Chicken is a delicious and versatile main ingredient, but it can get boring after a while. Many people who are trying to lose weight or just eat healthier look towards chicken for their daily intake of protein. Since frying the chicken is not an option for an everyday meal, you would have to boil, grill, or roast the chicken for your diet. However, this means that the white meat needs some dressing up before it can become interesting.
Luckily, chicken does tend to absorb all kinds of sauces in order to create different eating experiences. What’s more, most of these can be made right at home and even stored for future use. We’ll discuss some of the most convenient yet delicious ones below:
1. Pan Sauce
You can avoid wasting food and make a quick batch of sauce for your chicken dish by using the leftovers in the pan. After you cook the chicken or any kind of meat, you can usually see some brownish bits on the bottom of the pan. Some liquid would also be there, along with the traces of whatever seasonings you’ve used. After you’ve grilled or seared your chicken, don’t drain off the excess juices, but use them to your advantage.
Make a pan sauce by sautéing onions, garlic, and any other vegetables you like in the pan with the brown leftovers. Once these are tenderized, deglaze the pot or pan with broth. This would allow you to collect any bits that are stuck on the bottom. Their flavor would hence mix into your sauce, providing a delicious addition.
You may now add more broth and even some cream in order to make your sauce. If required, you can even thicken it with a mixture of corn flour and water. Season to taste using salt, pepper, and any herbs you want. Simmer the whole thing to make all the flavors blend together. Once the taste is according to your preference, remove the pot from the stove and add a little butter if you didn’t add cream before. This would serve to give a smooth effect to the sauce.
You can now pour this sauce over grilled chicken, chicken steaks, baked chicken, or any other kind of dish you want. If you want to fully immerse the chicken in these flavors, transfer the chicken back into the pot and simmer before serving.
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2. Cool and Creamy White Sauce
If you’re on the lookout for a cool, tangy white sauce to go with your chicken, this is probably one of the best recipes to try. The best part about this sauce is that you can use it with either cold or hot chicken dishes. It can even serve as a dip for fried chicken when you want something other than ketchup. What’s more, it can be made in a few minutes without any excessive hassle.
To make one-third of a cup, you would need a quarter cup canola mayonnaise, two teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice, half a teaspoon of ground black pepper, a quarter teaspoon of salt, and one minced garlic clove. All you have to do now is combine all of these ingredients while stirring hard.
This sauce is not as quick and easy to make but also very versatile. You can mix in shredded boiled chicken and make delicious sandwiches or use it in a healthy salad. As long as the ingredients are natural, this sauce should spoil anyone’s diet. Using this sauce as a dip would also make children want to try your chicken recipes since this isn’t spicy or tangy.
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3. Cheese and Mustard Sauce
A simple cheese sauce may not be everyone’s cup of tea since it might be bland and heavy. Adding a little mustard in a cheese sauce would give it a little kick. You may even find that the result is as good as any chicken dish you can have at a restaurant.
According to this recipe, you should cook the chicken in the sauce for a bit. This would make the meat fully absorb the flavor from the mustard seeds. The cheese would also seep inside, making for a juicy, succulent result.
You can make this cheese and mustard sauce without much effort. First, melt 25 grams of butter in a pan, then stir in an equal amount of flour. If you mean to make more sauce, remember that the butter and flour ratios would remain the same. Cook this mixture for some minutes until it turns brown. This is known as a roux, used for producing thick, creamy sauces.
For more information on sauces and how to make them easily at home, read our article on Best Sauces You Can Make in a Minute.
Next, remove the pan from the stove and add around 600 ml of milk. Put the pan back on the stove and bring this mixture to a boil while stirring it. Once it boils, reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir it all the way through until you have a smooth, lump-free, thick sauce. Add 100 grams of grated cheddar cheese. The more mature and sharp the cheese is, the better your sauce would taste. For the mustard flavor, add a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard. Finally, add salt and ground black pepper to taste.
If you’re making this sauce to use ahead, be sure to prepare it separately. Store it in an airtight container for around three days in the refrigerator. You can take it out and cook the chicken inside it when the time comes.
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4. Spicy Orange Sauce
This orange sauce would be sure to add a unique twist to the most boring chicken dishes. The citrus taste would add a little adventure to the experience while still keeping the meal light. However, it might require some ingredients that not everyone may have on hand.
For this sauce, you’d need around 1 tablespoon of oil or cooking spray. Heat this up using a skillet, with the stove on medium heat. Add one tablespoon of freshly grated ginger and sauté it for one minute. Then, add two-thirds of a cup of chicken broth, preferably with low sodium. While stirring constantly, add in 3 tablespoons of orange marmalade and 1.5 tablespoons of soy sauce. Boil this all up and cook until you have a slightly thick sauce.
Take the pot off the stove after this stage. Now is the time to add 1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice and a three-fourths teaspoon of hot chili paste. If you don’t have this last ingredient, any chili powder or hot sauce would be an acceptable substitute. You can then use this sauce in a marinade or pour it over your cooked chicken to benefit from the spicy and sweet flavors.
The fresh ginger and orange flavor would make any chicken taste like a sweet and spicy Asian dish. You’ll get three-quarter of a cup from this recipe, though the serving size is three tablespoons.
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5. Olive Butter Sauce
Olive and butter are a delicious and light combination that also adds an elegant touch to your chicken. This sauce is more of a solid form that you can slice up and place on your chicken whenever required. As a plus point, you can also make as much of it as you want and store it in the fridge until needed. It would go well with your baked, roasted, or grilled chicken but would also be tasty with beef or mutton.
You first take 600 grams of softened butter and add six green olives, finely chopped. Add in around one tablespoon of chopped fresh or dried tarragon. Transfer this mixture on a sheet of greaseproof paper and roll it up into a sausage shape. This would make a two-inch sausage, though you can add more ingredients to increase the final size.
After chilling this butter sausage, you can add slices to your dishes whenever you like. This would last in your fridge for around a week. Freezing would increase the time, but you may want to slice it all up before that. The butter sauce is also good for a marinade for chicken if you want all these flavors to be immersed in your dish.
6. Pesto Sauce
Pesto Sauce, or Pesto Alla Genovese, was originally developed in Genoa, Italy. It was traditionally made of crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves, and cheese, all blended with olive oil in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. First, garlic and pine nuts are added in the mortar along with coarse salt, and crushed to cream, then the washed and dried basil leaves are added and ground to a creamy consistency. Afterward, hard cheese like pecorino is introduced in the mixture, and then, to mix the cheese, olive oil is added.
Pesto has had its fair share of traditional and modern variants. Different but still traditional versions like “pistou” also exist, made with olive oil, basil, and garlic only. While some people add cheese to it, nuts are not included in it. Pesto Rosso, also known as red pesto, is a pesto variant from Sicily, which is like the original Pesto Alla Genevese, but there are no pine nuts but tomatoes and almonds added as an alternative.
Pesto sauce is one of the best ways to spice up white meat, which people think has gotten boring over the years. Smother chicken fillets in the pesto on all sides. You can either grill or bake your chicken after smothering it in pesto sauce in the oven till it’s cooked thoroughly and perfectly tender on the inside and goldish brown on the outside. This then added with grilled tomatoes can be plated as is, and your dish is ready! With a cup of pesto sauce and about 1 kg of boneless chicken breast fillet and tomatoes as a side, you might just find the best new way of how you like your chicken.
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Sauces can come in many shapes and forms, such as grainy mustard sauces, etc. As you can see above, there are pan sauces as well as sauces that you can make separately and store for some time. Different cooking schedules and preferences mean that the best sauce is whatever fits your requirements. If you need a super-quick sauce and want to limit wastage, using the browned fat from the cooked chicken would give you a delicious result.
If you have the time, you might want to whip up a batch of your favorite sauce to save for the future. This would be sure to add a quick and interesting aspect to your everyday chicken dishes without making them unhealthy. Instead of frying the chicken, you can add these sauces to make a different dish several times a week.