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Old 05-02-2010, 07:57 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
Rarely do I find a need for using a marinade...
OK, I'll bite. How then do you get flavor out of boneless, skinless chicken breasts?
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:04 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by SeanCan'tCook View Post
OK, I'll bite. How then do you get flavor out of boneless, skinless chicken breasts?
I do it by brining.
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:15 PM   #43
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I do it by brining.
In another thread I started awhile back on cooking chicken breasts, I was told if the label says they're packed in a "water solution" or something like that then they're already brined.
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:27 PM   #44
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Yes that is true. I by ones that have not already been brined so I can do it myself and control the amount of salt and other ingredients go into mine.
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:39 PM   #45
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Yes that is true. I by ones that have not already been brined so I can do it myself and control the amount of salt and other ingredients go into mine.
I have a grocery store literally right next door to me; a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. The only two choices in boneless, skinless chicken breasts there are Tyson's and the house brand, both of which are packed in a water solution, according to the labels.

If they are brined, though, then I'm doing something wrong in cooking them. I've tried braising them on a cast iron grillpan with a little olive oil, then finishing them in the oven, and they were pretty bland.
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:49 PM   #46
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I don't care for brining - much prefer marinating, but the commercial brining is basically just a salt-solution to help the meat remain juicy. Homemade brine solutions usually contain herbs, spices, & sometimes other liquids to add more flavor. Obviously commercial brines aren't going to have this because seasoning is a matter of personal taste & they're trying to produce something that will appeal to the widest number of consumers.

Just out of curiousity Sean - do you ever peruse & try actual recipes, or do you just fly off the seat of your pants when cooking? If the latter, then maybe you should try following some simple recipes that sound interesting to you in order to get a better idea of procedures, timing, & seasonings that appeal.
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:29 PM   #47
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I do try actual recipes, but many are terribly inefficient for me. I'm single, cooking for one, so recipes that call for fresh herbs, etc. are really inefficient for me as I have to buy the quantity they sell in the store, use the amoung called for in the recipe, then the rest goes bad. If I cook three chciken breast, that's three meals; two or three days' food.

And most recipes I've seen don't offer advice on procedures; they say: marinate chicken breasts over night, sear, then place in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. I've never seen one that said I'd better remove all marinade before searing or I will spend 40 minutes scrubbing until my hands cramp and cursing vehemently.

I guess part of the problem is I'm not a good cook, and don't aspire to be one. I would be very happy if I could simply replace 5-6 meals eaten out each week with healthier ones cooked at home. I'd be willing to sacrifice a bit of flavor for simplicity, convenience, and cost savings. Every time I buy 10 bucks worth of fresh herbs, cook a batch of chicken breasts only to have the unused herbs go bad, every time I spend 40 minutes scrubbing a single dish, etc., it just disheartens me more.

I understand the disconnect; the knowledgable people on these boards are patrons of the art of cuisine. Cooking is a hobby they enjoy tremendously; it's their passion. It's much different for me. I work about 50 hours a week. The rest of my time is spent doing calculus proofs for a poker learning system I'm developing; I just don't have time.

My ideal recipe would be a marinade or rub I could make with oil and dry spices and herbs that don't cost so much and don't go bad if I choose not to repeat the same recipe till they're gone, that I could cook in 30 minutes to an hour and that I could clean up after in 15 to 20 minutes without having to scrub till my hands cramp.

I haven't eaten mammals in three years, and I don't like seafood, so If I could find two or three recipes for boneless, skinless chicken breasts that fit that criteria, I'd be golden. So far, no luck.
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:30 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanCan'tCook View Post
OK, I'll bite. How then do you get flavor out of boneless, skinless chicken breasts?
........

Kinda hard to get flavor out when there's not much there to begin with.~~~
I'll skip the use, misuse, and common misunderstandings of the myriad malodorous mixtures masquerading as meaningful marinades.... for now ~~~
Suggest adding flavor ON.. as a better alternative in the form of seasonings (herbs, spices etc) and sauces..

Try this....Take two Wally World B/S chicken breast and pound them flat....
Salt and pepper to taste..dredge lightly in flour...saute in a mixture of butter and olive oil until just done, and remove to a warm platter. Do Not Overcook!! De-glaze the pan with a little dry white wine and reduce by 1/2...add a little chicken stock, and again reduce by about 1/2..Add 1 sprig of fresh Tarragon, or a teaspoon of Dry Tarragon if that's what you have.Turn the heat off..remove pan from the heat and add in several pats of butter (not margarine) As it melts.. very, very gently stir it in...pour the sauce over the Chicken and enjoy! ~~ Adding a tablespoon of Capers right before you add the butter can be an interesting addition...HTH

Good Luck and Enjoy!

Edit to add!~~ I also grill a lot of chicken breast. Try it if that's an option for you!
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:55 PM   #49
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UB - you just described what Sean does NOT want to have to do re: his previous post - lol!!

And Sean - the reason why recipes don't tell you to wash/dry/remove all the marinade is because you don't have to. Regardless of what others here may claim. Wouldn't you think if it was necessary some cookbook somewhere would make mention of it? I've never done it, have never seen a single recipe in my thousands of cookbooks collection say to do it, yadayadayada.

I know you work long hours, but since you're committed (& commendably so) to eating at home in a more healthy fashion, it might be worth it to do a little research online &/or at a bookstore or library for one or two cookbooks geared towards cooking for one or two. Such items ARE out there, & I think would really be a big help to you since they're geared towards food shopping with the least amount of waste & give you pretty good basics.

And don't assume that we're all "patrons of the art of cuisine" - lol!! Yes, I collect cookbooks & yes I love to cook. But my day runs from before dawn frequently till midnight, so I ain't sitting around making frou-frou meals unless I'm able to capture a time segment - lol! In fact, as I type this we're just now about to sit down to dinner.

In closing - DON'T GIVE UP!! Learning to cook a few things that you enjoy eating is the first step. You don't have to become a guru about it. Cooking (& eating what you cook) is supposed to be fun. And we'll help you. Not because we're all high-falutin chefs or anything, but simply because we enjoy it & want you to enjoy it too.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:51 AM   #50
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Breezy,

Clearly, there are two diametrically opposing schools of thought on the removing all marinade issue here. I'm certainly in no position to have an opinion, one way or the other. The obvious question that occurs to me, though, is if not the marinade, what is the crud on the bottom of the pan I had to fight so hard to get off?

And I've bought a few cookbooks specifically for chicken. First, I got The Complete Chicken Breast Cookbook by Marge Poore. A lot of the recipes were for bone in and/or skin on chciken breasts, or were pretty complicated. I next bought Low Fat Chicken Breasts (120 Healthy and Delicious recipes for Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts) by Diane Rozas.

120 recipes! Sounds good to me! Of the 120, I found about 5 that were interesting to me. All required buying fresh herbs, or poaching bags, etc. and were pretty expensive to make, and frankly weren't that good.

It's so frustrating for me. I go to Whattaburger, where the grilled chicken sandwich has so much flavor I eat it plain. I go to Backyard Burger, where the Blackened Chicken Breast sandwich is again so good I have them leave everything off but the slaw. I go to Outback Steakhouse, where the grilled chicken breast is excellent; ironically, better than the steaks. I ate the chicken breast there back when I still ate mammals. My friends used to tease me about going to a steakhouse twice a week and never eating steak. Charleston's, Olive Garden, Steak-N-Shake, Burger King, etc. all serve chicken breasts that are all much more flavorful than the best I've ever been able to come up with myself. They're not just edible, they're good!

Someone mentioned grilling earlier, and I used to grill a lot. I was actually pretty pleased with the steaks and pork chops I grilled, but I've never been able to get any real flavor out of those boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the grill, so I moved indoors for convenience sake. The grief and work associated with grilling is worth it if there's a flavor payofff, but not at all if there's not.

My primary dietary protein is going to be boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Of the things I eat, it's the healthiest and the one I most enjoy the taste of (except when I cook it).

I need to find ways to cook it that are first and foremost healthy, which means as little butter and salt as possible. I'm sure there is considerable butter and salt used in the preparation of the chicken breasts I enjoy so much when I eat out, but if I'm not going to cut down on that considerably, why go to the trouble and expense of cooking them myself? I'm not expecting what I cook to be as good as they are; I'd be thrilled if they were just good.

Second, I need to find ways to cook them that are simple, quick, and have easy cleanup. None of the chicken breasts I enjoy in restaurants have sauces, etc. They all have caramelized grillmarks on them, and I'd think they have fairly simple preparations

Maybe I'm just expecting too much. I know I've probably spent 200 bucks on grills, skillets, pans, grillpans, bakeware, cookbooks, etc., and I'm having no success. Honestly, if I don't see results soon, I'm just going to go back to eating out every meal. Living longer isn't necessarily a positive if you're going to be absolutely miserable doing it.

At least I have the cast iron skillet for protection in the event of a home invasion.
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