Boneless skinless chicken breast is the most popular cut of poultry in the United States and with good reason: they are low in fat, quick and easy to prepare and extremely versatile. This wonderful cut of poultry can be grilled, sauteed, broiled, poached, fried and baked. There is a downside however to this cut of meat: they are rather low in fat. You may be asking: “What is wrong with that? That makes them healthy right?” Yes, they are a healthier way to eat, but because they are low in fat, they are also low in moisture and that makes them very susceptible to over cooking. Nothing is less appetizing than a dry and overcooked piece of meat.
There are two ways to make certain your chicken is not overcooked. The first way, and the most accurate in my opinion, is to use an instant read thermometer. I own a handy little electronic thermometer with a voice alert feature. It is extremely accurate and has never let me down. The other method for checking doneness is by pricking the meat with a fork. If the juices run clear, then it is done. I think the first option is much safer, but you can be the judge.
There are literally hundreds of combined recipes and methods for cooking chicken breast, far too many to cover in this article, so I will talk about two very popular methods.
One of the easiest and tastiest ways is to marinate and grill them.
Below is a great marinade recipe:
GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST WITH CITRUS HERB MARINADE
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
1/3 Cup of Freshly Chopped Parsley
1/3 Cup of Freshly Chopped Basil
1 Clove of Garlic Minced
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1/4 Teaspoon of Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Step 1: Mix together everything, accept the chicken breasts, in a large bowl. Step 2: Add chicken to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for several hours. Step 3: Get you grill nice and hot and oil the grates to prevent the chicken from sticking. Step 4: Grill chicken about 4 minutes per side or until done.
Another fantastic way to cook chicken breasts is by baking them in foil in the oven. The foil helps keep the meat nice and moist while cooking. What you put inside the foil is only limited by your imagination, but to make things easier, I have included a great recipe below.
CHICKEN WITH SUN DRIED TOMATOES AND KALAMATA OLIVES
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
10 – 15 Kalamata Olives Pitted and Chopped
8 – 10 Sun Dried Tomatoes Cut Into Thin Strips
4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Freshly Chopped Basil
2 Tablespoons of Freshly Chopped Parsley Salt and Pepper to Taste
Step 1: Preheat Oven to 450 Degrees F
Step 2: In a bowl, combine the olives, tomatoes, basil, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Step 3: Cut 8 Squares of Aluminum Foil (Cut them large, about 18 inches square)
Step 4: Grab 2 squares of foil and place one on top of the other.
Step 5: Grease the foil with some olive oil
Step 6: Place a chicken breast in the center of the foil and spoon some of the tomato and olive mixture on top
Step 7: Loosely fold the foil over the chicken forming a tent and seal tightly
Step 8: Repeat this process for the remaining chicken breasts
Step 9 : Place the wrapped chicken breasts on a baking sheet and place in the pre-heated oven
Step 10: Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until done. To check for doneness, cut a small slit in the foil to allow the steam to escape and then carefully unfold the foil. Check for doneness with an instant read thermometer. The internal temperature should read 160 degrees F.