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Need tips on cooking skinless boneless chicken breasts
Old 07-15-2012, 04:25 PM   #1
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Need tips on cooking skinless boneless chicken breasts

I bought a 3# bag of frozen skinless boneless chicken breasts at Trader Joe. They were inexpensive, and I have little previous experience cooking these.

I cannot seem to make them taste even remotely good. I bought
a few fresh breasts but they seem no better. I tried sautéing them, and also baking them, with bell peppers, onions and garlic. The vegetables taste good, but the chicken is tasteless and rubbery.

Any tips on how to cook these skillfully?

Ha
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:41 PM   #2
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We don't eat chicken breast because of this and usually go with roasted thighs and legs or the entire quarter. They also make tasty cold leftovers.

Chicken breast could be shredded, then mixed with peppers, onions, some tomato sauce, some red pepper.
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:51 PM   #3
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Are you possibly over cooking them? Do you add a little liquid during cooking (chicken broth, water, perhaps a little wine, and/or lemon juice), and then baste them? Perhaps try being a little more generous with the garlic and onion (if you can handle the after-effects ). I would also add some basil and perhaps a touch of paprika or salt (you'd be amazed at how much just a little old fashioned salt and pepper can do to a dish).

Depending on the thickness, I'd imagine a 325 degree oven for maybe an hour, hour and 20 mins. I normally go for the whole cut-up chicken, then roast it in a convection oven for about 90 mins (convection cooks faster). Boneless will cook substantially faster, unless it's one of those super-sized breasts.
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:54 PM   #4
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We cook boneless skinless about three times a week. I usually slice them in half crosswise so they are really thin cutlets (sometimes into thirds). Sometimes dredge them in flour (not necessary--I think you watch your carbs?), heat up some EVOO in a frying pan over medium high heat, and toss them in to brown on both sides.

They cook really quickly so I take them out and keep them warm on a plate with the pan lid over them while I throw some more oil into the pan and maybe some chopped garlic or diced sweet peppers or pineapple or mushrooms or mangos or whatever, along with any herbs on hand, get that cooked nice and brown, then add some liquid to the pan (balsamic, white wine, even orange juice) to deglaze it, and pour it over the chicken.

But I think the key for me is to cook them quickly if you use high heat like I do--they toughen up otherwise.

There are probably some good slow cooker/crockpot recipes, too, but I don't remember to use that until it's too late.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:07 PM   #5
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Ha, if you like spicy/Mexican style food, I have a really easy one for you:

Into a blender or food processor mix the following until smooth

- 6 cloves garlic
- 2T silver tequila
-1T paprika (can be hot if you lke)
- 1tsp cumin
- 1tsp salt
- 1tsp pepper
- 1tsp red pepper flakes (can increase if desired)
- 1/2 c. corn or olive oil
- 1/2 an onion

Marinate the chicken in this mixture 6 hours to overnight and then grill or broil the chicken.

This is from one of my favorite (out of print) cookbooks,"Tequila, the Book" by Ann and Larry Walker.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:12 PM   #6
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I usually buy chicken breasts with skin and bones (split chicken breasts), roast them in the oven, then remove both skin and bones before serving.

Otherwise, you can try wrapping them in bacon to keep them moist.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:37 PM   #7
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Yup, have to marinate them or bread them, they are great for that. If you want to throw them in without any prep, you need ones with skin+bones. Otherwise they will always come out dry and rubbery, there is nothing to keep the moisture in and add flavor just by themselves. Breading them is easier than marinades, which take more prep time.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:41 PM   #8
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I like them with lots of stuff - curry comes to mind and all sorts of Thai recipes. Or, if you want two simple approaches try a simple saute with wine or chicken piccata

Saute: Saute the chicken for a few minutes until done in oil and butter and set aside; add more butter if needed and saute some diced shallots for a few minutes; splash some white wine (1/4C) in the pan and reduce by half; splash in some chicken broth (1/4C)and reduce by half; swirl in a tablespoon of butter and pour over the breasts. double up the wine broth and shallots if you want extra sauce for rice.

Piccata: Pound out the breasts to 1/4 inch; briefly saute until semi-done in oil & butter; splash in a little lemon juice (1/4 C) and chicken broth (1/2C) and some capers (2T), scrape up the brown stuff and reduce a bit; add the chicken back in and simmer for a few minutes, swirl in some butter and serve.

Google either of these to get more specific directions.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:42 PM   #9
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You could try to marinate them. Or cook them on an outdoor grill with open flame. I've had good luck with sauteing and George Foreman grilling fresh boneless skinless breasts, but the frozen ones seem to need a heavier hand.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:45 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the help. I think I will use the various suggestions given here to finish up this bag, and if I have been able to make a sucess of it, great! If not, back to fatter cuts. For long time I never cooked chicken since I just couldn't seem to make it good, bit I decided to try some to see if my LD Lipoproteins might come down.

Ha
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:47 PM   #11
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Here's a good recipe I got some time ago from The Splendid Table on NPR. I've used this and I think it's marvelous:

Quote:
Use this chicken dish inspired by Southern India as your saute training wheels. Just remember the two tricks to the saute: brown over high heat and finish cooking over very low heat for juicy results. Resist the temptation to speed things along by cooking the meat very fast over high heat — you'll only end up with a tough dinner.

Ginger-Shallot Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

**** 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, about 1-1/2 pounds
**** 1 tablespoon soy sauce
**** 1-1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarse chopped
**** 4 large shallots, or 1/2 medium onion and 1 clove garlic, peeled
**** 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
**** 1 teaspoon ground coriander
**** 1 tablespoon brown sugar
**** 1 to 2 fresh jalapeno, or Serrano chilies, seeded (optional)
**** 2 tablespoons cold-pressed vegetable oil
**** Extra oil for the saute

1. Place the chicken in a plastic storage container. In a blender or food processor puree all the other ingredients (except the oil for the saute) with a little water. Scrape over the chicken, turn pieces to coat thoroughly and cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 24 hours.

2. Lightly film a 12-inch straight-sided saute pan and heat over medium high. Add the chicken, not letting the pieces touch. Sear on one side for a minute or so, turn and lightly brown on the second side.

3. Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pan and cook, turning the chicken once, 10 minutes (if the meat threatens to burn, add a few tablespoons water), or until the pieces are just firm when pressed. Serve hot.

LYNNE'S TIPS

* Ensure tender, juicy chicken by letting the finished chicken sit at room temperature 10 minutes. Always do this with cooked meats. Juices settle, the meat finishes cooking and when you cut into your dinner it is succulent. Serve it right from the pan and juices will end up on your plate, not in the meat on your fork.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:58 PM   #12
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I bake these quite often and have some in the oven right now. I use a glass baking dish, put a little olive oil in the dish, add the chicken breasts, shake on some garlic powder and black pepper, cover with onions, bell peppers and fresh garlic, and top each breast with a pat of butter (the real stuff, not margarine). I usually bake them at 350-375 for about 40 minutes - most recipes seem to call for an hour+ which makes them dry and rubbery. With the olive oil and butter, there is enough liquid in the dish to keep the chicken moist (if not over-cooked).
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:59 PM   #13
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Or, if you do not feel like doing much, you could try just making stir-fry. Cut into small pieces, slice, and stir-fry with your favorite vegetables. (I do this dry in a non-stick electric wok, but use oil if needed.)
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:29 PM   #14
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You could also make Chicken scampi . I cut the breasts into small pieces and saute them for a few minutes . Place them in either au gratin dishes or just a baking dish . Add garlic, melted butter and a swig of wine ( Of course I take a swig myself ) . Broil them on high for a few minutes . I also do chicken & broccoli stir fry . Cut the breasts in thin slices & marinate in soy sauce , garlic , wine & some cornstarch . Heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan or Wok . Add the broccoli & stir for a minute then add two talespoons of water put a lid on the wok and steam for two minutes . Remove the broccoli . Add a little more oil and stir fry the chicken for a few minutes then add the brocccoli .
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:38 PM   #15
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I usually slice them in half crosswise so they are really thin cutlets (sometimes into thirds).
We do this, too. It permits more even cooking; you don't have to turn the outside into rubber in order to ensure that the inside is done. Given that a normal chicken breast at the grocery is 8-10 oz., slicing them in half like this gives a more appropriate portion size as well.

You might also consider kebabs, if you have a grill or broiler available. Here is a recipe for Aleppo Pepper Chicken Kebobs. They are a hit in our house.

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Aleppo Pepper Recipe at Epicurious.com
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:08 PM   #16
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Lots of excellent suggestions here - frozen boneless skinless breasts are definitely a go-to low-fat high-quality protein. Stir fry (especially if you marinate in advance) is always a winner.

If you have a slow cooker, here are two more ideas:
- put 3-4 (depending on size) of the breasts in the crockpot with a jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I like to add a can of mushrooms and some herbs as well). Cook at least 8 hours on low. Serve on top of your preferred pasta or substitute (spaghetti squash works great). Grate fresh parmesan on top
- if you prefer spicy, do the same with a jar of salsa. Serve on rice with some shredded cheese, avocado, etc.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:13 PM   #17
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Get a crock pot Ha. Throw them in there in the morning with a can of soup (we like cream of mushroom) or whatever suits your fancy and let 'em cook all day. BTW, don't add water if you use condensed soup. Plenty of moisture in the chicken breasts to dilute the soup. Yummy and tender.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:07 PM   #18
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My wife, who grew up on a farm, says that store bought chicken has very little taste, and breasts have none. I have to admit she has a point. But I like the texture they add to other stuff. So it's mostly about the other stuff.

If I stir fry, I roll the pieces in cornmeal first. It seems to seal in the juice when you fry them.
For other recipes, look for plenty of moisture.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:35 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
We do this, too. It permits more even cooking; you don't have to turn the outside into rubber in order to ensure that the inside is done. Given that a normal chicken breast at the grocery is 8-10 oz., slicing them in half like this gives a more appropriate portion size as well.

You might also consider kebabs, if you have a grill or broiler available. Here is a recipe for Aleppo Pepper Chicken Kebobs. They are a hit in our house.

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Aleppo Pepper Recipe at Epicurious.com
I do this (slice crosswise, multiple times if needed) to make my cutlets as uniform in thickness as possible before I dip them in egg and bread them (the egg acts as a glue to keep the breading on). I then deep fry them in a mixture of corn oil and olive oil. The more uniform the thickness, the less I have to worry about part of the cutlet being undercooked while another part is overcooked. I also make sure to fry a thinner cutlet first to stabilize the oil temperature or else the outside of the cutlet cooks too fast compared to the inside.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:14 AM   #20
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Get a crock pot Ha. Throw them in there in the morning with a can of soup (we like cream of mushroom) or whatever suits your fancy and let 'em cook all day. BTW, don't add water if you use condensed soup. Plenty of moisture in the chicken breasts to dilute the soup. Yummy and tender.
I like to add some frozen petite English peas to the hot mixture a minute or two before serving, usually over rice. If I am in a hurry, I slice the chicken breast into 1/2 to 3/4 inch medallions across the grain and cook them on the stove top (medium heat) in undiluted mushroom soup just until the meat has turned white throughout. Then I turn off the heat and add the petite English peas. I put the rice on to cook first. With prep and cook time, the chicken is done before the rice (15 to 20 minutes, depending on the type of rice...basmaiti is my favorite).

I also like to cook chicken in chicken broth, with a little salt and pepper. I always leave the chicken in the broth until I am ready to use it. You can use the cold chicken in salads, sandwiches, or to make a soup. Any veggie soup can be enhanced with cooked chicken and the broth it was cooked in! Good luck Ha.
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