10 wonderful chicken dinners

Contest-Winning Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup fat-free milk
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sherry or chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper



Mix cornstarch and milk until smooth. Pound chicken with a meat mallet to 1/4-in. thickness.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook chicken until no longer pink, 5-6 minutes per side. Remove from pan.
In same pan, heat butter over medium-high heat; saute mushrooms and onion until tender. Stir in sherry, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to pan. Return to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Return chicken to pan; heat through. Yield: 4 servings. 

Chicken Enchilada Bake

4-1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 can (28 ounces) green enchilada sauce
1-1/4 cups (10 ounces) sour cream
9 corn tortillas (6 inches), cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Preheat oven to 375°. In a greased 13x9-in. baking dish, layer half of each of the following: chicken, enchilada sauce, sour cream, tortillas and cheese. Repeat layers.
Bake, covered, 40 minutes. Uncover; bake until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Freeze option: Cover and freeze unbaked casserole. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake casserole as directed, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°. Yield: 10 servings. 

Hearty Chipotle Chicken Soup

1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cups frozen corn
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro


In a Dutch oven, saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, cumin and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Stir in chicken; heat through. Garnish with sour cream; sprinkle with cilantro. Yield: 8 servings (3-1/4 quarts). 

Saucy Garlic Chicken

4 whole garlic bulbs
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 package (9 ounces) fresh baby spinach
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper, divided
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups 2% milk
2-1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Hot cooked pasta
Chopped tomato and minced fresh parsley, optional

Remove papery outer skin from garlic (do not peel or separate cloves). Cut tops off of garlic bulbs; brush bulbs with 1 tablespoon oil. Wrap each bulb in heavy-duty foil. Bake at 425° for 30-35 minutes or until softened. Cool for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place spinach in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown chicken in remaining oil on both sides; place over spinach.
In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in 2 cups cheese, nutmeg and remaining salt and pepper.
Transfer to a blender; squeeze softened garlic into blender. Cover and process until smooth. Pour mixture over chicken.
Cover and bake at 425° for 30-35 minutes or until a thermometer reads 170° and sauce is bubbly. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer. Serve with pasta. Sprinkle with tomato and parsley if desired.
Freeze option: Substitute 5 ounces frozen chopped spinach that has been thawed and squeezed dry for fresh spinach. Cool unbaked casserole and sprinkle with remaining cheese; cover and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 425°. Bake casserole as directed, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in chicken to read 170°. Yield: 6 servings. 

Bacon & Rosemary Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 bacon strips, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice


Pound chicken breasts slightly with a meat mallet to uniform thickness; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken in flour to coat both sides; shake off excess.
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Discard drippings, reserving 2 tablespoons in pan. Cook chicken in butter and reserved drippings 4-6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 165°. Remove and keep warm.
Add garlic, rosemary and pepper flakes to skillet; cook and stir 1 minute. Add broth and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced by half. Return chicken and bacon to skillet; heat through. Yield: 4 servings. 

Chicken Florentine Meatballs

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 pound ground chicken
1 medium spaghetti squash
SAUCE:
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Crumble chicken over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls.
Place meatballs on a rack in a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until no longer pink. Meanwhile, cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place squash cut side down on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 15-18 minutes or until tender.
For sauce, in a large nonstick skillet, saute mushrooms in oil until tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add meatballs and heat through.
When squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to separate strands. Serve with meatballs and sauce.
Freeze option: Place individual portions of cooled meatballs and squash in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Microwave, covered, on high in a microwave-safe dish until heated through, gently stirring and adding a little water if necessary. Yield: 6 servings. 

Mexican Skillet Rice

1 large egg, beaten
1 pound chicken tenderloins, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked jasmine or long grain rice
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (11 ounces) Mexicorn, drained
1 jar (7 ounces) roasted sweet red peppers, drained and sliced
1 jar (8 ounces) taco sauce
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro


In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook and stir egg over medium-high heat until set. Remove and set aside.
In the same skillet, stir-fry chicken and onion in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the rice, beans, Mexicorn, peppers, taco sauce and green onions; heat through. Stir in reserved egg. Sprinkle rice with cilantro. Yield: 6 servings. 

Slow-Cooked Moroccan Chicken

4 medium carrots, sliced
2 large onions, halved and sliced
1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 to 4 pounds), cut up, skin removed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon pepper
Hot cooked couscous


Place carrots and onions in a greased 5-qt. slow cooker. Sprinkle chicken with salt; add to slow cooker. Top with apricots and raisins. In a small bowl, whisk broth, tomato paste, flour, lemon juice, garlic and seasonings until blended; add to slow cooker.
Cook, covered, on low 6-7 hours or until chicken is tender. Serve with couscous. Yield: 4 servings. 

Contest-Winning Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half cream
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
4 cups cooked wild rice
2 jars (4-1/2 ounces each) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 jar (4 ounces) diced pimientos, drained
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/3 cup slivered almonds


In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in broth; bring to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in the cream, chicken, rice, mushrooms, pimientos and parsley; heat through.
Transfer to a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly. Yield: 6-8 servings. 

Chicken Skewers with Sweet & Spicy Marmalade

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon pepper
SAUCE:
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot
3/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon thawed orange juice concentrate
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat broiler. Pound chicken breasts with a meat mallet to 1/4-in. thickness; cut lengthwise into 1-in.-wide strips. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine oil, soy sauce, garlic and pepper. Add chicken; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add jalapeno; cook and stir until tender. Add ginger; cook 1 minute longer. Reduce heat; stir in marmalade, lime juice, orange juice concentrate and salt.
Drain chicken, discarding marinade. Thread chicken strips, weaving back and forth, onto eight metal or soaked wooden skewers. Place in a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Broil 6 in. from heat 2-4 minutes on each side or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve with sauce. Yield: 8 servings (1 cup sauce)