Photo: Christopher Testani

Chicken Breasts 50 Ways

Boneless chicken breasts continue to balloon in size, from what was a standard 5 to 6 ounces each to nearly 8 ounces. While the meat is lean, that extra weight adds up: A 6-ounce breast has 182 calories and 4 grams of fat; an 8-ounce breast has 243 calories and 5 grams of fat. Trim off extra meat in ½-inch-thick strips, leaving the breast slightly bigger than your palm. Use trimmings in stir-fries, or bake into crispy breaded tenders. Individually portioned breasts tend to be smaller—Perdue Perfect Portions breasts weigh in at about 5 ounces each. Here, find 50 ways to take chicken breasts to the next level.

Recipe Pictured: Charred Lemon Chicken Piccata

Photo: John Autry

Marinating: Tandoori-Spiced Chicken

You shouldn’t let chicken breasts marinate for hours. Chicken breasts are naturally tender, so marinating simply adds flavor. You don’t need the brine of marinade to break down the protein. It’s best to choose bold ingredients and avoid soaking the delicate meat in acidic liquids for too long—it may become stringy and tough.

Variations: If you like chile paste, try . If you like hot sauce, try . Instead of a salt-laden store-bought buffalo sauce, we make our own. It’s just as flavorful but much better for your nutritional bottom line. If you like herbs, try This recipe is a great way to use up any leftover herbs you have, too.

View Recipe: Tandoori-Spiced Chicken

Photo: John Autry

Marinating: Chicken Fajitas

A marinade of dark Mexican beer (like Negra Modelo), soy sauce, and fresh lime juice gives these Chicken Fajitas a fresh kick of flavor. Dark Mexican beer is especially great in this marinade because it turns sweet and molasses-y when cooked. Chicken doesn’t need a long marinade to soak up the flavors, so let the strips of chicken sit for an hour while you prepare the rest of your meal.

These healthy chicken fajitas can be prepared on the stovetop with a grill pan as directed, or outside over a charcoal or gas grill. If you’ve got the grill going, throw on some vegetables and a few ears of corn to complete your meal. Serve with flour tortillas, sautéed peppers and onions, and sliced jalapeño peppers.

View Recipe: Chicken Fajitas

Photo: John Autry

Marinating: Hawaiian Chicken

Store-bought marinades are certainly convenient, but they’re often loaded with sodium. Some have more than 900 milligrams of sodium in just two tablespoons. Smart cooks know that homemade marinades are the way to go. They’re easy to whisk up and often require ingredients you already have on hand.

The pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, and ginger mixture for these marinated chicken breasts acts double duty as both a marinade and baste for the chicken. If you want extra flavor, don’t toss the marinade once you’re ready to cook the chicken. Instead, use it as a basting liquid as the chicken cooks. Any bacteria from the chicken in the marinade will be destroyed over the heat.

View Recipe: Hawaiian Chicken

Photo: John Autry

Pounding: Sautéed Chicken with Sage Browned Butter

For the time-crunched cook, pounding or slicing thick chicken breasts into thin cutlets is a smart way to reduce portion sizes and speed up cook time. Chicken cutlets cook in a flash and remain supremely tender and juicy. After cooking the chicken, use the tasty browned bits left behind in the pan as the base for a speedy sauce. For this recipe, butter, sage, shallots, and thyme make a luxurious pan sauce in under 5 minutes.

View Recipe: Sautéed Chicken with Sage Browned Butter

Photo: John Autry

Pounding: Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Once chicken breasts are finished cooking, don’t wash the pan. The browned bits on the bottom of your skillet are flavor gold. For this dish, a simple pan sauce of pre-sliced mushrooms, dry white wine, shallots, and fresh thyme enlivens basic sautéed chicken breasts. This is comfort food eating at its richest. Mushrooms act like a sponge and soak up all the delicious flavors. Fresh thyme adds woodsy notes to the sauce. Rosemary or oregano would be a good substitute if you have either of those on hand. Serve the chicken breasts atop mashed potatoes and spoon the pan sauce over the chicken and spuds to complete the meal.

View Recipe: Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Photo: John Autry

Stuffing: Pimiento Cheese Chicken

Instead of putting tangy pimento cheese spread between two pieces of bread, mix things up and stuff chicken breasts with it. The impressive-looking results of stuffed chicken breasts belie the ease of preparation. You can stuff them up to a day ahead, keep refrigerated, and then simply cook and serve.

Variations: Blue cheese is a classic stuffed chicken breast choice. When it’s warmed, blue cheese turns fudgy and rich. Try it in Spinach and Blue Cheese Chicken. Goat cheese is a milder alternative to the pungent blue. It’s especially tasty in Bacon and Goat Cheese Chicken. If you like feta cheese, try . We’ve partnered this salty, crumbly cheese with briny olives, fresh tomatoes, and extra-virgin olive oil.

View Recipe: Pimiento Cheese Chicken

Photo: John Autry

Stuffing: Couscous-Stuffed Chicken

When it’s cooked, couscous is fluffy but still chewy and firm. It’s great for a simple side, an easy salad, or even stuffed in vegetables. In this Mediterranean-inspired chicken dish, create a mixture of couscous, feta cheese, kalamata olives, fresh herbs, and minced garlic. This combination would be delicious on its own, but go one more step and stuff it into chicken breasts for an easy 45-minute entrée fit for a special occasion. If you have leftover quinoa, bulgur, or farro, you can use them instead of the couscous. As a bonus, they’re whole grain where couscous isn’t. Serve with fresh sautéed green beans, pan-roasted broccolini, or blanched asparagus spears.

View Recipe: Couscous-Stuffed Chicken

Photo: John Autry

Pan Frying: Coconut Chicken Fingers

Pan-frying is an easy way to get crispy crusts on chicken breasts and tenders without unhealthy frying. You can use almost any combination of ingredients for pan-fried chicken. Keep this simple strategy in mind: Dip chicken in buttermilk to add a tangy flavor, and coat it with flour and nuts or other tasty breading ingredients. Then pan-fry it in a sensible amount of heart-healthy oil to create a crisp exterior.

Kids love the sweetness that the coconut adds to the coating of these Coconut Chicken Fingers. And, if your kids are allergic to wheat flour, note that this recipe uses rice flour instead.

Variations: If you like the woodsy flavor of pecans, try breading chicken tenders in ground pecans for this Pecan Chicken. If you have a bit of extra oatmeal but not enough for a bowl at breakfast, grind the oats and use them for Oatmeal-Crusted Chicken.

View Recipe: Coconut Chicken Fingers

Pan Frying: Crispy Buttermilk Chicken

View Recipe: Crispy Buttermilk Chicken

Grinding: Chicken Larb

View Recipe: Chicken Larb

Grinding: Greek-Style Chicken

View Recipe: Greek-Style Chicken

Grinding: Chicken Burgers

View Recipe: Chicken Burgers

Comfort Food: Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner

View Recipe: Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner

Comfort Food: Buffalo Chicken Panini

View Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Panini

Comfort Food: Chicken Chili Mac and Cheese

View Recipe: Chicken Chili Mac and Cheese

Comfort Food: Easy Chicken and Dumplings

View Recipe: Easy Chicken and Dumplings

Comfort Food: Chicken Mushroom Potpie

View Recipe: Chicken Mushroom Potpie

Asian: Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

View Recipe: Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Asian: Almond Butter Chicken Satay

View Recipe: Almond Butter Chicken Satay

Asian: Grilled Chicken and Soba Noodles with Miso Vinaigrette

View Recipe: Grilled Chicken and Soba Noodles with Miso Vinaigrette

Asian: Chicken and Rice Noodle Stir-Fry with Ginger and Basil

View Recipe: Chicken and Rice Noodle Stir-Fry with Ginger and Basil

Asian: Lemon Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl

View Recipe: Lemon Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl

Italian: Roasted Garlic Chicken Alfredo

View Recipe: Roasted Garlic Chicken Alfredo

Italian: Chicken with Artichoke Pan Sauce

View Recipe: Chicken with Artichoke Pan Sauce

Italian: Charred Lemon Chicken Piccata

View Recipe: Charred Lemon Chicken Piccata

Grilled Rosemary Chicken With Farro Risotto

View Recipe: Grilled Rosemary Chicken with Farro Risotto

Italian: Sausage and Provolone Stuffed Chicken

View Recipe: Sausage and Provolone Stuffed Chicken

Mexican: Shredded Chicken Tacos with Mango Salsa

View Recipe: Shredded Chicken Tacos with Mango Salsa

Mexican: Cumin-Rubbed Chicken with Guacamole Sauce

View Recipe: Cumin-Rubbed Chicken with Guacamole Sauce

Mexican: Chicken with Chorizo and Tomato Salsa

View Recipe: Chicken with Chorizo and Tomato Salsa

Mexican: Poblano, Chicken, and Mushroom Quesadillas

View Recipe: Poblano, Chicken, and Mushroom Quesadillas

Mexican: Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Tostadas with Jicama Slaw

View Recipe: Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Tostadas with Jicama Slaw

Middle Eastern: Lemony Chicken Kebabs with Tomato-Parsley Salad

View Recipe: Lemony Chicken Kebabs with Tomato-Parsley Salad

Middle Eastern: Chicken with Preserved Lemon

View Recipe: Chicken with Preserved Lemon

Middle Eastern: Grilled Chicken Pitas with Sesame Drizzle

View Recipe: Grilled Chicken Pitas with Sesame Drizzle

Middle Eastern: Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

View Recipe: Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Middle Eastern: Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Chicken with Sweet Onions

View Recipe: Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Chicken with Sweet Onions

This content was originally published here.