Because chickens live on small plots of land and require little care, they've formed the basis for delicious dinners in virtually every major cuisine. From Southern American specialties to fare from the Far East, chicken dinners are a part of the culinary landscape throughout the world. Chicken adapts readily to slow or rapid cooking techniques; your family will equaly appreciate your chicken slow-roasted on a Sunday or stir-fried on a Friday.
Chicken as Comfort Food
When your child is feeling under the weather, few foods make better medicine than chicken noodle soup. Chicken features prominently in plenty of comfort foods because of its mild flavor and adaptability. Southern chicken and dumplings will warm your family's hearts and bellies. A roast chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans is a Sunday staple in some households; for others, it's a bowl of spicy chicken and sausage gumbo that feels like home.
Chickens don't fly well, but chicken dishes travel beautifully. If your family craves a taste of something more adventurous, transform their ordinary chicken dinner into a well-traveled treat. Serve juicy tandoori chicken with creamed spinach and rice for an Indian-inspired dinner. If you're pressed for time, stir-fry chicken with ginger, garlic and snow pea pods; you'll have a quick dinner that fills that urge for new flavors. Change up your standard beef taco night with chicken fajitas. Italian dishes such chicken parmigiana and chicken cacciatore are sure kid-pleasers.
Smaller pieces of food cook more quickly, and chicken makes the most of this fundamental principle of cooking because it pounds thin without tearing. Pound a boneless, skinless chicken breast thin and dredge it in flour before pan-searing it to create a crispy take on fried chicken. You could also take the pounded breast and roll it around a stuffing of vegetables and soft cheese. Dice that chicken breast into small cubes instead and pan-fry them before adding them to a white sauce for a homemade version of chicken Alfredo.
Chicken in the Oven
Your oven can deliver more than just a succulent roasted chicken. Coat chicken pieces in an egg wash and seasoned bread crumbs to make an oven-fried centerpiece for your chicken dinner. Pound chicken cutlets thin and form roulades stuffed with creamed spinach and layered with ham; slice the roulades into 1/2-inch sections and serve them to kids as chicken pinwheels. If you plan to roast chicken, look for the birds labeled "roasters" or "roaster-fryers" in your market; they'll stay tender in the dry heat of the oven.
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