The weather has cooled off, it's dark as night by 5 p.m., and our cravings for comfort food have grown proportionately with our lack of desire to spend tons of time cooking during the week after work. If you're in a similar boat, never fear – you're not going to be left with nothing but frozen food and stale pretzels just because you don't feel like spending hours in the kitchen instead of curled up on the couch. Clever, quick recipes, like Martha Stewart's 30-minute chicken puttanesca with polenta, help us make satisfying and legitimately delicious weeknight meals without feeling like we're going to collapse from exhaustion by the time we're done cooking, thanks to a few simple shortcuts.
The key to enjoying this meal is picking up a tube of pre-cooked polenta at the store. Once it's sliced, you sauté the polenta in olive oil until it's golden brown on both sides, and has nice crispy edges that will offer up textural contrast in the dish.
Then, you sauté the chicken in the same skillet, and remove it to make the punchy puttanesca sauce. A combination of olives, capers and garlic transforms even the most bland store-bought marinara sauce, adding a briny, savory quality that will make you want to add an extra scoop of sauce to your plate.
To finish the dish, add the polenta rounds and the chicken back to the skillet, nestling them into the puttanesca sauce so all surfaces have a nice coating of flavor. Top with shredded mozzarella and pop under the broiler, so the cheese melts and starts to brown, which adds even more flavor to this one-skillet, 30-minute chicken recipe.
In less time than it takes to listen to an episode of your favorite podcast, you'll have a restaurant-worthy meal that tastes good at the kitchen table, but even better eaten on the couch surrounded by cozy blankets.
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