Chicken is probably one of the most commonly served proteins in America. It’s inexpensive, lower in fat than red meat and available most anywhere we shop for groceries. With so many chicken-based meals hitting supper tables across the U.S., it’s not surprising that people end up in a rut. Wondering what to cook with chicken breast? Here are a few tips to help you kick everyone’s favorite poultry up a notch.
Use the Whole Bird
Quite often we grab the same package of boneless breasts every week, or maybe your family is crazy about drumsticks. Limiting yourself to only one portion of this tasty bird is a culinary crime! Buy a whole chicken or two when they are on sale and try some of these ideas:
- Cook the chicken all day in the slow cooker. Then shred the meat for enchiladas, white bean chicken chili, chicken and dumplings or barbecue chicken sandwiches.
- Don’t toss that carcass just yet. Simmer it — bones and all — with some chopped celery and onion to make homemade chicken stock.
- Save leftover chicken meat for cold sandwiches, soups, stews and tacos.
Add Some Ethnic Flair
Chicken is used in a wide variety of ethnic dishes, including Mediterranean, Chinese, Indian and Mexican. Here are just a few ideas to get your juices flowing:
- If your family likes spicy fare, try this zesty Asian-inspired dish.
- Simmer sliced or shredded chicken with Latin spices for tacos, burritos or nachos.
- Chicken, garbanzo beans and veggies make delicious Greek-flavored wraps.
- Try a traditional Indian dish, such as chicken curry or butter chicken.
Concentrate on the Sides
Is your family particular about how you prepare their chicken? Then spice things up a bit using side dishes instead.
- Instead of potatoes or white rice, try quinoa mixed with fresh herbs.
- Serve a spicy mix of black beans and veggies over white or brown rice.
- Replace one of your hot side dishes with a cold bean salad.
- Sprinkle vegetables with shredded cheese or fresh herbs to add a fancy flair to typical side dish.
Make Creative Substitutions
There are plenty of meals to cook with chicken, or leftover chicken, in places that you might not have considered before.
- Next time you make tacos or chili, use ground chicken instead of ground beef.
- Add cold chicken to pasta and bean salads.
- Replace all or a portion of the ground beef with ground chicken in recipes such as casseroles or meatloaf.
- Combine leftover chicken and beans, broth, frozen vegetables, or whatever else you have on hand for a hearty soup.
Chicken is a great source of protein and a tasty way to put dinner on the table. Add a little pizzazz to your meals with these simple tips to keep your family asking for more.