Chicken is one of my favorite things to eat. I think I could eat chicken for every meal. It’s healthy, depending on how you prepare it, and there are so many ways to use chicken.

However, one would think after seeing my grandmother kill chickens for our Sunday family feasts, I wouldn’t want anything to do with the two-legged clucking domesticated fowl.

My Grandma Lehman knew how to do everything from getting wood in for the pot-bellied stove to catching and cleaning chickens for dinner. She would catch chickens, wring their necks, chop their heads off and hang them on the clothesline. Those chickens would flop around and all of us grandkids would giggle and laugh until our stomachs hurt from laughing so much.

If she didn’t hang them from the clothesline, she would put them on the ground, and they would take off running with no heads! That was a sight to behold and I now know where the saying comes from – “Running around like a chicken with its head cut off.”

Although I love chicken now, I remember a time I sat at the table on a Sunday afternoon for three hours because I didn’t want to eat a chicken leg. All I could think about was seeing that chicken flop around on the clothesline or run around with no head. My Mom and Dad told me I couldn’t get up until I cleaned my plate.

I also remember throwing the chicken in the trash when they walked out of the room, but I got caught and Mom just put another piece on my plate and sat there with me until I ate it. I guess there were a lot of things I didn’t like as a child that I can’t get enough of now.

Today, I could feast on the two-legged, egg-laying fowl anytime and have found many ways to prepare it.

One of my favorite recipes for chicken is Weight-Watchers chicken enchilada. My kids love it when I make these, even though they are weight-watcher friendly.

My son, Troy and his friend Ian like what I call my “fried/baked” chicken recipe and tell me it’s much better than KFC.

No matter how you look at it, there are 101 ways to cook chicken.

When I fry/bake chicken, I use a seasoned flour mix that I buy in the store. I soak my cut-up chicken pieces in milk (preferably buttermilk) and then roll in the seasoned flour. I repeat this process twice.

I always fry my chicken in a combination of a ton of butter and virgin olive oil. Fry on low heat until browned. Pop it in a 350-degree oven for about an hour and you will have the best-tasting chicken you have ever eaten. It’s moist and so juicy. Be sure to cover your baking dish with foil until the last 10 to 15 minutes.

If you have leftover chicken, you can always make chicken sandwiches or chicken salad. I make sure to fix extra so I will have plenty of leftovers.

Try these other delicious chicken recipes:

Chicken enchiladas

2 cups shredded chicken

14 oz. can red enchilada sauce

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 to 2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 red pepper, diced

8 tortillas, corn or whole wheat

1 cup shredded low fat Mexican cheese

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add the onion, red pepper, and garlic and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the onion softens.

Add the enchilada sauce and let simmer for five minutes. Taste and season with cumin and ancho chili powder for additional heat.

Use a baking dish (I like to use my glass 9×13 pan) and spray with cooking spray. Add enough sauce to just cover the bottom of the dish.

Microwave the tortillas for about 30 seconds so they are flexible before rolling them, or for more authentic enchiladas carefully dip each tortilla in the sauce before adding the chicken and rolling them up.

Cover the enchiladas with the additional sauce, leaving some extra for serving alongside the enchiladas.

Sprinkle on the cheese.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and toasty.

Chicken salad

3/4 pound cooked skinless boneless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup uncooked celery, finely diced

1/3 cup unsweetened dill pickles, or sweet gherkins, finely diced

1/4 cup reduced-calorie mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, fresh, chopped

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix. I like grapes in my chicken salad, and sometimes I throw in Cran-raisins. You can also throw in some chopped walnuts.

I also like grilled chicken. However, in order to be successful with grilling chicken or anything there are four things to remember including:

Rubs and glazes add flavors

I always search for the best rubs or make my own from my favorite spices. Rubs and glazes add so many flavors to any type of meat. A rub is a mix of herbs and spices that gives meat a savory crust. It can be a dry rub or wet.

Brine keeps the meat juicy

You can also brine chicken or whatever you’re grilling. Brine keep the meat juicy. I brine my turkey at Thanksgiving – it’s so moist and so delicious. Brine is a salt and water solution that helps keep chicken breasts moist through the process of osmosis. There are many brine recipes available online or you can concoct your own. I often use apple cider in my brine along with cut up oranges.

Pounding thinly gets reliable results

Boneless chicken breasts are hard to grill to perfection because they are sometimes really thick. I’ve found that pounding the chicken breasts into thin (1/4-thick pieces) makes it easier to grill and it doesn’t have time to dry out. The chicken cooks evenly and is so delicious. If you use this method, try squeezing a little fresh lemon juice on the chicken to add flavor.

A brick helps cook the chicken evenly

I’ve seen this done on Food Network a gazillion times, especially by Guy Fieri. Wrap a brick in aluminum foil, shiny side out, and put it on top of the chicken breasts during grilling. The brick compacts the meat so it cooks more evenly; presses the meat against the grill grate so you get good grill marks; and keeps the breasts partially covered, which helps keep it from drying out. If you don’t have a brick handy, Guy always suggests using a cast-iron skillet, but be sure to wrap the bottom of the skillet with foil.

Hope everyone enjoys the chicken recipes.

Until next time, happy cooking and Happy New Year!

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