Break out of boring: Recipe ideas for weeknight chicken

Tired of plain chicken breast? Top the chicken with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil for a take on Caprese chicken. (Courtesy Kait Fortunato)

Kait Fortunato
WTOP Wellness Contributor

WASHINGTON — Boneless, skinless chicken breast is a staple protein on many Americans’ weeknight dinner plates, but it’s also the culprit of a common food complaint: it can get a bit boring.

Perhaps it’s time to shake up your chicken routine. There are plenty of tasty and quick ways to prepare it, outside of baking or grilling the bird. Here are some of my favorites:

“Bread” It

I like the get creative with my different chicken coatings, outside of bread crumbs and panko. Next time you’re craving chicken coated with a crunch of flavor, try one of these alternatives:

Stir-Fry It

It sounds incredibly simple, but mixing chicken with vegetables, a starch and a sauce can brighten up any dish. Some of my favorite stir fries include:

  • Chicken with Asian medley frozen vegetables, brown rice and Trader Joe’s Chicken Satay Sauce. Top it all with cashews and you have a fancy and quick meal.
  • Chicken with sweet potatoes, broccoli and a balsamic vinegar sauce.
  • Chicken with beans, peppers and onions with a ginger sauce. Add Siracha if you like it spicy.

Top It

Even plain-baked chicken can turn into something flavorful with a few different toppings:

Crock-pot It

One of the best ways to cook chicken so that it retains great texture and does not dry out is in the crock-pot. And for a weeknight meal, it doesn’t get any simpler in terms of preparation.

  • Crock-pot pulled-chicken tacos: For a spin on Mexican cuisine at home, combine salsa, taco seasoning and beans into the crock-pot with the chicken. This dish is full of flavor and shreds so easily.
  • Crock-pot pesto lemon chicken: The simple addition of adding store-bought pesto and fresh lemon juice makes this meal one of my favorites to cook — and eat. The chicken is so tender and juicy, and it’s great for leftovers.

Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates and serves on the board for the DC Metro Area Dietetic Association. Kait focuses on individualizing her recommendations to have each client see results and live a healthier, more productive life, and she works to help people enjoy food and eat the foods they love. Kait lives in the D.C. area and loves trying new restaurants and activities around the city. Visit Kait’s blog, Rebel Dietitian, and tweet her @Rebel_Dietitian for recipes, nutrition tips and activities in the Washington area.

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