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One chicken, 4 dinners

By Hilary Meyer, September 10, 2009 - 11:37am

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If you’re looking for a way to make your food dollars and your cooking efforts go further, think cheap chicken dinners. A whole chicken can go a long way. Once a month, my husband and I buy a fresh chicken from a local farm. Sometimes I roast it whole and use the leftovers in another meal the next night. If I don’t want to cook the whole thing at once, I divide it up so we can have the breast one night and the legs another. Because I think this fresh local chicken tastes so amazing, I get really excited about the delicious chicken recipes we can make with our special purchase.

Here are some of my all-time favorite chicken recipes, from simply roasting a whole chicken to a quick, easy recipe using convenient boneless, skinless breasts to a great recipe for leftover chicken.

Use a whole chicken in:
Pan-Roasted Chicken & Gravy – A cast-iron skillet is the perfect vessel for a simple roast chicken. Almost every side dish, be it vegetables, legumes, pasta or rice, goes well with it.

Use boneless, skinless chicken breast in:
Grilled Chicken Ratatouille – We gave this classic Provençal dish a taste of summer by grilling the vegetables traditionally used in ratatouille (bell pepper, eggplant, zucchini, tomato). Topped with grilled chicken, it makes an easy main course for summer entertaining. We like fresh marjoram and basil to complement the flavors, but any fresh herb will work. Serve with polenta and a glass of Pinot Noir.

Use chicken thighs in:
Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken
– Grilled teriyaki chicken with pineapple can be made with just a few pantry staples. Although it’s delicious when made with canned pineapple, fresh pineapple and its juice can easily be used in its place. Serve with brown rice and snow peas.

Use leftover chicken in:
Cheesy Chicken Pasta – This ooey-gooey pasta dish is a crowd-pleaser for adults and kids alike—think rich and creamy macaroni-and-cheese tossed with cauliflower and chicken. Serve with a spinach salad.

TAGS: Hilary Meyer, Food Blog

Hilary Meyer
EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.

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