Modern-day mothers lament that their children will learn to think of chicken the way they themselves thought of ground beef. Accessible, amorphous and easy to prepare, hamburger was the staple of the baby-boom diet. From meat loaf to old-fashioned hamburgers, ground beef appeared regularly on the dinner table.

Now that hamburger prices hover around $1.50 per pound (and more), cooks reach more often for chicken as an entre'e. Statistics each year show chicken sales up and red meat sales down as people who are worried about expense and health depend more on poultry as a protein source.

Three ounces of chicken, without the skin, has about 115 calories (with fat, it's about 145), as compared with approximately 200 calories in 3 ounces of ground beef. The fat that comes with chicken -- located under and easily removed with the skin -- is largely unsaturated fat. As a result, new chicken recipes are sought by fat-restricted and weight-loss dieters alike.

It is assumed that every kitchen is equipped with flour, sugar, salt, pepper and oil or butter of some kind.

EXPRESS LANE LIST: garlic, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, chicken, zucchini, tomato, basil and thyme.

PARMESAN CHICKEN (8 servings) 1/2 cup olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 2 cups bread crumbs 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 8 chicken breast halves or comparable number of other parts

Heat olive oil in small skillet. Add garlic and remove skillet from heat. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper. Brush chicken with olive oil from skillet, then dip into crumb mixture. Place on a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for about an hour.

HERBED ZUCCHINI (8 servings) 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 cloves garlic, crushed 5 or 6 medium-sized, firm zucchini, cut into sticks (like carrot sticks) 2 medium tomatoes (canned is fine, but drain them), chopped 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon dried thyme Salt to taste 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute' about 3 minutes. Add zucchini and cook until barely tender. Add tomato and cook 3 or 4 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and thyme. Salt to taste and stir in pepper. Serve hot.