Chicken is one of the most versatile, healthy and easy dinner dishes available. You can buy a big package of frozen chicken breasts to have on hand any time. Here are some ideas for quick chicken recipes that can become real family favorites.
1. Chicken Nuggets
The homemade version of these kid favorites is so much healthier than those offered by restaurants. Here’s how to make tasty ones at home.
- Chicken breasts or strips (The number of breasts you’ll need depends on your family size – you will probably get 6 to 8 nuggets out of each breast. If you are using chicken breast strips, you can cut those into 2 or 3 nuggets each.)
- Plain yogurt
- Whole wheat flour
- 1 or 2 beaten eggs
- Seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs (you can make your own by grating up whole wheat bread and adding the seasonings of your choice)
- Melted butter or olive oil (or a combination)
Cut chicken breasts or strips into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Roll them in yogurt until they are coated (you can use a zip-top plastic bag to do this job if you like). Next roll the pieces in the flour, then the beaten egg, and finally the seasoned bread crumbs. Make sure to coat each piece thoroughly. Place pieces on parchment paper-covered baking sheets. Drizzle with melted butter and/or olive oil. Bake at 475 degrees F for 3 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 10-12 minutes.
2. Sautéed Chicken
There are so many variations on the pan-sautéed chicken breast. Some professionals recommend pounding the chicken breasts to a uniform thickness between plastic wrap before cooking. Then sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, heat some olive oil in your skillet on medium-high, and try some of these quick ideas.
- Sauteed Tomato Chicken – Place 4 chicken breasts in the skillet and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Put the chicken on a warm plate or platter. Add 5 cloves of chopped garlic and sauté for a minute; then add 1 pint of cherry tomatoes into the garlic. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and simmer 5 minutes. Then pour this sauce over the chicken.
- Sauteed Lemony Herbed Chicken – Sauté 4 chicken breasts as described above and remove to a warm plate or platter. To the hot skillet, add 3 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon minced onion, 1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme and sage (1 teaspoon if using fresh). Stir for about half a minute, then stir in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and cook for another half a minute. Pour over chicken.
3. Crunchy Coconut Chicken Fingers
Sprinkle 4 raw chicken breasts with salt and pepper and set aside. In one shallow dish, combine one egg with 1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt. In another shallow dish, place 1 cup rice flour. In yet another shallow dish, place 1 1/2 cups unsweetened, flaked coconut. Dip chicken in flour, then buttermilk/yogurt mixture, then coconut. Place coated chicken in a medium-hot skillet in which you’ve heated 3 tablespoons oil. Cook 3 or 4 minutes per side.
4. Super-Fast Oven-Baked Chicken
Chunk up 4 chicken breasts into 1 or 2-inch pieces. Place them in a shallow baking dish coated in olive oil. To the dish, add chunked green pepper, onions, and whole, peeled garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and 1/4 cup lemon juice; stir to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, thyme, and sage. Bake at 500 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes.