7 Lean and Luscious Meals Replacing Fatty Meats With Chicken

Looking to serve up some hearty dinner dishes without all the fat? Sometimes the answer to a healthier lunch or dinnertime menu is as simple as substituting in a lean meat — such as chicken — for fattier, more calorie-rich options like pork or beef. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that a 4-ounce serving of ground chicken, for instance, contains just 160 calories and 9.1 grams of fat, while a 4-ounce serving of ground beef (70 percent lean meat, 30 percent fat) contains 375 calories and 33.9 grams of fat.

For a leaner change of pace, try serving any of these seven chicken-based choices for your next meal.

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1. Italian Chicken Goulash

Goulash, the traditional meat stew dish originating from Hungary, is a fast and easy fix for lunch or dinner — you’ll probably have most of the required ingredients for this dish in your pantry or fridge already! Try making a leaner Italian variation of the dish by replacing the typical beef option with chicken, incorporating Italian seasoning for an added taste of the Mediterranean. Hungry Healthy Girl calls this dish “the comfort food of all comfort foods.”

Visit Hungry Healthy Girl for the recipe.

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2. Moo Shu Chicken

Epicurious reports that this traditional Chinese dish consists of eggs, mushrooms, and flavorful sauces, and is most frequently cooked with pork. For a lighter spin on Moo Shu, Weelicious invites cooks to try whipping up the dish using shredded chicken. The recipe yields 4 to 6 servings, with each serving containing just 210 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 24 grams of protein. The dish is simple and delectable — a combination that Weelicious calls “perfect for the home cook”!

Visit Weelicious for the recipe.

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3. Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf

As the name would suggest, meatloaf can be made with all kinds of meat products, but is most recognizably made with ground beef. Mother Thyme takes meatloaf in a new direction with a buffalo chicken variation, which gives the dish a leaner — and zestier — flavor. “This is one tasty meatloaf,” she says, adding: “There is so much flavor in each bite. Ground chicken mixed with hot sauce, crumbled gorgonzola cheese and a blend of dried spices makes this an easy dish to make any day of the week. Trust me, once you try this you’ll want it on your dinner menu again and again.” It’s the perfect combination of simple and sensational.

Visit Mother Thyme for the recipe.

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4. Chicken Stroganoff

“Sometimes the simplest meals can be the best,” writes Crockpot Gourmet, whose recipe transforms classic beef stroganoff into lighter — but still hearty — fare using a quick chicken substitution. To make this understated, elegant dinnertime dish, toss in some chicken with mushrooms and seasonings, cook it up in your crockpot with broth, and savor the tastes of tender chicken on a bed of noodles. To give it an extra-indulgent boost, add some cream cheese or sour cream to the mix.

Visit Crockpot Gourmet for the recipe.

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5. Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

People are crazy for their pulled pork, but have you ever tried pulled chicken? It’s delicious in all the same ways its more traditional counterpart is, with the added benefits of being leaner and lower in calories. On top of that, these Pulled Chicken Sandwiches are a welcome change of pace for barbecue lovers. The Brook Cook’s recipe incorporates the use of a slow cooker, making it a great dish for those busy weeknights — and for parties, too! The Brook Cook says the dish is “Perfect for guests because it can be made ahead of time and reheated in the slow-cooker prior to serving.”

Visit The Brook Cook for the recipe.

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6. Chicken Ragu

Inspired Taste calls this chicken ragu “hearty and flavorful” — high praise for a dish that can be cooked in under 30 minutes! The recipe calls for a small amount of red wine to be added. If you’d prefer not to use alcohol, it’s recommended that you substitute in some chicken stock to keep that texture just right. Celery, onions, and carrots add some more depth to the thick, stew-like sauce. Serve it all up over a heaping plate of your favorite pasta, and enjoy!

Visit Inspired Taste for the recipe.

Source: iStock

7. Chicken-Avocado Burgers

“These were heaven!” exclaims Laughing Spatula — a ringing endorsement (and one we’re inclined to believe). With this recipe in hand, you’re just five simple ingredients away from a wonderful, lightly breaded chicken-and-avocado dinner experience. Throw your lean patties on the grill and prepare them any number of ways: bunless, on crusty, with salsa, on a bed of beans, or topped with mayo! If you don’t have a grill at home, the dish can be just as easily be made stovetop on a pan.

Visit Laughing Spatula for the recipe.

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