healthy ways to cook chicken

We all know chicken can be good for us. It’s low in fat, high in protein and contains several important vitamins and minerals.  Here are healthy ways to cook chicken to help make something new from an old favorite.

Sauce it Up

Healthy doesn’t have to be boring.  There are plenty of wonderful flavors you can introduce with a great sauce without adding fat and calories.  Cherry tomatoes, honey or Dijon mustard, mushrooms, lemons and a variety of spices like basil or garlic, all add up to jazzed up chicken.

Spice it Up

Make a rub.  Make it sweet with brown sugar, or spicy with cayenne pepper.  Experiment with spices you like.  Use basil, cilantro, cinnamon, onion, sage or rosemary.  Start with a little and add more as needed.

Soak it In

Marinades infuse flavor and moistness into your chicken.  There are some commercial marinades you can use such as Cajun Injector which comes in several different flavors with a syringe and needle to inject all that flavor right into the meat. Marinades can be simple, such as Italian dressing right out of the bottle, or more complex and use ingredients that seemingly don’t mix like lemon and rosemary.

Toss it Up

Another choice is chicken salad.  There are many variations on this classic salad.  Try adding avocado and Greek yogurt for an extra healthy kick or apples and walnuts for a sweet twist or how about strawberries, bacon and pecans?

Between a Rye and a Pumpernickel

The sandwich is a staple, especially for lunch.  A boneless, skinless chicken breast is a refreshing change from bologna.  How about a crispy chicken sandwich that isn’t fried?

Here is a homemade Shake ‘n Bake from Cheri at Kitchen Simplicity. It looks great and tastes even better!  http://kitchensimplicity.com/homemade-shaken-bake/

Shake up your sandwich with unexpected dressings.  Ditch the added fat and calories in mayo and use pesto combined with Greek yogurt or mix up a honey lime spread for a grilled chicken sandwich.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/grilled-honey-lime-chicken-sandwiches-recipe.html

Get even more variety with some different breads.  Try several to see which works best with each type of sandwich.  Switching out the bread makes a surprising difference.

Pass me a Piece of that Pizza

Pizza is my favorite food, but all that pepperoni and cheese…yeah.  Replace the pepperoni with some low fat chicken.  It’s almost a health food now!  Mix chicken chunks with barbeque sauce for Barbeque Chicken Pizza, or ditch the tomato sauce and go white with spinach, basil and garlic.

Some like it Hot

Use your crock pot for an easy-does-it dinner of soup.  Whether it’s Mexican Tortilla Soup with taco seasoning and diced onions and peppers or classic Chicken Noodle Soup, soups and stews are the perfect meals for cold winter nights, or any time you are pressed for time because soup can practically make itself whether you are at work or just working around the house.

No matter how you slice it, dice it, stew it or grill it, chicken is a healthy choice, and with a little effort you can easily take it from boring to brilliant.  Bon appétit!

Photo Credit:  Thinkstock

What are some of your favorite healthy ways to cook chicken?