Alex Guarnaschelli's Go-To Lazy Meal

For many foodies, cooking is a relaxing, soul-nourishing routine that puts a peaceful button on chaotic days. Methodically chopping vegetables and sculpting balanced sauces can be a powerful stress reliever. But, on busy weeknights, the opposite is often true. Cooking is really only fun when you "want" to do it, but the thing about humans is, we need to eat pretty often, whether we feel like getting in the kitchen or not.

Health names "housework" as one of the most significant stressors facing the modern adult, and much of that housework can center around mealtime. Stress can cause people to overeat or kill their appetites altogether. Spend too much time deciding what to make for dinner and that's also bad news: The Cleveland Clinic recognizes "hangry" as a real physiological state.

In a Tasting Table Exclusive Survey, 33.33% of our readers said that on hectic weeknights or lazy weekends, they're hitting up a drive-thru to get fast food for dinner. Frozen pre-made meals, canned soup, and grocery store hot bars also ranked among other popular meal shortcuts. Perhaps predictably, Food Network host Alex Guarnaschelli's go-to lazy meal is still one that she prepares herself at home. But her tried-and-true easy dinner might surprise you: Guarnaschelli spatchcocks a chicken (and maybe you should, too).

Spatchcock your way into a relaxing evening

Food Network took to Twitter to share how several professional chefs make dinnertime a little easier, and Guarnaschelli tells the outlet exactly what's on her table: "Just a spatchcocked chicken with a lot of potatoes." In case you've never done it before, to spatchcock, home cooks de-spine the bird and flatten it, which admittedly might not sound like any "lazy meal" we've ever heard of. But, the way Guarnaschelli does it, a spatchcocked chicken might be just the elevated in-case-of-emergency-break-glass recipe you've been hungry for.

The practice and its silly-sounding name originated in 19th-century Ireland when cooks would "dispatch the cock" (which eventually got shortened to "spatchcock") by slicing it lengthwise and opening it up like a book on the cooktop to cook faster. Using this method, a whole 3 ½-pound bird can be ready to eat in just 35 minutes. By maximizing the amount of surface area that is exposed to heat, the chicken cooks quicker and more evenly.

Guarnaschelli bulks up the meal by adding a bunch of potatoes, which could presumably be cooked on the same pan as the chicken for a quick one-dish meal. The chef doesn't even use plates: "We eat off the tray right at the table, I mean like, like animals," she says – a lazy meal we can get behind. Sayonara, sink full of dishes.