pizza stones on the market. Here’s a link to more about choosing and using a pizza stone.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

Do You Need a Pizza Peel?

Again, the short answer is yes.

I personally was in denial about this for a long time. Instead, we choose to rapidly assemble the pizza on the hot stone like a pit crew at NASCAR. This was a bad plan. Because the pizza started cooking as we were assembling, we needed to cut our cook time by two minutes. This caused the top of the crust and the cheese to not heat as well.

By having a pizza peel, we can rapidly transfer the pizza straight from prepping onto the hot pizza stone in the oven. Those extra two minutes cook the pizza to absolute perfection.

This is the pizza peel we use. I like it because it’s completely dishwasher safe and even folds to fit into a cabinet, so I strongly recommend it if you are in the market for one.

Detailed Directions

First, wash your hands and wipe down your counters. Then preheat your oven to 450°F.

Next, take your dough out and remove any packaging. I normally take off the plastic wrap and put it in a bowl on the stove. The heat my oven gives off while pre-heating is just enough to warm it up. In our experience, the dough both rolls and cooks better when it’s allowed to reach a bit above room temperature before we start pizza assembly.

Once the oven reaches temperature, wait another 15 minutes. This extra time will ensure that your pizza stone is nice and hot for your pizza. Usually, I’ll preheat, set my dough out, and then walk the dogs.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

You’ll have time to take care of something short on your to-do list. Like folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, or mixing a cocktail.

Potatoes cooking in oven

After that extra time, you can start rolling out the pizza dough and getting out all your ingredients. I roll out my dough on a silicone pastry mat.

I really like the mat for two reasons. First, it helps me make the dough into a circle. Something that would be impossible without the guide circles on the mat. Second, it’s easy to get the pizza dough off the mat and have it stay in a circle. Here’s a link for my mat.

I also like my French rolling pin, but an English can do the same job. Here’s link for that

Pizza dough rolled out on pie mat

I use a food scale to measure out most of my ingredients. This method is especially helpful for pepperoni and cheese. I’m not good at eyeballing the amount nor do I have the patience to count pepperoni.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

After you have all your ingredients ready, you can start assembling your pizza. We like to assemble right on the peel.

Remember to put some flour on your peel before you put on the dough, so it’s easy to transfer into the oven. Then brush some olive oil all over the top of the dough. Next tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni or other toppings.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

Bake for 12 minutes but watch it carefully the first time you do this. Each oven is different, and your time may vary. You want to look for browning on the crust and melting cheese.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

Remove from oven and enjoy. Remember to turn your oven off and to leave the pizza stone in until the oven cools. Then take the pizza stone out before you need to use the oven again. We forget this step so often that I made a pizza stone sign to remind us to take it out.

3 slices of pepperoni pizza on a white plate

Recipe Notes

There are too many New Yorkers in my family to even consider putting toppings beneath the cheese or, heaven forbid, the sauce on top. It simply isn’t done.

In that same vein, an able-bodied person eating pizza with a knife and fork is sacrilege. Your pizza is made correctly if it’s sturdy enough to eat properly. Folding is acceptable.

3 slices of pepperoni pizza on a white plate

Pepperoni Pizza

With the right prep work, you can have homemade pizza in less time than it takes to get delivery.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 37 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 496 kcal

Equipment

  • Pizza Stone (strongly recommended)
  • Pizza Peel (strongly recommended)
  • Rolling Pin
  • Pie Mat (optional)
  • Basting brush
  • Pizza Cutter

Ingredients
  

  • 180 g Pizza Dough Weight will vary by recipe. Make sure you have enough dough for a 12 inch pizza.
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Pizza Sauce
  • 4 oz Fresh Mozzarella
  • 30 g Turkey Pepperoni
  • 4 leaves Basil
  • Flour for dusting
  • Additional Toppings

Instructions
 

  • Put pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450°F.
  • After the oven reaches temperature wait another 15 minutes.
  • Start rolling out pizza dough (12”)with a generous amount of flour.
    Pizza dough rolled out on pie mat
  • Put additional flour on pizza peel and then the dough.
  • Brush the dough with olive oil.
  • Pour on tomato sauce, careful to not have any pooling spots.
  • Quickly transfer the pizza from peel to stone. Bake for 12 minutes and watch it carefully. You want to look for the crust starting to brown and the cheese melting.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven and turn off the oven. Enjoy!

Notes

There are too many New Yorkers in my family to even consider putting toppings beneath the cheese or, heaven forbid, the sauce on top. It simply isn’t done.
In that same vein, an able-bodied person eating pizza with a knife and fork is sacrilege. Your pizza is made correctly if it’s sturdy enough to eat properly. Folding is acceptable.
Keyword Dinner, Weeknight
How to Make Seasoned Chicken Breast in Under 10 Minutes

How to Make Seasoned Chicken Breast in Under 10 Minutes

Seasoned Chicken on white cutting board

How to Make Seasoned Chicken Breasts in Under 10 Minutes

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Fast Cooking Can Be Delicious

You’re a busy person and if you’re like me your time and patience can be in limited supply. So simple chicken cooked fast is right up our alley. This simple seasoned chicken breast comes out hot and delicious. It goes with whatever you are in the mood for a salad, wrap, rice, or just by itself.

Panini Press

My secret to cooking it so quickly is to use a panini press that doubles as an indoor grill. It cooks quickly because it heats the top and bottom of the food at the same time.

I cook on mine all the time. Besides chicken breasts and paninis, we also make everything from burgers to kabobs. And they all cook nice and fast.

DeLonghi Panini Press

Above is a picture of my panini press. It’s a DeLonghi (they make more than coffee and espresso machines). I’m not sure if I would recommend it. I will say that cooks super well. It gets five out of five stars on cooking. The tilting top plate is wonderful. It’s just a pain to clean. I’ve gotten faster at it, but cleaning will add 5-10 minutes of drudge work after a meal.

 

When to Make this Recipe

When you want food now. For the kind of hungry where I’m so hungry, I actually want my food to have arrived five minutes ago, but I will settle for this instant.

It’s also great for the middle of a busy day. I’ll make this chicken and eat it on a salad, which is lunch made fresh and eaten in less than 30 minutes. I love hot chicken on a cold salad. Cold chicken doesn’t do it for me.

Detailed Directions

First, I always recommend washing your hands and giving your countertops a quick wipe down. Then take out the panini press, plug it in, and set it to medium.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

As it heats up, start working on your chicken. My panini press makes 2-3 breasts or 5-6 tenderloins at a time. It’s important to choose thinner cuts because of how they cook on the press. The goal is for a nice char on the outside, but tender on the inside.

Seasoned Raw Chicken on White Plate

Sprinkle seasoning on both sides of your chicken. Almost everything goes with chicken from your standard salt and pepper to premade seasoning mixes. I’m currently obsessed with the Southwest seasoning from Target.

Wait for the press to reach temperature. I usually start assembling my salad as I wait for the green light to turn on. Once it reaches medium temperature and your chicken is ready, spray the press with food release and put your chicken in.

Seasoned Chicken Tenderloins on Panini Press

Then turn the knob to high and let cook for 3 minutes. After the 3 minutes at high, turn the knob back to medium and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. This brief high heat will give you nice char marks and crisp the outside, while keeping the inside moist, just like a real grill.

Seasoned Chicken on Cutting Board

Remove your chicken from the press and let it sit for a minute. If you have a thicker piece of meat or you’re just nervous, check your food with a meat thermometer. Then you can slice and enjoy!

Shredded Seasoned Chicken

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Sliced apple and rolling pin
Seasoned Chicken on white cutting board

Seasoned Chicken Breast

This simple seasoned chicken breast goes with whatever you are in the mood for a salad, wrap, rice, or just by itself.
Prep Time 4 mins
Cook Time 6 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 228 kcal

Equipment

  • Indoor Grill or Panini Press

Ingredients
  

  • 6 oz Chicken Breast
  • Favorite Seasoning
  • Food Release

Instructions
 

  • Set panini press to medium.
  • Season both sides of chicken breast.
    Seasoned Raw Chicken on White Plate
  • Wait for the press to reach temperature.
  • As soon as you’re ready, turn the press to high and put your chicken in the press.
    Seasoned Chicken Tenderloins on Panini Press
  • Keep on high for 3 minutes. Then turn down to medium and cook for another 3 minutes. If you have a thicker breast, you will need to increase your time at medium.
  • Let chicken rest for one minute. (Optional)
    Seasoned Chicken on Cutting Board
  • Slice and enjoy!
    Shredded Seasoned Chicken
Keyword Chicken, Dinner, Lunch, Weeknight
Super Simple Broth Fondue Recipe for Anyone

Super Simple Broth Fondue Recipe for Anyone

Chicken Taco Ingredients

Super Simple Broth Fondue Recipe for Anyone

This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. Read my full privacy policy here.

What is Broth Fondue

Broth fondue is a wonderful meal for so many reasons. It’s healthy. It can be cheap. It makes for a fun and relaxing date night. The list goes on. We got a fondue set as a wedding gift and we use it almost every week.

When most people hear fondue, wonderful cheesy goodness might be the first thing that comes to mind. Or perhaps it’s melted chocolate for marshmallows and strawberries? Now I love both chocolate and cheese, but I can’t eat that every week and still lose weight.

Broth fondue is different. It’s basically hotpot with a western-style broth. You can make this in either a fondue pot or a hot pot setup.

How I Make it Easy

We normally have fondue on Sunday nights as a way to relax after meal prepping. As we meal prep our food for the week, we set a little aside for fondue later that day.

When we chop veggies, a handful of everything ends up in a bowl for fondue later (onions, zucchini, etc.).  When we bake potatoes for later in the week, we pre-cook some for the fondue pot. As we portion and cut chicken, we cut up some for fondue.

The chicken we will start in a marinade, so it has a few hours to gain some extra flavor. But we make sure to keep it simple, like barbeque sauce or balsamic vinegar with olive oil. Even the broth recipe is simple and uses premade chicken stock. We dress it up a bit with added seasonings, but for us fondue is about slowing down, relaxing, and enjoying each other’s company.

 

Three mild chicken tacos on a white plate on a wood table

My Fondue Pot

I would 100% recommend this pot. It’s been perfect for everything from date night to Thanksgiving dessert. There are so many things to like about this pot. It’s nonstick. It’s the perfect size for a 32 oz box of broth.  It’s COMPLETELY dishwasher safe. That’s right, I unplug the pot, put the whole thing in the dishwasher, and it cleans beautifully.

I also really like the temperature settings. The lower values have been great for things like chocolate. We normally keep it around a 5 for broth. I think the higher settings are for oil.

The forks it comes with are nice too (and also dishwasher safe). We also got a set of hot pot strainer scoops, which are great for foods that don’t like to stick on forks. They are also great for scooping out foods that fall off of forks.

Substitutions

Garlic

We really like garlic and usually use minced garlic. I could crush an entire head’s worth of cloves, but I personally think that’s a lot of work. You might be able to substitute for garlic powder, but I don’t recommend it.

Worcestershire

We use the real stuff that’s fermented and not the generic stuff because the real stuff is soy-free. You could also substitute with soy sauce or straight salt. But we like the flavor of the Worcestershire.

Spices

You can change these to fit your taste. But remember that broth for fondue needs to be much stronger than a normal soup so the dippers actually get some of the flavor.

Chicken Taco Ingredients

Dippers

Everyone’s favorite fondue topic. There are dippers to suit every pallet and then some.  I recommend you have a little bit of protein, starch, and veggies.

Protein

Thinly sliced beef is a family favorite, but also a sometimes food. Chicken sausage is another favorite. Marinated chicken is a regular for our fondue pot. But there are a ton of options fish, turkey, pork, squid, shellfish. Tofu is delicious for those out there who can eat soy, but I don’t have any experience cooking with it.

Whatever you decide to use, make sure you slice it nice and thin, so it cooks quickly. Also, for meat like beef and chicken, I recommend that you at least salt it a little ahead of time.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

Starches

These are also delicious. You can have starches like baby corn and potatoes. We pre-bake potatoes because we think they taste better, and we lack patience. Then they reheat and get some more flavor in the broth. We cut, and then bake on a greased cookie sheet at 450°F for 30 min and then put them away until fondue time. I recommend russets. Then yellow potatoes are okay. And red are our least favorite. Or you can just have a side of rice, which is also yummy.

Veggies

Go to town. There are so many to choose from I’m not able to list them all if I tried. But a few I like are onions, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, and peppers. Whichever you choose, make sure you slice it thinly if you want it fully cooked. Or you can cook it a bit ahead of time. If you like them on the raw side (or don’t care so much), then slice them a bit thicker. I like my carrots a bit on the raw side too.

Literally, whatever you a prepping this week. You can set aside a handful for fondue. That way you will have variety without needing to acquire awkwardly small portions of many different things.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

Detailed Directions

As usual, wash your hands and wipe down your counters before you get started. I know most of the cooking will happen during the meal at the table this time, but I think it’s a healthy habit. Also, I always start in my kitchen.

Fondue pot with the first four ingredients on a white cutting board.

I put all the little things into the pot first: garlic, Worcestershire, bay leaves, and black pepper. Then I carry the pot to the table and pour the carton of stock in there. This prevents spilling. I set it to simmer (5 on my pot) and start setting the table.

For fondue, there are always lots of little things to put out. There are the table settings, with the extra forks and baskets. Then the dippers, sauces, and refill pitcher. By the time everything has reached the table, the broth is boiling and all we have to do is sit down and enjoy.

If the pot gets low during your meal, top it off with the water. If you are worried that you won’t know when your food is cooked, just bring the meat thermometer to the table. We did. The chicken cubes took longer than we were initially expecting, but the beef took a whole lot less.

When we’re finished, the broth goes down the garbage disposal and the pot goes in the dishwasher along with all the little bowls.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

In The End

I would love to know what dippers you tried and how it went in the comments below. If you like this recipe and want a new one in your inbox every week, please subscribe to my email list below.

Broth Fondue

Broth Fondue

Broth fondue is a wonderful meal for so many reasons. Its healthy. It can be cheap. It makes for a fun and relaxing date night.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 57 kcal

Equipment

  • Fondue Pot
  • Fondue Forks
  • Wire Strainers

Ingredients
  

  • 3 tablespoons Minced Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Bay Leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 32 fl oz Chicken Broth
  • 1 Pitcher Water

Instructions
 

  • Put the first four ingredients in the pot.
    Fondue pot with the first four ingredients on a white cutting board.
  • Bring pot to the table.
  • Pour in chicken broth.
  • Bring to simmer.
  • Enjoy as you cook your dippers through dinner.
Keyword Dinner

Mild Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

Mild Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

Chicken Taco Ingredients

Mild Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. Read my full privacy policy here.

I Love Tacos

I insist on having tacos once a week because I love them, even the mild ones. Then I love the leftover taco meat for salads, quesadillas, and breakfast burritos. These mild chicken tacos in the instant pot are a super easy recipe to set it and forget it. It still has substantial flavor but is mild enough for a more sensitive pallet. It also pairs well with all the salsas and hot sauces I’ve tried if you like them spicier.

Spiciness

I love the heat, but my husband can’t take too much kick. If you can’t take the heat use a bell pepper and leave out the cayenne. If you use a deseeded jalapeno, you’ll still get the flavor, but you’ll need hot sauce to actually make it spicy. I’ve also tried this recipe with 3 serrano peppers and thought it had a pleasant kick. But it was a bit too much for my husband.

 

Three mild chicken tacos on a white plate on a wood table

Substitutions

Onions

I tend to get either a white or a yellow onion depending on what looks best while I’m shopping. I wouldn’t try a red one with this recipe.

Peppers

There are a lot of many wonderful peppers out there. If you can’t take any heat whatsoever, you can use a sweet pepper, like a bell pepper. I like to use a larger deseeded jalapeno for flavor but without the spiciness. A poblano or Anaheim pepper will also give flavor, without too much heat if you can find them. I’ve tried this recipe with three serrano peppers, thinking that with two pounds of chicken, it wouldn’t be too spicy for my husband. He survived. But I’m not making that mistake again.

Chicken

I prefer the tenderloins for both taste and cholesterol reasons. My second favorite choice is chicken breasts, but it just doesn’t taste as tender. You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs, but I personally don’t think it’s worth it. They give a fattier taste that I don’t enjoy, but you will still get tacos. Which is a much better place, than dinner without tacos.

Chicken Stock

I’ve used both chicken stock and chicken broth. They both work. I like low-sodium if I can get it. If you don’t have either, just use some water. The important detail is that you have enough moisture, so it cooks correctly in the instant pot.

Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic

The fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic are my favorite variety of canned tomato. The fire roasting really adds something to the overall flavor and color of every dish I’ve used it in. We are also big garlic fans, so more garlic in the tomatoes is a plus. You can use fire-roasted tomatoes without garlic and just add about 2 teaspoons of minced garlic for a very similar result.

If you can’t find the fire-roasted (which has happened to me) you can use diced tomatoes with the extra minced garlic. You won’t get the exact same flavor and color, but you will still have hot fresh taco meat.

Detailed Directions

I always recommend that you start every recipe by wiping down your counters and washing your hands, so you have a clean place to cook.

Chicken Taco Ingredients

For the onion and pepper, I just chop them in my food processor until they are chopped finely. I want them to mix so well with the shredded chicken that eating around them doesn’t come to mind. Make sure to chop them at least bite-sized if you prefer a chunky texture. Next, measure out the rest of your ingredients and throw them into your instant pot.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

Then set your instant pot to cook on high for 15 minutes. When it’s done allow for a natural release of 10 minutes, before carefully venting your pot. Finally, shred and eat!

Potatoes cooking in oven

Recipe Notes

If you want to halve the recipe, you will need to adjust the cooking time to 8 minutes. Keep the 10-minute natural release. If you depressurize too quickly, you’ll suck the water out of the chicken, and it will taste dry.

This taco meat keeps well in the fridge and makes for excellent leftovers. I think it still tastes good 5 days after cooking. Because it uses two pounds of meat, I make it with leftovers in mind.

What you can prepare ahead of time

  1. Pre-chop your onion and pepper
  2. Pre-portion your chicken in a ziplock
  3. Pre-mix all spices and put in a container
  4. Then the night off, you just dump your chicken, veggies, spices, chicken stock, and can of tomatoes in and you only need to measure one thing, the chicken stock.
3 Chicken Tacos on a Plate

Mild Chicken Tacos

These mild chicken tacos in the instant pot are a super easy recipe to set it and forget it for 8 servings of taco meat.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 173 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds Chicken Tenderloin
  • 1 Onion white or yellow
  • 1 Pepper Jalapeno
  • 0.5 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 15 oz can Fire-roasted Tomatoes with Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Chop Veggies.
  • Measure Ingredients.
    Chicken Taco Ingredients
  • Mix everything in the instant pot.
  • Cook on high for 15 min.
  • Natural release 10 min.
  • Vent carefully, to avoid gettingsteam in your face.
  • Shred chicken.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

What you can prepare ahead of time
  1. Pre-chop your onion and pepper
  2. Pre-portion your chicken in a ziplock
  3. Pre-mix all spices and put in a container
  4. Then the night off, you just dump your chicken, veggies, spices, chicken stock, and can of tomatoes in and you only need to measure one thing, the chicken stock.
Keyword Chicken, Dinner, Weeknight

How to Bake Russet Potatoes the Easy Way

How to Bake Russet Potatoes the Easy Way

Baked potato on orange plate with fork

How to Bake Russet Potatoes the Easy Way

This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. Read my full privacy policy here.

This recipe is how I make baked potatoes the easy way. I almost always use russets for that classic baked potato taste. These potatoes are crispy on the outside and flavorful on the inside, so they are tasty plain. Baked potatoes also keep really well in the fridge, so I can have this wonderful side even on a weeknight.

Baked Potatoes are Awesome

I get potato cravings from time to time, and I doubt I’m alone. One of the nice things about Noom is that I can eat potatoes and not feel bad about it later.

Baking is one of the healthiest ways to make potatoes. Potato’s bad health wrap has a lot to do with how Americans cook them (deep-fried), and the toppings people put on them (chili-cheese). But I think baked potatoes are a fairly healthy food.

What and When I Eat Them

Mostly, they are a healthy side for meat or fish. I love having shredded chicken on top of a hot baked potato. It’s so filling and not much fuss. Other ways I enjoy:

  • Classic butter: I try to limit my butter intake
  • Lemon Juice or Malt Vinegar: low calorie and very flavorful
  • Dry: Don’t feel like you have to put toppings on your potatoes. I certainly don’t.

Obviously, baked potatoes are good fresh. But I can keep these for 6-7 days in my fridge and they are still delicious out of the microwave. They are one of the few foods I trust to keep that long, which makes them a good meal prep food. The only trick is to put them in the fridge after they have cooled to room temperature.

Also, I like them when I’m sick and have to take a lot of pills. They are easy to reheat and agree with my meds.

Detailed Directions

Please remember to wash your hands and wipe down your counters before you start cooking. After that, I preheat my oven to 450°F. If your oven can’t handle such a high temperature, you can bake these at 425°F and get the same taste with longer cooking times. But I wouldn’t recommend anything much cooler.

Oven reading 450F

Next, get your potatoes out and really scrub them. Potatoes grow in dirt, and you probably don’t want to eat that. Even if you don’t like eating potato skins, you don’t dirt on your plate.

Clean potato on cutting board

Then take a fork or a sharp knife and stab up and down the sides of your potato 12-18 times, more if your potato is over 1 pound. You don’t have to stab very deep, just through the skin should be good.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

Then put them in the oven. I usually put mine directly on the oven rack. But they will still cook nicely on a cookie sheet. If you are using a cookie sheet, I recommend putting a little foil down, but you can skip the nonstick spray. Water will leave the potato and can make a small mess.

Potatoes cooking in oven

Bake until soft when you stab the center of the widest part of the potato. Most potatoes cook in about 45 minutes. For a potato 4 oz or less, I check at 30 minutes. Giant potatoes can take longer to cook. Also, you need to watch for cold spots in your oven, which are inconveniently potato-sized in my experience.

Baked potato on orange plate with fork

Recipe Notes

It’s difficult to overcook a baked potato, but very easy to undercook one. And no one wants an undercooked potato.  If you are unsure, give it another 15 minutes. In my experience, an extra 30 min probably won’t hurt its taste. Anything past that and it might start drying out, maybe.

Seriously though, don’t undercook your potatoes.

Plain Baked Potato

Easy Baked Potato

These potatoes are crispy on the outside and flavorful on the inside, so they are tasty plain. They also keep well in the fridge for up to a week.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 179 kcal

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Fork
  • Cookie Sheet Optional

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Russet Potato About 8 ounces

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
    Oven reading 450F
  • Scrub potatoes.
    Clean potato on cutting board
  • Stab skin of potatoes all over with a fork.
  • Put in the oven either directly on the rack or a cookie sheet.
    Potatoes cooking in oven
  • Bake until soft in the center of the widest part of the potato. About 45 min for an 8-ounce potato.
  • Serve and enjoy!
    Plain Baked Potato
Keyword Dinner, Potato, Side

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken

Shredded Buffalo Chicken on Potato

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken

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Why I like this Recipe

It’s tasty. From the first time we made it, it has just wowed us again and again. The chicken is so tender you can shred it with spoons. Then the flavor is spicy and buttery. It pairs perfectly with a hot baked potato. It also takes less than 30 minutes in my instant pot, which is perfect for a weeknight dinner.

We generally serve it fresh over potatoes. After fighting over the leftovers, we either eat them on a salad, or in a sandwich. The richness of the buffalo sauce that comes out is perfect for a potato and they never need any additional toppings like butter or sour cream.

I’m normally all about substitutions and recipe flexibility, but not for this recipe. There are a few ingredients that I strongly recommend avoiding any substitutions if you can. If you do substitute something, you will probably still get some tasty buffalo chicken, but I think it will lose the wow factor.

Buffalo Chicken Ingredients: Chicken tenderloins, buffalo sauce, ranch, butter, and chicken stock

Thought about Allergies and Substitutions

Chicken Tenderloins verses Breasts verses Thighs

Tenderloins are more tender than breasts. Their texture is a key part of what brings this recipe to the next level. I have tried this recipe with chicken breasts and can say it will work if that’s all you have. It just won’t be as tender. I have not tried it with thighs. I generally avoid them because they are higher in cholesterol than breasts and this recipe already has a little bit of butter.

Frank’s Red Hot

We use the original and buy it in the large bottle. I’ve thought about using one of their spicier varieties, but I think it would be too spicy for my husband. Both the butter and the ranch dressing help to cut the spiciness, if that is a big concern of yours.

I like Frank’s Red Hot because it tastes great and doesn’t have too many ingredients. I’m sure that there are people out there allergic to it, but it doesn’t have any of the common food allergens, like dairy and soy. I have not tried this recipe with any other brand. I think it will still work, but I suspect you won’t get the same level of wow.

Ranch Dressing

I’ve seen many variations of this recipe with Hidden Valley Ranch packets. Too many people in my family are allergic to those, so I avoid them. My husband can have most types of fat-free ranch, which works very well in this recipe. I normally have some on hand for my salads anyway. I’ve used both Hidden Valley and Kroger brand. Both have given me tasty results. I don’t know if the full or reduced-fat versions will give the same results.

Chicken Stock

I don’t think it matters too much which type you choose here. Feel free to substitute this one. You can use chicken stock or chicken broth, whatever you have on hand. I use low sodium when I see it on sale. Or I buy the regular as a set of six from Costco. I have not been able to notice a difference.

Butter

I know it’s not good for me, but it’s so good. Also, 2 tablespoons for 4 servings, isn’t a ton of butter, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. We use unsalted because that’s what we generally have available. I haven’t tried this recipe with canola oil because I think the rich taste of the sauce would go away. Margarine might be a good dairy-free substitute, but it contains soy, so I won’t buy it. In the end, I’m recommending the butter.

Detailed Directions

As usual, I recommend you start with washing your hands and giving your counter a quick wipe down. Then mix all 5 ingredients and place them in your instant pot.

Buffalo Chicken Ingredients in Pot

Cook on high for 8 minutes. Then do the natural release for 10 minutes. This is a great time to start prepping the rest of your meal like reheating potatoes, toasting buns, or making your salad. After the natural release, open the vent carefully to not get spicy steam in your eyes. Once it has returned to room pressure, open the lid, and shred the chicken. It’s so tender that this should be easy.

Shredded Buffalo Chicken on Cutting Board

Use your tongs and thoroughly toss in the sauce. I like to give it a moment to really soak up some last-minute flavor before putting on top of a potato and eating it. Enjoy!

Shredded Buffalo Chicken on Potato

Recipe Notes

This chicken is good for any shredded chicken dish: loaded potatoes, wraps, sliders, rice bowls, salads, sandwiches, etc. It keeps well, but because it’s so tasty it never lasts passes day two in our fridge.

Shredded Buffalo Chicken on Baked Potato

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken

Tasty shredded buffalo chicken that takes less than 30minutes total cook time in your instant pot.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 230 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound Chicken Tenderloins
  • 0.5 cup Frank's Red Hot
  • 2 tablespoons Fat-free Ranch
  • 0.25 cup Chicken Stock
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Instructions
 

  • Put all ingredients in the pot and stir until the chicken is coated.
    Buffalo Chicken Ingredients in Pot
  • Cook on high for 8 minutes.
  • Naturally release for 10 minutes.
  • After the natural release, open the manual release carefully to not get spicy steam in your eyes.
  • When it returns to room pressure, open the lid, and shred the chicken.
    Shredded Buffalo Chicken on Cutting Board
  • Toss the chicken in the sauce.
  • Serve and enjoy!
    Shredded Buffalo Chicken on Baked Potato

Notes

This chicken is good for any shredded chicken dish: loaded potatoes, wraps, sliders, rice bowls, salads, sandwiches, etc. It keeps well, but because it’s so tasty it never lasts passes day two in our fridge.
Keyword Chicken, Dinner, Spicy, Weeknight