Several years ago, Melanie Barnard and I wrote a little book called “The Five in Ten Chicken Breast Cookbook” — five ingredients, including chicken and excluding salt and pepper, in dishes to be cooked in under 10 minutes. Not our idea — it was what is called “work for hire” — but we thought the concept could fly, even though it was a bit of a stretch.

So we bought skinless, boneless chicken breasts — pounds and pounds of them — and came up with 167 recipes (so says the introduction) for soups, stews, casseroles, sautes, stir-fries, baked and broiled chicken, grilled chicken, salads and sandwiches. After turning in the manuscript, neither of us ate chicken for a while!

Here are a couple of those recipes. Because I’m free of the strict constraints, you’ll note that I’ve added an ingredient or two (usually more seasoning), and expanded the cooking times a bit.

CHICKEN NEAPOLITAN WITH SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS

Spicy Italian sausage adds terrific flavor to any dish. Serve this colorful medley with fusilli sprinkled with Parmesan, and with a sliced tomato and sweet onion salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Servings: Four to six 

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

¾ pound hot Italian link sausage, sliced into ¾-inch pieces

1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into ½-inch strips

1½ teaspoons dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

3 tablespoons slivered fresh basil

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the sausage and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until nicely browned and almost cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove sausage to a plate, leaving drippings in the pan.

Sprinkle the chicken with oregano, and season lightly with salt and pepper. (Sausage will contribute salt.) Cook in the skillet over medium-high heat until browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn, add the onions and peppers, and saut?ntil beginning to soften and brown.

Return sausage to pan, add ½ cup water, and bring to a boil, stirring up browned bits in bottom of pan. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until sausage is fully cooked, chicken is white throughout and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the basil.

BAKED CHICKEN DIABLO

Zesty strong mustard combines with garlic and oil as a coating that insulates the chicken from the drying effects of high heat, plus provides something for the crumbs to stick to. Scalloped potatoes and steamed asparagus or kale would complete this meal nicely.

Servings: Four

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (5 to 6 ounces each

3 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup fresh bread crumbs or Panko crumbs (see note)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Lemon wedges

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Pound chicken breasts slightly to flatten evenly. In a shallow dish, stir together the mustard, oil and garlic, and whisk to blend. In another shallow dish, toss crumbs with the pepper.

Dip chicken into mustard mixture to coat well, then dredge in the crumbs to coat completely. Place on a shallow-rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until chicken is white in the center but still juicy and crumb coating is golden brown.

If crumbs aren’t brown enough, run under a broiler for another minute or so. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Note: To make fresh crumbs, grind 1 slice sandwich bread in a food processor.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Lobster!” (Storey, 2012). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at: facebook.com/brookedojny