It’s always useful to have staple ingredients on hand that can be dressed up any number of ways. Chicken cutlets are a prime example.

Because they’re made by slicing chicken breasts into thinner pieces and often pounding them to be even slimmer and more uniform, cutlets will cook quickly in a skillet. And with no thicker end as in the original breast, you get more even cooking as well. A note for the wallet: It’s usually more economical to buy breasts that you slice yourself as opposed to packaged cutlets from the store. Either way, buy when there’s a sale and pop them in the freezer, ideally separated so you can take out only as many as you need at a time.

You’ll often find chicken cutlets dredged in flour and cornstarch or covered in a more substantial coating of such ingredients as breadcrumbs and ground nuts. Put them on top of a salad, inside a sandwich or nestled in a delectable pan sauce. Here are a few ideas from our archives to get you started.

Lemon Chicken, above. This weeknight-friendly meal is elegant enough for an at-home date night or small dinner party (with your vaccinated friends). Lemon slices simmered in the pan sauce are a glorious finishing touch.


Chicken Cutlets With Artichokes and Lemon-Thyme Sauce. Here’s another bright-tasting dish that takes advantage of an equally handy pantry staple: canned artichokes.


Chipotle Chicken Sandwich With Avocado. Skip the drive-through. You can pull together your own better-for-you spicy chicken sandwich in just about half an hour at home.


Easy Chicken Roll-ups. No need to always leave your cutlets flat! Turn them into eye-catching spirals loaded with spinach and Swiss cheese.


Spicy Chicken Parm. Save this one for a weekend dinner, with leftovers that make for a mean chicken Parm sandwich.


Quick and Crispy Chicken Cutlets. If you just want a base cutlet recipe that you can incorporate into your own creations, this one, featuring Dijon mustard and panko, is it.


Chicken Satay Sandwiches. The sauce and chicken can both be prepared up to four days in advance, meaning you can invest a little time up front so you can then put together a satisfying sandwich for lunch or dinner in a matter of minutes.


Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Sandwiches. Try going the open-faced route, with an avocado-chickpea mash, bacon, tomatoes and cutlets (cooked in the rendered bacon fat) piled on whole-grain or multigrain bread.

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