Low in fat and amazingly high in protein, relatively inexpensive and easy to raise on your own, chicken is a staple on the dinner table around the world.
Memorial Day is next Monday and the vast majority of the U.S. are taking advantage of the upcoming long weekend. It's a safe bet that many of us - most of us - will fire up the grill at some point and chicken will be on the menu.
When it comes to the grill, I'll admit that I am a proud charcoal snob. I can hear the collective *gasp* of the gas grill lovers, but sorry, charcoal just tastes better. Simple (and cheap) chicken drumsticks are a perfect evening dinner.
I used the leftovers to make BBQ chicken pizza...more on that below.
If anything deep fried is more your flavor, the possibilities with fried chicken are endless. I ate deep fried chicken quite often as a kid, but as an adult, I don't indulge as much except when it comes to the fried chicken sandwich. Thick and juicy, with just a hint of spice, sandwich your perfectly fried chicken breast between a toasted bun topped with, spicy mayo, homemade slaw and bread and butter pickles (my fave) and you have perfection.
For those with a wicked sweet tooth, here's a twist on chicken and waffles. Use the waffles as the bun and the maple syrup as a dipping sauce and these chicken and waffles sandwiches are a great for Sunday brunch. Or any day of the week.
Warning: this can - and will - get messy, but who cares? It's chicken and waffles sandwiches.
I'm a huge fan of Hoisin Sauce which is a thick, somewhat pungent sauce commonly used in Chinese cuisine as a glaze for meats. With it's sweet and salty taste, It's also used in some stir fry's and as a dipping sauce. For a twist to the standard BBQ sauce, use Hoisin sauce and make lettuce wraps garnished with scallions and sesame seeds for a fast and easy summertime dinner. Chopsticks are optional.
A favorite for a weekday, a weekend lunch, is the chicken salad sandwich. Chicken salad is one of those items that can be made in bulk and it'll keep in the fridge for several days...if it lasts that long. I like to buy chicken tender strips, add them to a large pot of water and let it come to a slow simmer for just a few minutes. The slow poach yields a wonderfully moist chicken tender that's easy to shred with endless uses.
The uber health conscious scoffs at chicken salad because of the mayo, excessive amount of mayo. It CAN be made healthy and lower in fat with the right substitutions. Try subbing 3/4 of the mayo with nonfat, plain yogurt. Greek yogurt doesn't sub as well. I find it too tangy with a slightly gritty texture. The rest of the ingredients are up to you, but for me, it's a finely diced apples, grapes, chopped walnuts and fresh thyme.
After the long Memorial Day weekend is all but a memory, and your fridge is full of leftovers from the grill (if there are any) what can you do with the leftover chicken? BBQ chicken pizza is the perfect solution.
Homemade pizza dough is always best, but if you're not up for making your own, the store bought kind will do just fine. Take any and all leftover chicken, shred finely and add just a touch of your favorite BBQ sauce. The topping are left to your imagination. Sauteed red onions, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh pulled mozzarella cheese with a few ribbons of basil are my favorites. Simple, easy and messy...the perfect pizza.
So...what are you having for dinner tonight?