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Old 05-03-2010, 08:54 AM   #51
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One thing that I like to do with chicken is cut it up into bite sized pieces before I cook it. I heat a pan with a little olive oil. Once it is hot I throw in the chicken (which I have salted) and cook until browned. Then I pour in a jar of one of the many Trader Joes sauces they have. I throw in a handful of frozen veggies then slap a cover on the pan and let everything heat through. I serve this over rice or couscous or some other grain. I find it a very easy, healthy, flavorful way to cook chicken. You might not have a Trader Joes near you, but don't let that stop you. There are other premade sauces in jars in the regular supermarket.
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Old 05-03-2010, 01:05 PM   #52
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Great minds think alike GB - lol!! I LOVE to do that too. In fact, I probably use boneless skinless chicken breasts (& thighs) cut into bitesize pieces more than any other manner. I too use them with the Trader Joe "simmer sauces". In addition, the many different Trader Joe vegetable bruschetta spreads & chutneys - thinned with a little chicken stock - also make nice sauces for both chicken & shrimp (their "Tomato Chutney" is fabulous as a shrimp "simmer sauce"!).

Bite-size boneless skinless chicken also makes regular appearances in many different Asian-style stirfries - also a fast & wonderfully healthy way to eat.

I would have brought all this up sooner, but the OP seemed to only be interested in whole-breast grilling here.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:08 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by SeanCan'tCook View Post
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.
Sean, you will gradually have to train your tastebuds to appreciate more subtle flavorings if the over-amped and MSG laden dry rubs, marinades, and injectables used by fast food establishments appeal to you. Try a free range chicken instead of one raised on a factory farm by the battery method. I can tell you that eating chicken in France, at a decent restaurant, is like eating a difference species animal altogether - much more natural chicken flavor. Free range chicken from the US is not quite as good but a vast improvement over the Bag 'O Breasts you are probably buying at the supermarket.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:11 PM   #54
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I have had a grill pan like this for a year and really like it. I don't clean it every time, only when the grooves look too gunky to put anything else on. Rinsing with hot water keeps it clean enough and a stiff brush dedicated to cleaning just this pan works fine. Forget the steel wool stuff. Scrub while running hot water down the grooves. I have some 100 year old cast iron pieces so well seasoned that NOTHING ever sticks, but I do run hot water and sometimes a bit of soap into them for cleaning.

You can toast bread for crossini on it too.
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:59 AM   #55
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OK, so I decided to go back to basics. I got one of those dry McCormick Grill Mates marinade mixes. Threw 1/4 cup of olive oil in the blender, replaced the 1/4 cup of water the directions called for with 1/4 cup of chicken stock, mixed it up, and poured it over 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a small, square Pyrex container. 6 hours later, I turned the chicken breasts over in the marinade and stuck them back in the refridgerator.

Here's where I thought I might've screwed things up, cause I forgot all about them for three days. They had a kind of greenish tint to them, but I decided to try cooking them up, anyway.

I took my 12" non stick pan, put in a little bit of olive oil and let it pre-heat while I patted the breasts dry with paper towels, then seared both sides, then put them in a covered Pyrex casserole dish, poured the rest of the marinade over them and finished them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

I let the meat rest for 10 minutes, then cut off a piece of one and let Lily the Sabre-Toothed Retriever look it over. She gobbled it right up, tail wagging all the way, so I figured the three-day marinade and greenish tint hadn't hurt it, so I plated one for myself.

It was the best I'd ever cooked for myself, by far. Moist, tender, and full of flavor.

Not just that, but the pan cleaned up with a few wipes of the sponge. No crud stuck to it at all.

A few thoughts:

* With the flat pan, more area of the chicken breast is caramelized than with the grillpan. I think this improves the flavor.

* The cleanup on the blender is kind of a drag, so I got a small 2 cup graduated container with a screw on top for mixing my marinades in the future.

* I think finishing them off in the oven in the covered casserole dish is what keeps them moist and tender, trapping the moisture within the casserole.

* I'm not really sure what effect the 3 1/2 day marinade had on the taste, I put some more in the fridge to marinate last night, and will cook them today to see (unless i forget).

* I got some liquid smoke to try to see if it adds a little more whang to it.

* I'm not sure what the cast iron pan offers in flavor over the non stick pan, I sure never noticed it. Even if it did, the ease of cleanup with the non stick pan more than offsets the nightmare of scrubbing and scrubbing those cast iron pans.

Now if I can just find two or three variatons on this for different flavors, I think I'll be set.
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:35 AM   #56
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That's great! I'm glad you found a solution.

A couple of points:

In no case does the pan add flavor. It allows you to manage heat in a certain way.

You could get the same results with a SS or CI skillet.

After browning the chicken on the stove top, I just pop the pan and chicken into a preheated oven. I don't add marinade back and I don't cover it.

The key to moist chicken is to not over cook it. For average sized chicken breasts, after browning, they need only 13-15 minutes in a 325F oven to be completely cooked. Not hotter. Not longer.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:27 PM   #57
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The coating on grilled pan are easy to come off. I have one similar before. I have not tried this yet, just my concern.
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:49 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanCan'tCook View Post
OK, so i just got my Lodge Logic square grillpan:

https://secure.lodgemfg.com/storefro...idProduct=3940

I've been wanting one for awhile. I would've preferred a larger one, but the price of the few larger ones I could find was way too much; this one was just 19.95.

It says it is pre-seasoned, but does it need more? If so, how much?

Also, what about care? I know you should never use soap on it, but I seem to remember my old granny cleaning her beloved cast iron frying pan with just salt, and talking about the more stuff you cooked in it without washing, the better stuff tasted.
I always season any new CI before I use it. The 'pre-seasoned' is IMHO quite a joke. If you look at a new pre-seasoned next to a proper seasoned, the difference is huge. Pre has a dull/matte dark gray look to it, while a proper CI looks jet black & shiney.

Preheat the oven to 350*f, coat heavily every inch of the CI with lard or shortening. Bake it upside down for an hour, turn off the heat, and let it cool down in the oven.
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:55 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshatdot View Post
The 'pre-seasoned' is IMHO quite a joke.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshatdot View Post
Pre has a dull/matte dark gray look to it, while a proper CI looks jet black & shiney.
I think you are confused as to the purpose of the pre-seasoning. The jet black shiny look is what you get after seasoning and using (thus adding to the seasoning) over time. If you were to season your pan at home the first time it would not be jet black and shiny. That takes time and repeated use and seasoning.

The pre-seasoning is just the initial seasoning that needs to be done. This way you can start using the pan right away after giving it a quick wash. The process that Lodge uses is basically exactly the same process as what they recommend you do at home, just on a larger scale. The pre-seasoning was never designed to the be end of the seasoning process, just the very first step so those who were scared to use CI because seasoning intimidated them would be able to jump right in and not have to worry.
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Old 06-10-2010, 05:33 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
I think you are confused as to the purpose of the pre-seasoning. The jet black shiny look is what you get after seasoning and using (thus adding to the seasoning) over time. If you were to season your pan at home the first time it would not be jet black and shiny. That takes time and repeated use and seasoning.

The pre-seasoning is just the initial seasoning that needs to be done. This way you can start using the pan right away after giving it a quick wash. The process that Lodge uses is basically exactly the same process as what they recommend you do at home, just on a larger scale. The pre-seasoning was never designed to the be end of the seasoning process, just the very first step so those who were scared to use CI because seasoning intimidated them would be able to jump right in and not have to worry.
Mine always turn out black & shiney when I 1st season them with the method I described.
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