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The other afternoon, I was glancing over the various packages in the poultry section in a local grocery store.

Another shopper standing near me seemed to be pondering her selection as hard as I was. I struck up a conversation about how difficult it is to make mealtime enticing because we all tend to prepare the same old recipes instead of varying our menus from time to time.

As we were talking, several other shoppers got involved in the conversation and expressed their wishes for some different ways to cook and serve entrees – especially chicken.

We shared suggestions with one another. It was a healthy exchange about adding a little flair to dinner.

After I got home and put away my groceries, I dug through my recipe files and found the following meal ideas which are really easy to prepare and quite nutritious.

I am sharing them with you as they are perfect entrees for any spring/summer get-together.

Sweet and sour chicken breasts

6 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

8 ounce can crushed pineapple, not drained

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup margarine or butter

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons vinegar

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 eight-ounce package Pepperidge Farm Corn Bread Stuffing

Place the chicken breasts on a lightly-oiled grill rack directly over medium-hot coals. Grill for 10 minutes, turn and grill for 10 more minutes. Set the chicken aside to allow it to cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan mix pineapple, water, margarine, brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and garlic powder.

Over medium heat, heat this mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the stuffing and toss it lightly until it is moistened.

Slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise (not quite all the way so that the halves don’t completely separate) and spoon the stuffing between the chicken halves.

Place the stuffed chicken in a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Cover.

Bake it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes (be sure the chicken is no longer pink).

If desired, garnish with assorted peppers and fresh sage.

You may bake the chicken on top of the stuffing. If you choose that method, merely bake the breasts, covered, at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Uncover, and bake for 10 more minutes. This recipe makes six generous servings.

Honey-spiced chicken with zesty mango

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

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1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced

1 medium yellow onion, peeled, cut in eight sections

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spread two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a 9x13-inch-baking pan. In a medium bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice and lemon peel. Whisk this combination until it is well blended. Remove one half cup of the mixture and put it in a food processor or blender container. Set it aside. Add the mango to the honey-lemon mixture remaining in the medium bowl. Toss the mango until it is well coated. Store this mixture in the refrigerator.

To the honey-lemon mixture in the food processor or blender container, add onion sections, jalapenos, paprika, vegetable oil, garlic salt, cinnamon, pepper and allspice. Process this mixture until it is very finely chopped, scraping down the sides when necessary. Spread this mixture evenly over both sides of the chicken pieces. Arrange the coated pieces in the prepared baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Place the chicken on a serving platter and top each piece with a portion of the reserved mango. This recipe makes eight servings.

Contact the writer at tgmhatchell@yahoo.com.

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