Chicken 3 Ways

I know, this is probably the millionth blog post about chicken.  Seriously, every nutritionist, chef, home cook and dietitian out there has touted the benefits of this lean protein.  It’s true, chicken is low in saturated fat, comes sliced and diced 7 ways to Sunday in the grocery store and it is an incredibly versatile player in most dishes.  3 oz of skinless chicken breast only has 140 calories and almost 30 g of protein!  But here’s the rub, my husband doesn’t really like it.  And by “doesn’t really like it” I mean, if I make it, he’ll politely eat a few bites and then say “oh I wasn’t really hungry tonight.”  If any of you know him, you’ll laugh because he’s ALWAYS hungry.  So I put chicken on the back burner until our son became a toddler and mashed beans weren’t cutting it for him anymore.  Now in an effort to bring this humble bird back to our table, here are 3 simple and easy ways I got flavorful, moist chicken back into our weekly dinner rotation:

  1. Chicken parmesan - this is a classic comfort food that I make all the time for my family.  I coat the chicken tenders in egg then roll in whole wheat breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for 25-30 min.  Then I can either finish putting the meal together or I can refrigerate the chicken until I’m ready for dinner.  Assemble the layers of chicken, mozzarella and marinara sauce and bake in the oven at 375° until bubbling.
  2. Chicken roll ups - using boneless, skinless chicken breasts is great here.  Just put one in between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them out until they’re just 1/4” thick.  Then drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt & pepper to season them.  Finally, layer on any combo that sounds good to you (or whatever is in the fridge) like spinach and feta cheese or prosciutto and mozzarella cheese.  Roll up the chicken, then secure with a toothpick and place on a baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 375°.
  3. Mustard chicken - this is a total homage to my mom who made mustard chicken at least once a week at our house growing up.  Melt 4 tbsp of butter with 4 tbsp of good dijon mustard in a sauté pan.  Crank up the heat and sear chicken in the mustard butter until brown, about 2 min per side.  Then place all the pieces on a foil-lined baking sheet, spoon the mustard butter over the pieces and bake in the oven at 375° for about 20 minutes.   

Finally, don’t be afraid to break out of the boneless, skinless chicken breast box.  Try thighs and legs too.  Buying chicken in bulk can save on the cost and you can remove the skin on your own at home.  Remember, the more processed a product is (removing bones and skin), the more $$ it will cost. 

Also, look for organic meat products where possible and hunt for sales.  Organic meat really is worth the extra money and it should only be an accent to your meals - not the main player.  Buy the highest quality you can, not the most quantity.  You can always stretch out the ingredients by adding whole grains, beans and lots of vegetables to round out a dish. 

Using these quick, easy recipes has brought chicken back into our kitchen and everyone is happy!