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What Chicken Dinners Looked Like Through the Years

From creamy casseroles to crispy chicken tenders, step back in time with chicken dinners from decades past.

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1900s: Chicken Stew

In the early 1900s, many households didn’t own a refrigerator. When they had fresh chicken and vegetables on hand, home cooks used it all up with big pots of stew.
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1910s: Chicken Salad

In the early 1910s, fancy cocktail parties and luncheons inspired new finger foods like chicken salad wrapped in lettuce.
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1920s: Chicken a La King

Without alcohol during Prohibition, Americans turned to more indulgent dishes like Chicken a La King. That savory, creamy taste almost made up for the fact that there was no wine on the table.
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1930s: Chicken Noodle Soup

The Great Depression brought the rise of low-cost dinners like chicken noodle soup. The ingredients were cheap, and it was quick to prepare, saving precious gas.

Find more thrifty Depression-era recipes.

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1940s: Chicken & Egg Noodle Casserole

Chicken was not a popular dish in the 1940s because it became pricier than beef during World War II. Home chefs needed to make it last with soups and casseroles.
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1950s: Chicken Florentine Casserole

In the 1950s, we craved hearty comfort food like chicken casseroles. Of course, creamy canned soups were incredibly popular, making casseroles easier than ever.
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1960s: White Wine Garlic Chicken

By the 1960s, casseroles were so last-decade. Americans craved new and exotic meals; before long, French cuisine became the latest trend.
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1970s: Tex-Mex Chicken Strips

In the mid-’70s, chicken tenders were invented by a restaurateur, and it didn’t take long for this finger food to make it to the freezer. With a fresh Southwest influence coming to dinner tables, Tex-Mex chicken strips would have been a hit.
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1980s: Hot Chicken Casserole

The 1980s saw a rise in quick convenience foods; just slap a little Miracle Whip on your chicken and you’ve got a meal in minutes!
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1990s: Asian Chicken Salad

The Asian chicken salad started picking up steam in the 1980s and was a restaurant staple by the 1990s.
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2000s: Chicken Thighs

Forget creamy potato chip-topped chicken casseroles. The 2000s were all about high-fat, low-carb diets thanks to a national Atkins obsession.

Find even more recipes using chicken thighs.

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2010s: Chicken Avocado Burgers

Chicken, meet avocado toast. The 2010s brought us Instagram-worthy meals and superfood everything. This combination of a lean protein with a healthy fat—what’s not to love?

Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.

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