Different, Simple Ways to Cook Boneless Chicken Breasts
These are a few of the ways I prefer to cook chicken breast in a quick and delicious way
There are millions and millions of recipes out there for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Many people jump at the chance to make chicken, but the sad truth is that many people tend to overcook it...thus making it dry, chewy, and sometimes even chalky in your mouth.
Another problem is...who really has the time to sit and search for recipes every time they just want to throw food on the table ASAP. Well look no further my friends, I am about to provide you with IDEAS and different ways to cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Because lets face it, with just a few ideas in your head, you will be able to tweak them to your own style, and have similar yet different and delicious dinner or lunch on the table...simply from the top of your head.
The first advice I can give you is BUY SOME MARINADE :) Having it in your cupboard can be a dinner saver. I always have teriyaki, Caribbean jerk, some type of baja, and italian dressing handy for whenever I need it. This is quite possibly the easiest thing to prepare. All you need is...
1 gallon baggy, thawed boneless, skinless chicken breast, and your favorite marinade.
If you are in a hurry, cut the breasts into cutlets (cut half thick-wise making two pieces of chicken now half as thick). Now just place the chicken into the baggy, top with half of the bottle of marinade, press out all remaining air, and seal. Once that is done I usually move the chicken around to get it evenly covered by the marinade and then place into fridge. This can be done anywhere from 30 mins before to the night before. (Don't try to do this a few days ahead, it will give the chicken a weird texture.)
Another way to go, is sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. I personally am a sasoning salt, creole, steak seasoning, Mrs. Dash, Poultry, garlic powder, and Montreal Chicken seasoning junkie. At least one or two of those make their way into nearly all of my recipes. (Needless to say, my spice rack is stocked and crammed full of a million different spices, seasonings, herbs, etc.) I have found that you can never really go wrong when using any of those together. All you need is...
boneless, skinless chicken breasts, your favorite spices/seasonings, a clean working area.
Now just go to town :) If you are in the mood for blackened, crank up the heat and smother those bad boys with creole (and I mean SMOTHER them). In the mood for simple chicken alfredo, try Mrs. Dash tomato basil (I swear it was sent from the Gods...all and any of them because it is that perfect) and pair with some garlic and italian seasoning. In the mood for a nice fiery meal? Top that chicken with seasoning salt, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and chili powder...the hotter you want it, the more cayenne you add. That will give you a delicous smoky heat. ---oh and feel free to plop that chicken in a baggy and let it hang out in the fridge for a while, it'll just intensify the flavors---
Now once you chicken is either sitting in your favorite marinade, or covered in you spice confection, you can cook it tons of differen ways.
-place into baking dish and bake at 350 until properly cooked
-fire up that grill and let it sit, closed, on high and then cook the chicken after those 5 minutes
-too cold for grilling outside? BUY A GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL SILLY (its quite possibly one of the greatest things ever created...grills, make paninis, toasts the outside of you burrito...endless possibilities) just let the grill warm up and cook until finished (changes whether using cutlets, or whole)
-pan fry the chicken in a hot pan with a little bit of oil to add a nice crunch and good flavor
-place in a sandwich baggy, zip shut LEAVING 2 INCHES OPEN. Now just place into the microwave and cook 7 minutes from frozen, or about 4-5 minutes when thawed (using the entire b/s-less chicken breast) ---this will steam it make chicken perfect to shred and top pasta, paninis, chicken salad (once cooled), sandwiches, burritos...and so on:)---
-You can even start the grill or pan, and cook the chicken while basting your favorite sauce or marinade directly on the chicken every minute or so.
One of my family's favorite meal is Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches. Take the fiery spice blend (from above) and rub chicken. Heat a small amount of butter in a skillet. Place chicken in hot skillet and cook. Once halfway cooked, flip and pour over you favorite buffalo sauce (I usully use some butter and Red Hot Sauce) With only a minute or two remaining, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and top with provolone slices. Place lid on skillet and finish cooking. Once finished, place on toasted bun and top with lettuce, ranch, and avocado. I usually pair this with potato wedges covered with garlic, salt, chili powder, paprika, and cooking spray, then baked. This is a good, simple recipe, but beware if you add too much cayenne it could RUIN this dinner.
Also try checking out my hub on PINEAPPLE, AVOCADO TERIYAKI CHICKEN SANDWICHES.
Well lets go over how you know when the chicken is cooked. Chicken should be cooked so that the internal temperature is 165 degrees and the juices run clear. Trust me you want those juices. The problem with that is that once food is removed from the heat...it continues to cook. So I usually take my cicken out 5-10 degrees before 165 (depending on thickness and which way it was cooked) and let it sit 5 minutes before diving in. That rule can really apply to any type of meat. REMOVE FROM HEAT EARLY AND ALLOW TO SIT. Now of course a big roast is going to need to sit longer than a chicken breasts, but you get the idea.
Now if you don't have one of those nifty tools that check the internal temperature, feel free to use a chef's most useful tool...you hands. (This does take some time to master, so you may want to get a niftly tool and train yourself to what it should feel like...that's what I did and now I can tell how a steak os cooked, simply by pressing the meat.) Please for all that is holy, DO NOT CUT the chicken to check doneness unless being cook in some sort of liquid...It will cause the juices to run out of the chicken, thus making it dry and chalky. When the chicken is ready to be removed from the heat it should be firm, but with a little bit of give to your finger. If the chicken presses in and is soft it needs more time. If the chicken is hard and has no give, well you may want to shred it and make chicken salad tonight, because it is over cooked. And do NOT froget to allow the chicken to sit before eating. (sitting allows the juice to get absorbed back into the meat instead of pouring out onto you plate or cutting board.)
The best advice I can give you is to remember some of these ways, they may save you some time in the kitchen, and learn how to properly cook the chicken until it reaches juicy goodness. For some people it comes quickly, but for others it takes some trial and error. Never give up and always strive to be the person who is known to make THE BEST DANG CHICKEN on the block :)