Back in print: 125 Best Chicken Recipes, 125 Best Casseroles and One-Pot Meals

Sometimes it's nice to go all out gourmet in your cooking. Other times — most times, for me — it's nice to stick to the basics. And what can get more basic than chicken, casseroles and one-pot meals?

Two cookbooks by long-time food writer Rose Murray focusing on those standard favorites of many a cook are now back in print: 125 Best Chicken Recipes and 125 Best Casseroles and One-Pot Meals. I recently received a free review copy of each, and I couldn't be more pleased (or more hungry, after looking through them again and again!).

125 Best Chicken Recipes125 Best Chicken Recipes features fast and sure-to-be flavorful chicken dishes cooked in a variety of ways. Chapters include:

  • Woks, Wings and Wraps
  • Substantial Soups
  • Satisfying Salads
  • Oven Roasts and Broils
  • Sautes and Skillet Suppers
  • Pasta and Rice
  • Great Grills

See? I do believe every method for preparing a chicken dish is there. And most are designed to be done in 20 to 30 minutes. Meal prep is made even quicker by the inclusion of a "Suggested Menu" for each and every recipe, plus "Make Ahead" and "Shopping Tip" snippets sprinkled throughout. Plus, Murray also includes 50 recipes for accompaniments to the chicken dishes — appetizers, side dishes, desserts.

Recipes I can't wait to try include Tex-Mex Wings, Quick-Roasted Lemon Thighs (just five ingredients!) and Chicken Breasts with Rhubarb Sauce.

Another I look forward to trying is this, which the publisher gave me permission to share:

Pesto-Grilled Chicken with Fresh Tomato Pasta, page 170

grilled chicken recipeCourtesy 125 Best Chicken Recipes by Rose Murray © 2014 Reprinted with publisher permission.A small amount of pesto sauce pushed under the skin of chicken breasts not only gives them a lovely flavor, but helps to keep them moist while they cook.

4    bone-in skin-on chicken breasts    4
1/2 cup    pesto sauce    125 mL

4 cups    corkscrew pasta (or 12 oz [375 g] fettuccine)    1 L       
1 tbsp    olive oil    15 mL
4    ripe tomatoes, unpeeled    4
Half    red onion, coarsely chopped    Half
2    cloves garlic, minced    2
2 tbsp    chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp [5 mL] dried)        25 mL       
2 tbsp    chopped fresh oregano  (or 1 tsp [5 mL] dried)    25 mL       
2 tsp    red wine vinegar    10 mL
1 tsp    packed brown sugar    5 mL
    Salt and pepper   
1.    Gently poke your fingers under the skin of each breast and lift the skin slightly. (Be careful not to tear the membrane that connects the skin to the chicken.) Gently stuff 2 tbsp (25 mL) pesto in each breast, massaging to even out.
2.    Starting with the pesto-side up, grill chicken for 5 minutes. Turn the breasts and grill for another 5 minutes. Turn again and finish on the grill with the pesto side up for 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.
3.    Fresh Tomato Pasta: Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until tender but firm. Drain well and toss with the oil.
4.    While the pasta cooks, core the tomatoes and coarsely chop. In a bowl combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, vinegar and sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the pasta and serve immediately.

best casseroles and one-pot mealsThe second book, 125 Best Casseroles and One-Pot Meals, is a more sparse in the text — no menu suggestions and just a few "Hints" here and there — but it's jam-packed with one-dish offerings and hearty make-ahead meals for everyday dining or extravagant entertaining.

Chapters are pretty straightforward, featuring:

  • Pasta
  • Chicken and Turkey
  • Beef and Veal
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Vegetarian
  • Brunch and Lighter Fare

I'm a huge fan of casseroles and these aren't just your basic ones by any means. I look forward to making — and eating — Short-Cut Pork and Apple Pie (yes, in one dish), Three-Cheese Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables and Sausage Burrito Casserole.

Then there's this, another recipe I was given permission by the publisher to share (I apologize if it makes you drool):

Three-Bean Sausage Chili w/ Tomato-Avocado Salsa, page 122 + 123 (two recipes)

three-bean sausage chiliCourtesy 125 Best Casseroles and One-Pot Meals by Rose Murray © 2014 Reprinted with publisher permission.I love sausage and beans; so I couldn’t resist combining a bunch of different beans with Italian sausage in this great chili. If you like, instead of the salsa, top with a dollop of sour cream and chopped fresh coriander or green onions. Serve with a green salad and cornbread.

1 tbsp    olive oil    15 mL
1 lb    hot or mild Italian sausage    500 g
1    onion, cut in 1⁄2-inch (1 cm) chunks    1
1    sweet red pepper,     1
    cut in 1⁄2-inch (1 cm) chunks
1    sweet green pepper, cut in     1
    1⁄2-inch (1 cm) chunks
2    jalapeño peppers, chopped    2
2    cloves garlic, minced    2
1 tbsp    chili powder    15 mL
1 tbsp    paprika    15 mL
2 tsp    ground cumin    10 mL
1 tsp    dried oregano    5 mL
1    can (28 oz/796 mL) crushed    1
    tomatoes in purée or diced tomatoes
1    can (19 oz/540 mL) red kidney beans,    1
    drained and rinsed
1    can (19 oz/540 mL) chick-peas,    1
    drained and rinsed
1    can (19 oz/540 mL) black beans,     1
    drained and rinsed
1 tbsp    red wine vinegar or fresh lime juice    15 mL
    Salt and pepper
    Tomato-Avocado Salsa (recipe follows)
1.    In large heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown sausage, turning occasionally, about
10 minutes. Remove and cut into 1⁄2-inch (1 cm)
thick slices.
2.    Pour off all but 2 tbsp (25 mL) drippings from pan; cook onion for 5 minutes. Add sweet and jalapeño peppers; cook for 1 minute. Stir in garlic, chili powder, paprika, cumin and oregano; cook for
30 seconds.
3.    Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans, chick-peas and black beans; simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes for flavors to blend. Add sausage; simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pass salsa for spooning on top.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Tomato-Avocado Salsa
1    tomato, seeded and diced    1
1    avocado, peeled and diced    1
1⁄4 cup    diced red onion    50 mL
2 tbsp    chopped fresh coriander    25 mL
2 tbsp    fresh lime juice    25 mL
    Salt and pepper
1.    In a small bowl, toss together tomato, avocado, onion, coriander, lime juice, and salt and pepper
to taste.
Makes about 11⁄4 cups (300 mL)

Both cookbooks by Rose Murray — 125 Best Chicken Recipes and 125 Best Casseroles and One-Pot Meals — were published in February and are available for $19.95. Find more information on the publisher's website at

Disclosure: I received these books free for review; opinions and anecdotes are my own.