Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Guest Post: Kick Up Plain Old Chicken for Easy Weeknight Dinners

I'd like to thank Meredith K. for the following guest post. I always struggle to think of dinner ideas at the last minute, and I'm sure I'm not alone!

It’s 5:30 p.m. on a weeknight and the farthest you’ve gotten with your dinner plans has been sticking chicken breasts on the counter to thaw. If this scenario sounds familiar, don’t panic! When you’re pressed for time on a busy evening, there’s no reason you still can’t serve your family a hearty, delicious meal with whatever basic ingredients you have lying around your kitchen.

In many busy families, chicken is a popular dinnertime staple, and for good reason! Chicken is less expensive than most other meats, is easy to cook with and is generally well-liked by kids and adults alike. The only problem with having chicken for every meal is that dinners can get repetitive, especially if you’re always rotating between the same few dishes. To kick up your basic easy chicken recipes, try the following tips:
  • Wrap them up
One of the easiest ways to transform a boring old chicken breast into a yummy, memorable dinner is to grab some tortillas and make wraps. Add some taco seasoning to shredded chicken for easy chicken tacos, enchiladas or fajitas, or wrap up grilled chicken with cheese, lettuce, ranch and bacon for a simple club wrap. Chicken is much more fun to eat when it’s rolled up and grab-able! (Try this recipe for Easy Chicken Fajitas)

  • Add some bread
Another way to turn chicken into a finger food is to make chicken sandwiches. Whether you grill plain chicken breasts, dip chicken in egg wash and breadcrumbs for homemade chicken patties or turn ground chicken into chicken burgers, there are lots of variations on chicken sandwiches that your family will love. (Try these flavorful Spicy Chicken Sandwiches)

  • Play with sauces
You can easily transform chicken by varying what sauces you serve with it. Marinara or pesto sauces are wonderful for chicken and pasta dishes, while salsa or enchilada sauces can give your chicken a Mexican twist. Add some soy sauce and veggies to diced chicken for a quick chicken stir-fry or whip up a quick cream sauce for a hearty chicken casserole. Different sauces give your dishes different personalities, so try a variety. (This Spinach and Artichoke Topped Chicken uses a sauce that mimics spinach artichoke dip).

  • Use different cooking methods
Tired of chicken made the same way every time? Experiment with all of the different ways you can cook chicken—the possibilities are virtually endless. Chicken can be baked, poached, roasted, fried, sautéed and slow-cooked, just to name a few options, and is delicious in any form. Try a few and see which versions your family likes best. (This Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili is made in the crockpot)

How do you add some pizazz to your weeknight chicken dinners? Share your favorite cooking tips and dinner ideas in the comments!

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of ReadySetEat®. For more quick dinner ideas and dozens of easy recipes for dinner, visit www.readyseteat.com.

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