I used to spend lots of time creating very elaborate meals. They were wonderful - and are wonderful (when I have the time.)
But for daily cooking, I still think simple is best. With a few techniques it is easy to create a wonderful meal. Pan roasting is a good example of this.
Here is a basic recipe for pan-roasted chicken. You can vary the flavorings, use the juices from the pan and add a few fresh herbs and some lemon zest to liven things up. But, for terrific chicken flavor - easy - this one can't be beat.
1 chicken cut up into 6 or 8 pieces (you can also split a small chicken in half and "flatten it").
Olive Oil (enough to coat bottom of heavy oven-safe frying pan)
Chopped fresh parsley and lemon slices for serving
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Dry off chicken parts and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Let stand for about 15 minutes to "marinate."
2. Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed frying pan that is large enough to fit all the pieces of chicken without crowding. Make sure the oil and pan are REALLY hot so the chicken doesn't stick and you get a good sear on the skin. (Note: If the chicken is really close together, it will steam instead of crisping.)
3. Place chicken skin side down into hot oil. Be careful!!
4. Let brown in frying pan for about 5-7 minutes or until really golden brown (take the time to make sure it really crisps and looks browned!)
5. Flip chicken over and put pan into oven.
6. Roast chicken for another 10-11 minutes until juices run clear and chicken is done.
7. Transfer to platter and sprinkle with fresh parsley and lemon!