With these three things you can cook almost anything

There are three things that, if you have them on hand, you can cook just about anything:

1. Olive Oil

2. Salt

3. Pepper

Seriously, you can make just about any meat or veggie taste delicious with only these ingredients. (And if you have water, you can do your carbs this way too.) You can sauté in a skillet. You can fry in a pan. You can roast in the oven.  And it will taste delicious.

I know, I know, you read these recipes with a million crazy ingredients and twelve steps and 10 pans and you don’t even want to try.  Complicated recipes make cooking seem hard. But if you keep things simple it can be easy. So don’t be afraid. Grab a sheet pan for roasting, or a skillet of some kind for sautéing, and let’s make some plain-jane, delicious roasted chicken.

Step One: Get some boneless, skinless chicken breasts out of the fridge and turn your oven to 375.

Step Two: Get a sheet pan (like the kind for baking cookies) and line it with foil so it’s easy to clean up. If you don’t want to line it with foil it’s okay.

Step Three: Coat your chicken lightly with olive oil, then cover with salt, and pepper. Make sure you do this on both sides. I like a lot of pepper so I keep shaking the pepper shaker until my chicken looks speckled-y. You can use less.

Step Four. Put your chicken in the oven until it is done. (It’s really that simple.) You can tell it is done because it will be golden all over.  It should take about 25 or 30 minutes depending on how thick your chicken breasts are. If you are nervous about whether or not it is done, cut one open and look and see. Chicken should not have any pink spots. If there are still pink spots in the middle, put all of the chicken back in the oven for a few more minutes.

But isn’t roasted chicken boring, you may ask? Not when paired with barbecue sauce, or sliced up on top of a salad, or eaten with spiced cranberry sauce, or mixed into greek yogurt, blueberries, and toasted walnuts for a healthy spin on traditional chicken salad. Roasting chicken breasts is a great tool to have in your toolbox and is just one of the many things you can make with these three base ingredients.

Okay, your turn: are olive oil, salt, and pepper your three main cooking ingredients? Do you prefer a different type of oil?

This post is number 13 of my #write31days project 31 Days in the Pink-Briefcase Kitchen. You can follow along with the series each day in October. An archive of posts is available here, or just click on that big button on the right sidebar.



  1. Jamie Wright Bagley

    Hmm. Sometimes I prefer Kerrygold butter. Sometimes I don’t use any fats; a little extra water can do the trick. My favorite quick meal is boneless/skinless chicken tenderloins generously sprinkled with Trader Joe’s garlic salt. It bakes in 20ish minutes and goes with any side, on salad, or sliced up as sandwich meat. I swear, my cooking gets a little lazier every year, yet somehow still tastes good enough to keep my family happy. I’m okay with that. I love keeping it simple. (And cheap! Did I mention cheap? :D )

    • Mary Beth

      I don’t even know what Kerrygold butter is but I’m about to google it up. And garlic salt makes everything better, I absolutely agree! Lazy cooking is actually a blog post I have already written for next week so we are totes on the same wavelink. :)

  2. Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life

    Yes to Kerrygold! And to those three basic ingredients. I spice it up some too (har har) but that is always an excellent place to start. I will say, though, that this method works best when your meat or produce is a good quality/fresh. Then the natural flavors can really shine!

  3. Pingback: Mustard-Glazed Salmon | Pink-Briefcase

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