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Six Fresh Ways to Eat Your Chicken

Don't settle for the same recipes over and over

Chicken is the most widespread domesticated fowl in the world, thanks to its culinary versatility and familiarity—from grilling to stir-frying to roasting, there is virtually nothing you can’t do with this cost-effective poultry. And let’s not overlook that it brings an impressive nutritional resume to the table, especially if the bird was raised organically on pasture. It features a high protein-to-fat ratio when measured against other meats like beef and a string of essential micronutrients.

You might think of chicken as nothing more than a fall-back meal option and something that hardly gets you excited to sit down for a good meal. After the umpteenth same-old chicken for dinner, it’s understandable why you may want to fly the coop on this meat. So let us help you get excited about eating chicken again. Here are six fuss-free ways to take your bird up a gastronomic notch and showcase the contrasting flavors from all the different parts of America’s favorite protein.

Chicken Hummus Collard Wraps

For a fresher approach to lunch (or dinner!) wraps, try using collards instead of flour-based tortillas. They are sturdy enough to hold a pile of chicken and other fillings and deliver big-time nutrition. The wraps can be prepared the night before for a quick meal when you need it.

Makes 4 wraps

8 large collard green leaves

1 cup hummus

2 cups cooked chicken breast meat

2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks

1 cup sliced roasted red pepper

1 1/2 cups microgreens

Cut off the firm white stalks of the collards. With a sharp knife, fillet off the thickest parts of the remaining stalks that run down the backside of the leaves. For each wrap, place two collard leaves head to foot (stalks at opposite ends) and partially overlap the leaves. Spread a quarter of the hummus down the center and top with a quarter of each of the chicken, carrot, roasted red pepper and microgreens. Tightly roll the leaves beginning from the bottom, tucking in the sides as you go. Cut in half on a bias to serve. If needed, insert toothpicks to keep the rolls intact. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Sweet-Savory Blueberry Sauce Chicken

This sweet and savory berry sauce will perk up your chicken night. The sauce is also wonderful on other cuts of grilled chicken, including breast meat as well as grilled pork or even as a fanciful burger topping.

Makes 2 servings

1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

1 tbsp chopped shallot

1 minced garlic clove

1 tbsp fresh thyme

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp honey

2 tsp lemon zest

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 grilled chicken legs

Place blueberries, garlic, thyme, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon zest and cinnamon in a small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes, until blueberries have broken down and sauce is thickened. Serve warm berry sauce drizzled over chicken.

Chicken Pesto Peach Grilled Pizza

The Indian flatbread known as naan is an easy crust option when you want a hassle-free pizza night. A lively pesto spread, sweet sun-kissed peaches and a finishing touch of intense balsamic syrup guarantee this chicken pizza knocks the socks off anything the delivery guy can supply.

Makes 4 servings

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 naan flatbreads

1/3 cup prepared pesto

1 cup sliced grilled chicken breast

2 peaches, pitted and sliced

1 cup sliced roasted red pepper

3 oz torn fresh mozzarella

1 cup arugula

In a small saucepan, simmer balsamic vinegar, honey and cinnamon over medium heat uncovered until syrupy and reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 5 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium. Brush both sides of naan with oil. Place naan on grill grate and heat until bottoms are browned and have crisped up, about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn the bread. Remove naan from the grill and spread an equal amount of the pesto on the browned side of the bread. Scatter an equal amount of the chicken, peaches, roasted red pepper and mozzarella pieces on each naan. Return naan to grill grate and heat until undersides are browned and cheese is melted.

Drizzle on balsamic syrup and garnish with arugula.

Figgy Chicken Wings

Sticky wings need not only be bar food. A punchy fig sauce serves as a springboard for a chicken meal that will wake up your taste buds. These wings will fly off the platter, so to speak.

Makes 4 servings

3 lbs. chicken wings

1/4 cup fig preserves

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp orange juice

2 tbsp chopped shallot

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 cup sliced mint

Preheat oven to 425°F. Set wire racks inside each of two rimmed baking sheets. Dry 3 lbs. chicken wings with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Place chicken wings, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread wings out in a single layer on prepared racks. Bake wings until cooked through, about 35 minutes, flipping once. Transfer wings to a large bowl.

In a bowl, stir together fig preserves, balsamic vinegar, orange juice and Italian seasoning. Toss fig mixture with warm wings.

Sweet Sour Spicy Chicken Tacos

For very little time investment, you get this Asian-inspired taco riff that is perfect for any hot summer night. Of course, you can also serve the chicken mixture in corn tortillas.

Makes 2 Servings

2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari

1 Tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp Sriracha or sambal oelek chili sauce

1 Tbsp oil

2 shallots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3/4 pound ground chicken

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

6 large Bibb lettuce leaves

Lime wedges

In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, sugar, fish sauce, sesame oil and chili sauce.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add chicken and season with a couple pinches of salt. Cook, breaking up meat with a spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks, until chicken is cooked through, 5–7 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture and cook, tossing occasionally, until liquid is almost completely reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro.

Stuff chicken mixture into lettuce leaves. Serve with lime wedges.

PB&J Toast Salad

This whimsical play on everyone’s favorite schoolyard sandwich elevates salad to a main-dish worthy meal. The toasted bread, cooked chicken and dressing can be made up to two days in advance for a quick weeknight meal. Chicken breast meat would be a good stand-in for the thigh meat.

Makes 4 servings

4 cups cubed whole-grain bread

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp oil

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tsp honey

2 tsp grated or finely minced ginger

8 cups salad greens

1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped

1 pound cooked chicken thigh meat

1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 cups sliced strawberries

2 oz soft crumbled goat cheese

Heat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, toss bread with 1 tablespoon oil and squeeze gently so bread absorbs oil. Spread bread cubes out on a baking sheet and bake, stirring once halfway, for 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, vinegar, honey, ginger and 2 tablespoons warm water until smooth. If needed, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until a pourable consistency is reached.

Divide salad greens, mint, cooked chicken, bell pepper, strawberries and toasted bread cubes among serving plates or bowls. Drizzle peanut butter dressing over top and sprinkle on the goat cheese.

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