Fowl Play: Rediscovering Chicken Dishes That Are Anything But Boring

by Gennefer Gross

Chicken is a cooking essential. But let’s face it. It can get pretty monotonous – especially if you’re trying to eat healthy. Steamed boneless, skinless chicken again? Yippee. [Insert sarcasm font here]. But just because this perennial poultry is on the leaner side with a milder flavor than its fattier meat friends doesn’t mean it has to taste bland. With the right ingredients, you can coax big flavors out of chicken without breaking your diet.

From weight watching wraps to exotic entrées, these chicken dishes will re-ignite your love affair with poultry, one free-range fowl at a time.

Chicken Mole

Mole is basically Mexican chocolate, so we’re already off to a good start here. And before you worry about calories, not only is dark chocolate beneficial for elevating your mood because it contains serotonin, a natural antidepressant, when combined with the spices in this sauce, it also kickstarts your metabolism. Speeds up weight loss AND an endorphin release? I know what you’re thinking… “Sounds too good to be true.” But, trust me, you’ll feel happier three bites into this bold combination of cacao, cinnamon and ancho chilies, coating fork-tender chicken legs in their sweet and savory antioxidant-rich reduction. This recipe also contains apple cider vinegar, which has been all the rage in helping to shed some pounds because it reduces the speed at which sugar enters the blood stream, giving you extra time to savor this succulent supper.

Yellow Chicken Adobo

This vibrant yellow chicken adobe recipe will brighten your dinner table with fresh squash, cauliflower, coconut milk, honey, and a hint of jalapeno to create a decadent cream sauce that’s not detrimental to your waistline. Squash and cauliflower are low-calorie vegetables. And coconut milk cuts the fat in half to give you maximum flavor with minimal remorse. So, go ahead and scoop out a second helping of this tempting treat and skip the squats. You’ve earned it.

Cranberry and Camembert Stuffed Chicken With Mustard Sauce

You won’t even realize you’re eating steamed chicken when it’s stuffed with crimson cranberries and silky camembert in this tempting recipe that infuses the jamminess of ripe fruit with the sharp, distinctive pop of horseradish and hot English mustard. Rustic notes of buttery hazelnuts will fill your senses and taste buds with pure bliss. Serve this dish with baby gold potatoes and snappy green beans, and you’ll be whisked off to the French countryside. No passport required.

Basque Chicken

This recipe is aptly named because you’ll want to ‘ bask’ in every biteful of this savory Mediterranean-inspired sauce with smoked paprika, crushed tomatoes, garlic, basil, and robust Kalamata olives smothering juicy chicken thighs. Rich and hearty, this dish feels like a slow-cooked stew in half the time, and with twice the flavor. Beef who?

Chicken and Pineapple Wraps

You’ve never experienced chicken like this before. With creamy yogurt, ripe, juicy pineapple, carrots, coriander and the crunch of toasted almonds, this takes chicken salad to a whole new level, combining sweet chunks of tropical fruit with the zesty zip of savory spices. The result is a light, fresh sandwich, swaddled in a healthy whole wheat tortilla that will feel like a poolside retreat in your mouth. Pair it with a crisp rosé, fragrant mojito, or even a virgin daiquiri, and call it a day.

Chicken Satay Pizza

Buffalo and BBQ tend to dominate the chicken pizza options out there, which is why this chicken satay recipe adds an Asian flair that makes the heavenly combination of cheese and dough, well, even heavenlier. Tangy provolone, bright bell peppers and sumptuous peanut sauce bring this once skewer-based treat to your oven with exotic earthy flavors and a crumbly, caramelized crust to create a symphony of salty sweetness unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in pizza form or otherwise.

Chicken and Quinoa Salad

Sure, this may technically be called a ‘salad,’ but the leafy greens in this blooming bowl of fresh fruits and vegetables are merely a vehicle to transport an aromatic amalgam of velvety beets, fluffy goat cheese, citrus-marinated chicken, and bursts of blackberries into your mouth. The textures and tastes commingling all at once in each forkful is an exercise in futility because you’ll want to shovel every magnificent morsel down your throat as fast as you can. But try to slow down and savor the experience. You’re a salad eater now.

Get ready to expand your poultry repertoire. There’s a whole flock of fowl out there that can unlock a myriad of flavors without being battered or deep fried.

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