Scrumptious chicken recipes
Chicken is one of the most versatile meats you can buy. Not only is it inexpensive, it can be used in near countless dishes and cooked in a wide variety of tasty ways. September is National Chicken Month, but that doesn't mean you can't sink your teeth into delicious chicken dishes throughout the year. If you are tired of the same old baked chicken breast or ho-hum piece of fried chicken, spice up your chicken dinners with these reinvented chicken dishes.
Buy chicken whole or in parts
When purchasing chicken, you can choose a whole chicken, cut up chicken, or parts of a chicken, such as breasts, thighs, wings, or drumsticks.
Consider budget and convenience
Buying a whole chicken is usually your cheapest option, but only if you are going to use the entire thing. Breaking down a chicken is easy and you will get a lot more for your money. However, for ease of preparation, breasts, drumsticks, thighs, or wings are the way to go.
Chicken is a very versatile protein that can be cooked in every possible way. It can be roasted, grilled, braised, broiled, poached, baked, fried, and stir-fried. Regardless of the method you use, take care to not overcook chicken since its lean meat will become dry and rubbery.
On the other hand, you don't want to undercook chicken, either. To ensure even cooking, cook pieces that are similarly-sized and over (or in) even heat. To determine doneness, use a meat thermometer (180 to 190 degrees F for dark meat; 170 degrees F for white meat). You can also cut boneless pieces of chicken to see if the juices run clear and the chicken is no longer pink in the center.
National Chicken Month recipes
Spicy Peach Chicken Fingers
Makes 4 servings
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup peach preserves
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon butter
1. Combine chili powder with onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Sprinkle mixture onto both sides of the chicken pieces.
2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and saute until pieces are cooked on the outside. Remove chicken from pan and reserve.
3. In the same pan, add 1 cup chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Mix in peach preserves and vinegar. If needed, pour in the rest of the chicken stock and stir well to smooth out. Season sauce to taste with hot sauce.
4. Add chicken back to pan and cook 10 to 12 more minutes or until fully cooked through. Right before serving, stir in orange zest and butter.
Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 (1-ounce) packet stir-fry seasoning powder
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup diced water chestnuts
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 head large Boston lettuce leaves, washed and dried
For garnish: Fresh mint and cilantro, bean sprouts, pine nuts, chopped peanuts
1. Mix stir-fry seasoning with water, hoisin sauce, lime juice, and sugar. Set aside.
2. In a large pan, saute chicken in oil until browned and separated. Stir in bell pepper, water chestnuts, scallions, and red pepper flakes. Cook about 5 minutes.
3. Mix in seasoning mix and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until liquid has cooked off. Remove chicken and place in a serving bowl.
4. To make sauce, whisk together oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar, white pepper, and salt.
5. To serve, place lettuce leaves on a serving platter. Fill with chicken mixture, drizzle with sauce, and top with your choice of garnish.
Rosemary Brie Chicken
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
4 ounces Brie cheese
1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic until golden. Place chicken breasts in oil and cook about 5 minutes per side or until browned.
2. Pour stock into skillet and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and lemon zest. Cover skillet with a lid and cook about 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
3. Take chicken out of skillet and place on a serving platter. Continue cooking sauce until thickened. Add Brie to sauce and stir to melt in. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.