For those of you who are looking to lose weight, you have undoubtedly heard about the benefits of chicken. Chicken is one of my staples, because it packs high levels of protein, with very little fat and no carbs. When I get ready to compete in my fitness shows, I will usually consume 2-4 chicken breasts each day. I try to cook a 3 lb bag of frozen chicken breasts on my family-size George Forman Grill each week. This only takes 20 minutes and will provide me enough chicken for the whole week. There are much healthier choices than frozen chicken breasts that have been injected with a saline solution, but for ease of use and cost, they are a good choice. Most people have a hard time eating plain chicken breasts day after day, so I had my mom whip you up my favorite childhood chicken meal for you!
We have chicken on the menu….an item that can get downright boring, right?! But Marsue asked us to deal with the actual cooking of a chicken breast, how to retain its moisture. Thanks, Marsue, for the good question and opening up the talk to a food item that all of us probably deal with several times a week. We’ll also include one recipe-Dustin wants me to share the way we liked it here at home for awhile; I think it is still his favorite.
So, how much time do I have to get this chicken on the table; this is what will determine how I proceed. If I am in a big toot, I will slice up the breast in bite-sized pieces, like for fajitas, and stirfry it in a little olive oil (some say grapeseed oil for high heat frying) for my guys. For me, just spraying the pan a little and covering it and sauting them for several minutes will do the job and keep them moist-add a little water for extra moisture. The key here is to not overcook-they will be done in a blink. Of course, sprinkling with some seasonings goes a long ways here; my usual is garlic and onion powder, and Italian seasoning.
For a change up, try dill, sage, or cumin instead of the Italian seasoning. For the times when I am not in a hurry, I’ll take a bag of breasts (Walmart has a brand now that is more natural, without the added hormones, etc.-not sure at what stage this begins, but it sounds healthier!) and cut them in half, then slice the thicker chunks in half again, to make them all more uniform in thickness. Put them in a large bowl and add several Tbs. of olive oil and the above seasonings and let them marinate for at least half an hour, stirring occasionally. Add some more olive oil to a large skillet and fry up the breasts, sprinkling more seasonings as you turn them. Eric (Dustin’s brother) has a friend, Jared, that will eat 5 or 6 of these and nothing else when we have chicken fixed this way! Again, maybe only 10 minutes cooking time will do it-slice into them to check for any pinkness left, and serve immediately to avoid drying out. Okay, these are really good and crusty, but FRIED, right?! So, instead of the frying pan, bake them in the oven, covered with foil and you will retain all the moisture you want. I think the length of baking time is what will dry them out, and lack of moisture. And be sure to keep the thickness uniform to avoid under or over cooking. Of course, these can be done in a covered skillet too, no added oil, and just steam them til no longer pink in the center. Dustin uses a Forman grill and throws the chicken on for a quantity of no-frills chicken that can be stored in the fridge and added to salads or whatever for some quick protein. He said a certain friend is sooo not impressed with his chicken! 🙂 So, however you fix it, it can always be a handy thing to have on hand; slice it up into bite-sized pieces and it can be added to veggies, a bean dish, salads, or added to a sandwich with some sprouts, avocados, tomatoes, etc.
Now for Dustin’s favorite CHICKEN BREASTS WITH SAGE:
4 boneless chicken breasts
3 lemons (or 1 c. of juice)
3 Tbls. olive oil
2 tsp. dried sage
salt and pepper to taste
Marinate the chicken in the juice, oil, and seasonings for 30 min.
I have a large open grill that I grilled the drained breasts on ’til the pinkness is gone; boil down the remaining marinade until thick and serve over the chicken.
Well, now it’s your turn to enlighten us further with your tricks of the trade! We look forward to hearing from you.
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