I'm not a fan of cookbooks. There are a few I love (The Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking are two), but the majority hold the same story: a few recipes you use, a few you'd like to try, and the majority neglected. That's not worth $25 or more to me. Instead, I like to find recipes in magazines.
One exception is the marriage of the magazine and cookbook. Sometimes, at the supermarket checkout, you'll find a "best of" magazine. I don't buy them often as the prices are sometimes nearly as high as a regular cookbook, however, the recipes you find within those publications are usually excellent. I found one years ago, put out by Cooking Light called Superfast Suppers. I can't tell you how many recipes from that magazine I've used and re-used. The following is one of my favorites.
Barbecue Baked Beans with Chicken
Regular-size foil oven bag (you can make yourself by sealing tin foil tightly into a pouch)
2/3 cup barbecue sauce, divided
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2 (16-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons salt-free barbecue rub (such as Spice Hunter)
1 pound chicken breast tenders (about 12 pieces)
Green onions (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place oven bag on a baking sheet. Combine 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, green onions, and pinto beans in a medium bowl. Spoon bean mixture into oven bag. Combine remaining barbecue sauce, barbecue rub, and chicken; toss well. Place chicken on beans. Fold edges of bag over to seal. Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is done. Garnish with onions. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 3 chicken tenders and 3/4 cup beans).
The Verdict: It was a tie. I love, love, love this recipe and could eat it once a week. The beans get almost a baked bean flavor with this way of cooking. I also dig this recipe because the ingredients are not only cheap, but are things you often keep on hand. And it's fast and simple to prepare. Noyan isn't wild about barbecue sauce and wasn't overly fond of this. He's also been reading a lot about high fructose corn syrup and admittedly, the brand that I used probably used it as an ingredient I think that was a turn off for him; I'll have to try it again with a more natural sauce. Amir was so into the beans that he wouldn't eat the chicken, so I can't tell what he thought about it as a whole.
The recipe calls for a dash of hot sauce in the bean mixture, but I always omit anything that's potentially hot because of Amir. I also couldn't find salt-free barbecue rub and didn't want to run around to 5o different stores looking for it. So I just used McCormick's Montreal Chicken Seasoning. Is that like barbecue rub? I dunno. But it tasted good to me.
One caveat: use a lot of tinfoil to create a large bag. Try not to mound the beans and chicken too much; a thicker mound means a much longer cooking time. My bag was too small and the cooking time was more like 35 minutes than 20.