When you think of eating healthy and dieting, the first thing you probably picture is a heaping green salad with bright red cherry tomatoes, a tender sliced chicken breasts and a small cup of dressing on the side. Honestly, typing that made me a little over excited for lunch.
But, how many times have we attempted this perfect idea of a wholesome meal just to completely destroy our beloved, tender chicken breast and get stuck with a salad drier than the Sahara? Too many times.
Well, that ends today, people.
I’ve found two methods to cooking chicken breasts that have resulted in edible protein versatile enough for several types of menu items throughout the week. If I can get my picky 5 year old to eat chicken prepared in these methods, I should be able to get you guys to, too.
The Slow Cooker
Where all my slow cooker mothers at? Where ya at? I know you’re here. You heard chicken breasts and came running. You know who you are. This first method comes from a wonderful site Gimme Some Oven.
I don’t follow the measurements or recipe to the letter, so here is the jist of what I do. I’ve always used this recipe as a guideline when cooking any chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
- I turn my slow cooker to low, and dump in an entire bag of frozen chicken breasts. I shop at Target for my groceries, so usually just an entire bag of their Market Pantry or Simply Balanced brand is good.
- I add 2 tsp of salt, pepper and garlic powder each – as the linked recipe states.
- I don’t add any additional liquid, because the chicken is usually frozen and retains liquid that way. Trust me, I have never needed the liquid.
If you are looking for a method where you can easily shred the chicken, this is the method. The chicken breasts will hold up solid if you want them to remain whole. Shredded chicken is great for quick salads, tacos, enchiladas, pasta dishes and bbq sandwiches.
Visit the link above to see the original recipe, more recipes to use the shredded chicken in, and other tips and tricks on how to shred chicken, plus more!
Let’s say, you left the house and forgot to put the chicken in the slow cooker, or you don’t have 8 hours to wait, or you just bought fresh chicken and want to cook it immediately but want to somehow get that slow cooked taste. These are all perfect examples of why method #2 is the perfect way to achieve this.
I found this method on The Kitchn, and while I’ll only give you the run-down of the method here I highly recommend you visit their site. They have a video tutorial of this method and tons of notes on what to do and what not to do.
- Flatten and season the chicken breasts. This helps with the tenderization and cooking the breasts evenly.
- Heat a wide, deeper pan to medium-high heat. Make sure this pan has a lid. Add oil and swirl to coat.
- Change the heat to medium and add the chicken breasts. Let cook for 1 minute to brown on one side. Make sure you turn the heat down, as we aren’t actually searing the breasts.
- Flip the chicken and turn the heat to low.
- Cover the pan and let sit for 10 minutes. Walk away, and by all means do not lift the lid. PROMISE ME YOU WON’T LIFT THE LID.
- Without lifting the lid (you promised!) turn off the heat and set the timer for 10 more minutes. Walk away again.
- There should be 21 minutes worth of actual pan-time for the chicken breasts. Once step 6 is done, you may lift the lid and check the internal temps of the breasts. They should be done, or at least they always have been when I’ve completed this process.
This method totally freaked me out the first time I did it, but I’ve done it several times and it turns out great each time. I use this method for when I make curry and soups on the fly.
The biggest differences between these two methods is time. If you have time to prep chicken for a whole week’s worth of meals, I suggest slow cooker. It reheats much better than the stove-top version.
Also, if you’re worried about the oil in method 2 – I’ve done it twice, once where I used barely a tsp of oil and the 2nd time where I just used olive oil spray. They both turned out just fine.
I hope this post will help you in your future endeavors for meal planning and eating healthier!