Baked chicken is one of the simplest dishes you can prepare for your family, and no meat-eater can find anything to dislike about a juicy chicken breast with crispy skin. Letting the chicken sit for too long will cause to dry out. Have all the other elements of the meal ready when the chicken comes out of the oven so you can serve it right away.
Since baked chicken doesn’t have a very strong flavor, it can be paired with a number of sauces. For the simplest sauce, use a bottled creamy salad dressing. Make traditional brown gravy, or spoon pesto over the chicken to give it a garlicky herb flavor. If you’ve baked the chicken along with onions, they should be soft and infused with the chicken flavor. Cook them into a sauce of white wine and chicken broth. If you want to give the dish a more Asian taste, make a sweet and sour sauce using broth, orange marmalade, soy sauce and ginger.
A light green salad is the perfect addition to a meal of comfort foods, since it’s full of fiber and nutrients. Since you’re getting plenty of protein from the chicken, leave cheese, eggs and meat out of the salad and stick to vegetables. Mix up a variety of greens, such as spinach, radicchio and arugula. Add chopped peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and shredded carrots to make a salad that’s full of color. Finish the dish with a drizzle of light creamy salad dressing.
Chicken and potatoes go together like peanut butter and jelly, and potatoes can be turned into any number of side dishes. Mash them with roasted garlic and ranch-flavored seasoning mix for some extra flavor, or make baked potatoes topped with sour cream or creamy dressing and shredded cheese. An easy dish to make any time is potato salad. In warm months, make a light potato salad with fresh vegetables and Italian or creamy dressing and refrigerate it before serving. In winter, mix warm potatoes with vinegar, chopped eggs and celery. Serve it fresh from the stove.
An all-American dinner calls for an All-American dessert, so an apple pie is the ideal sweet to enjoy after a meal of baked chicken. Cover the pie with a streusel topping made of flour, butter and brown sugar to make the top of the pie crunchy. Heavy desserts will be unnecessary after eating a filling dinner, but a dish of ice cream makes a light ending to the meal. Top a single scoop of vanilla ice cream with sliced fresh fruit, such as peaches or strawberries.
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