11 Times a Chicken Breast Will Save the Day

Look to Food Network's favorite recipes featuring the humble chicken breast to come to your rescue for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The food you love to hate, chicken breasts often get a bad rap: On their own and without any seasoning, they can be bland, and if they’re boneless and skinless, then they turn from moist to dry in a matter of moments when cooking. But if cooked properly (as in, not scorched beyond oblivion) and flavored, even with just salt and pepper, the go-to chicken breast can save many a day in the kitchen.

This culinary workhorse is a blank canvas that you can dress up with nearly any ingredients (think Italian, Asian, French and Mexican profiles, among others) for breakfast, lunch and dinner; plus, it’s an inexpensive cut of meat that the whole family will enjoy. You can count on that. Below, in no particular order, are 11 times you’ll realize the humble chicken breast is your best friend in the refrigerator.

When You Run Out of Tomatoes on Pasta Night

Who says pasta must be served with red sauce? Rachael’s 30-minute Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss is just that — penne noodles quickly and simply tossed with classic chicken piccata fixings, like buttery chicken tenders and a bold lemon-caper sauce.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

When You’ve Lost the Delivery Spot’s Phone Number

By forgoing a restaurant and making your favorite usual takeout picks at home, you’ll be not only saving money but also making a healthier dish. Win-win. This Sweet and Sour Chicken from Food Network Magazine is packed with fresh vegetables, is made with a mix of soy and chili-garlic sauces, and can be on the table in just 30 minutes.

When You’re Faced with Leftover Chicken

Repurpose those lonely leftover chicken breasts in an all-new recipe, like Jeff Mauro’s Chicken Salad. After tossing the chicken in a mustard-mayonnaise mixture, he serves the salad atop cool lettuce cups.

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

When You Need a Fancy Dinner, Like, Right Now

“There’s no reason weeknight dinners can’t be elegant as well as easy, and this recipe is proof of that,” the chefs in our Food Network Kitchen say of their Ham and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts. This dinner will do the trick when you need to impress your in-laws or unexpected houseguests; they’ll never guess the chicken is rolled around deli meat and cheese. You’re welcome.

FN_FN Kitchens Homemade Frozen Chicken Fingers.tif

FN_FN Kitchens Homemade Frozen Chicken Fingers.tif

FN_FN Kitchens Homemade Frozen Chicken Fingers.tif

©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

When You Want Fresh and Frozen

There’s no need to sacrifice nutrition for the sake of simplicity, especially in regard to your kids’ favorite frozen chicken tenders. Our Food Network Kitchen’s easy and healthy Homemade Frozen Chicken Fingers can be prepped today and then frozen for up to a month. Just bake them and serve with a tangy dipping sauce on nights when you need a fuss-free dinner.

When You Need a Culinary Hug

Think of Trisha Yearwood’s Chicken Tortilla Casserole as the ultimate in comfort food. It’s layers upon layers of Trisha’s buttery Chicken Gravy with green chiles and sour cream, plus corn tortillas, shredded chicken and gooey cheddar cheese.

When You Need More Than Cereal

Leave it to a breakfast of Jeff’s Crispy Chicken and Scallion Waffle Sandwich to hold you over well until lunchtime. He fries thick-coated chicken until it’s crispy, then sandwiches it between savory waffles with a smear of hot sauce-spiked maple butter and sliced tomatillos.

When Only Easy Will Do

Just because Melissa’s Simply Grilled Chicken Breasts are indeed simple doesn’t mean they’re at all boring. She brushes the meat with garlic oil before grilling it, then serves the juicy chicken with sweet and savory dipping sauce made from roasted tomatoes and onions to make sure the meal is packed with flavor.

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RachaelRay_BuffaloChickenSalad_H

Chef Name: Rachael Ray Full Recipe Name: Buffalo Chicken Salad Talent Recipe: Rachael Ray’s Buffalo Chicken Salad, as seen on Food Network’s 30 Minute Meals FNK Recipe: Project: Foodnetwork.com, CINCO/SUMMER/FATHERSDAY Show Name: 30 Minute Meals

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

When an Everyday Salad Won’t Cut It

Think beyond the everyday greens-and-dressing getup, and look to Rachael Ray’s Buffalo Chicken Salad to change your mind about having just another salad for lunch. This one, featuring hot sauce-slathered chicken and crumbled blue cheese, is far from ordinary.

When Winter Just Won’t Let Up

Sometimes, no matter how many sweaters you’re wearing, you need to be warmed up from the inside out, and our Food Network Kitchen’s Hearty Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup, laced with fresh lemon juice and served with nutty Parmesan cheese, will fill the bill every time.

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ReeDrummond_RanchChickenSandwiches_H

Chef Name: Ree Drummond Full Recipe Name: Ranch Chicken Sandwiches Talent Recipe: Ree Drummond’s Ranch Chicken Sandwiches, as seen on The Pioneer Woman FNK Recipe: Project: Foodnetwork.com, HOLIDAY/SUPER BOWL/COMFORT/HEALTHY Show Name: The Pioneer Woman Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

When You’ve Smushed Together Your Last PB&J

Weekday lunches don’t have to be predictable, thanks to Ree Drummond’s Ranch Chicken Sandwiches. She piles honey-mustard-marinated chicken high atop a bun with a double blanket of fried bacon and melty sharp cheddar cheese.

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