Cuisines from around the world boast chicken and paprika dishes. Perhaps one of the most familiar is chicken paprikash, a traditional Hungarian stewed chicken dish, rich with herbs and sour cream. Hungary is known for its varied and distinctive types of paprika made from the various types of red paprika peppers that are grown in the region. Paprika is a cross-cultural favorite seasoning for chicken, whether it is served with noodles, rice, dumplings, potatoes or pasta. Use mild paprika to please your children's simple palates, and include some familiar vegetables if you try an exotic main dish.
The traditional noodle served with Hungarian chicken paprikash is spaetzle. Technically, spaetzle isn't a noodle, because it's made from a thick flour batter instead of a dough. To cook the simple batter, pour it into a sieve or colander, hold it above a pot of boiling broth and use a spoon or rubber spatula to press the batter through the holes so it drips into the hot liquid. The result is tiny dumpling-like noodles that cook in only two or three minutes. Easy alternatives to spaetzle that cook up fast in boiling water are packaged gnocchi, or potato dumplings, quick-cook brown rice, and whole grain pasta.
A plain green vegetable such as peas, broccoli or Brussels sprouts is a good side dish with a full-flavored chicken paprika dish. Tomatoes, peppers and onions are part of the basic recipe combination for many paprika chicken dishes. Don't be afraid to add mushrooms, baby carrots or your family's other favorite vegetables to the stewing chicken. Stir in a packet of dry dressing and seasoning mix to instantly add extra spices to the cooking liquid, or lightly sprinkle the powder over plain, cooked vegetables to give them zip.
Balance a heavy chicken paprika dish made with sour cream and rich ingredients with a light salad. A bowl of simple lettuce greens with ready-to-serve bottled creamy dressing hits the mark.
For a quick-fix light version of a chicken paprika meal, liberally sprinkle chicken with your choice of sweet, hot or smoky paprika and roast or grill it. Prepare your choice of carb, and stir some dry creamy salad dressing and dip mix into low-fat plain yogurt to make an herbed topping substitute for sour cream. Serve with a vegetable, salad and low-fat sherbet or fresh fruit for dessert.
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