Economical yet delicious, chicken thighs can make a fast dinner when the family wants to eat. Chicken thighs are also versatile, transforming easily into a special dinner or a casual casserole. Serve chicken thighs for dinner, adding two or three savory side dishes that complement the main entree for a winning meal.
Bone-in Chicken Preparation
Use bone-in chicken thighs if you wish to prepare a chicken-and-sauce recipe in the oven. Whip up a fast cream sauce by mixing creamy ranch dressing and reduced-fat cream soup. Bake the chicken thighs in the sauce until the chicken finishes cooking and the sauce is bubbly. Use tomato sauce instead for an Italian flavor -- add fresh basil, minced garlic, mushrooms and peppers to the tomato sauce and then simmer the chicken thighs in the sauce.
Boneless Chicken Preparation
Sprinkle dried green onion dip mix over boneless chicken thighs and cook them in the oven or the microwave. Allow the chicken to cool and then dice it into small pieces. Use the chicken in a pasta salad with colorful vegetables and a creamy dressing or add the diced chicken to any type of casserole -- potatoes, rice or pasta -- along with a cheesy or tomato sauce. Toss a few vegetables into the casserole, add shredded cheese on top and call the family to supper.
Add color and texture to your meal by choosing the right accompaniments. If you prepared bone-in chicken with a sauce, choose rotini pasta to serve with the sauce. A hash brown potato bake would complement the baked chicken, too. Rely on a raw spinach salad to add crunch and vivid color to any meal. Throw a few shredded carrots and tomato chunks into the salad and top it with croutons and creamy Parmesan salad dressing. If a hot vegetable fits better, try peas sprinkled with almonds.
Serve a fat-free fruit sorbet featuring the kids' favorite fruits -- raspberry, orange or watermelon would please most kids. Although you could purchase sorbet from the store, the kids might like to make it instead. Cut up whatever fresh fruits you want to use and toss it into the food processor. Add a splash of lemon juice and honey and puree everything until it's nice and smooth and serve it immediately or freeze individual servings in paper cups for later.
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