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Playing Chicken Puts Money on the Table

Contributed by: NewsUSA

(NewsUSA) - American cooks might be known for apple pies and hamburgers, but when dinnertime rolls around, chicken's the protein on the plate.

Playing Chicken Puts Money on the Table
In 2007, the average American ate 87 pounds of chicken. Chicken consumption continues to rise. Why? Chicken provides a healthful, lean, affordable protein. It can boost salads and benefit burritos. In noodle soup, chicken soothes sick children. Roasted and stuffed, it impresses guests. Grocery stores stock rotisserie and fast food chains sell nuggets and wings, making chicken a convenient dinner for busy Americans.

With the many chicken products available -; dark meat, white meat, skinless breasts, thighs, ground chicken, chicken tenders -; American home cooks have learned to play with their poultry. From casseroles to soups and stir fries, chicken innovation has moved beyond Julia Child's coq a vin to embrace ethnic influences and new food trends.

The 48th National Chicken Cooking Contest allows cooks to showcase their creativity. Last year's $50,000 winner? "Thai-Inspired Stuffed Chicken Breast and Slaw."

Poultry and prizes are a winning combination. For the first time, the contest is providing cash prizes at the state, regional and national levels, according to contest director Nancy Tringali Piho.

"This allows more people to win more prizes throughout the competition," she says. A total of $74,100 will be awarded.

Contestants can submit entries through the Web at, through the mail at the National Chicken Cooking Contest, P.O. Box 27997, Washington, D.C. 20038 or by faxing (202) 293-4005.

After Aug. 31, 2008 -; the last day for entries -; regional winners will be chosen for each state and the District of Columbia. Each regional winner will receive $100 and a chance to compete in the regional contest.

Nine finalists will go on to compete in the National Cook-Off, where their stellar recipes will vie for the $10,000 judge's choice prize and the $50,000 grand prize.

Recipes must be original and may not be grilled. Considering past finalist's recipes like "Almond Yogurt Chicken Bombay" and "Apricot Tea Braised Chicken Thighs," playing chicken has never looked so appetizing.

Visit to view recipes and photos from previous cook-offs, or to buy the National Chicken Cooking Contest cookbook.

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