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Old 12-30-2008, 01:56 PM   #1
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Newb needs help with chicken breasts

OK, the screen name says it all. I have set the kitchen on fire with alarming regularity, and nothing I've ever cooked comes out right (except rice, which now works since I started baking it like Alton Brown says on "Good Eats").

I'm overweight, with chronic asthma, and now I've found out I have Congestive Heart Disease/ I have to start eating better. I live alone, don't have a lot of time to invest in meal preparation, and need to learn to make simple, healthy meals that are easy to cook.

Additionally, I hate fish, and stopped eating mammals a year or so ago, so that leaves me with chicken.

I tried this recipe from Quick Fix meals with Robin Miller and tried it:

6 - 5oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In a plastic bag:
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Place chicken breasts in a plastic bag, close and shake until well coated
Coat baking sheet with olive oil spray
Shake off excess coating from chicken breasts and place on sheet
Spray tops of chicken breasts with olive oil spray
Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes

I'll bet I've tried baking chicken breasts a dozen times, and these came out way better than any I have made before; tender and juicy. They didn't taste bad, but they were a little bland.

I have some questions on this:

1) Is getting more flavor simply a matter of increasing the amounts of spices? If so, which ones?

2) Is there a better method than using the white flour? I'm assuming that is there to make the spices to stick to the chicken?

3) Regarding the plastic bag of spices ... it seems pretty wasteful. I thought about reusing plastic bags I get from the grocery store, but wonder about what else might be in them. Also, can you hold on to the spices in the bag and re-use them, or is Salmonella a problem?

4) How long will the cooked chicken breasts last in the fridge? They seemed a little slimy after 5 days in a sealed plastic container, which made Lily the Sabre-Toothed Retriever very happy, indeed.

5) What are the best sources for more simple, healthy recipes for boneless, skinless chicken breasts?

Thanks

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Old 12-30-2008, 02:03 PM   #2
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There are zillions of chicken breast recipes. And the best way to get flavour into a chicken breast is likely to marinate it. You will find that probably far tastier than breading it with any amount of spice.

You can either use the search function on the blue toolbar here and limit your search to the chicken subforum or you can try a Google search specifying Discuss Cooking if you just want to see what recipes are listed here.

My suggestion would be to look into the various types of marinade recipes out there (or the bottled kind) as they will be helpful to you. Also, you may want to look at brining, or using buttermilk to plump up and flavour your chicken breast.

Personally I find a good stir fry the best way to get maximum flavour from chicken breast.
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanCan'tCook View Post
1) Is getting more flavor simply a matter of increasing the amounts of spices? If so, which ones?
Not sure on this one. It seems like it would be pretty flavorful, but I know what you mean. I usually tend to lean towards more salt, garlic, and pepper, but that is my taste.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanCan'tCook View Post
2) Is there a better method than using the white flour? I'm assuming that is there to make the spices to stick to the chicken?
You could just leave the flour out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanCan'tCook View Post
3) Regarding the plastic bag of spices ... it seems pretty wasteful. I thought about reusing plastic bags I get from the grocery store, but wonder about what else might be in them. Also, can you hold on to the spices in the bag and re-use them, or is Salmonella a problem?
Use a plastic container instead of a bag. Put spices and what not in the container, add chicken. Put lid on and toss. This will reduce the waste of plastic bags.

NO, do not reuse bags that have had raw meat in them. Do not reuse spices that have had raw meat in them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanCan'tCook View Post
4) How long will the cooked chicken breasts last in the fridge? They seemed a little slimy after 5 days in a sealed plastic container, which made Lily the Sabre-Toothed Retriever very happy, indeed.
3 or 4 days tops.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanCan'tCook View Post
5) What are the best sources for more simple, healthy recipes for boneless, skinless chicken breasts?
The WWW, simply google what you are asking about above. Plus I am certain the kind folks here at DC will offer up some recipes for you!

BTW... welcome to DC.
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SheCan'tCook
'm overweight, with chronic asthma, and now I've found out I have Congestive Heart Disease/ I have to start eating better.
Hello and Welcome to DC...You will find a lot of good ideas here...Mine is: Talk to your physician about a heart healthy, low sodium diet, and/or contact The American Heart Association.

Enjoy!
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:18 PM   #5
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I

Hello and Welcome to DC...You will find a lot of good ideas here...Mine is: Talk to your physician about a heart healthy, low sodium diet, and/or contact The American Heart Association.

Enjoy!
Thanks, I've already talked to my Dr. He's the one who said I need to quit eating out every meal and learn to cook healthy meals.
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by SeanCan'tCook View Post
Thanks, I've already talked to my Dr. He's the one who said I need to quit eating out every meal and learn to cook healthy meals.
That's great!! Now all you have to do is pull up a chair, make yourself comfortable, and read all of the wonderful recipes etc here at DC...All or most can be adapted in some way to fit your dietary needs!!

Have Fun & Enjoy!!!
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:30 PM   #7
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Hello Sean and welcome to DC--you will find the help you need here.
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:54 PM   #8
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Here's a fool-proof way to cook boneless skinless breasts.

Poached Chicken Breasts

Start by making the poaching liquid. I basically make a tomato sauce with extra white wine and water to thin it out. I prefer whole peeled tomatoes rough chopped so I can top the chicken with it. You can really add what you want once all the liquid is simmering, artichokes, asparagus, olives, etc. Once the liquid is at a simmer add the whole boneless, skinless breasts and cover for about 10-15 minutes or until done. Cooking them this way will yeild very tender chicken. Slice the chicken across the grain and place on top of white rice. Top everything off with some of the tomatoes/veggies from the poaching liquid.
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:02 PM   #9
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Sean, Welcome!

No reason eating healthier cant be tasty and definitely cooking for yourself rather than takeout is a great way to accomplish this. Cooking for yourself you have alot of freedom to experiment and figure out which things you really do and don't like.

I also cook for myself most of the time and try to make food to bring to work for lunch and limit my intake of processed, prepared and fast foods. I try to make things for dinner that will yield easy to package portions for my lunches. I am not by anymeans a health expert but my take is as much fresh ingredients as possible. use whole grains whenever possible and try to include servings of fruits and vegetables as much as possible.

You can do many things with chicken it is very versatile.

If you are looking for "flavor" in addition to seasoning the chicken itself think about the things you may cook with it to add taste and texture. I do not know what your taste preferences are but the cool thing about chicken is that you can use it with almost any flavor combo or cuisine type. Look for interesting ways to make vegetables, rices & pastas to go along with your meat. You can bring alot of flavor onto your plate this way.

I would look at Middle Eastern and Indian seasonings in addition to the traditional french and Italian seasonings as ways to add variety and flavor without dishes becoming unhealthy.

Fresh herbs, lemon, olive oil & garlic are your friends use them liberally.

I am sorry I am not great with recipes as I usually cook on the fly but with chicken breast I like to fillet it down the middle rub with a little olive oil s&p and grill on my cast iron grill pan then it can be used for lots of stuff. Pasta Salads, Rice Pilafs, Tacos-Burritos (which you can totally do healthy and are fast and easy) make sandwiches etc

you could also try braising it in the oven at lower temps in a stock or soup or with vegetables (bone in cuts are usually better for braising though) EDIT.. http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/1040/...ix-rago-t.aspx this recipe looks sort of like what I am talking about though I cant vouch for it. Only uses 3tsp of olive oil though and looks pretty tasty.

anyway good luck and welcome I hope you find some helpful info and find cooking to be more enjoyable than takeout in the long run.
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanCan'tCook View Post
OK, the screen name says it all. I have set the kitchen on fire with alarming regularity, and nothing I've ever cooked comes out right (except rice, which now works since I started baking it like Alton Brown says on "Good Eats").

I'm overweight, with chronic asthma, and now I've found out I have Congestive Heart Disease/ I have to start eating better. I live alone, don't have a lot of time to invest in meal preparation, and need to learn to make simple, healthy meals that are easy to cook.

Additionally, I hate fish, and stopped eating mammals a year or so ago, so that leaves me with chicken.

I tried this recipe from Quick Fix meals with Robin Miller and tried it:
<snip>

Hi, Sean. You can use those seasonings to make a rub, instead of a breading. Mix together the seasonings, minus the flour, in a small bowl and rub the mixture all over the chicken breasts. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then bake or sear in a hot pan and finish in the oven.

I like how Robin Miller makes a big quantity of something like this on a Sunday, then uses the leftovers in different meals throughout the week. With leftover chicken, you can make Thai sesame noodles, different kinds of casseroles (for example, chicken, sauteed onions and peppers, pasta and spaghetti sauce, or a similar mixture with Mexican flavors), etc. Hope this helps.
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