Chicken, we eat it at least twice a week, often 3 times, sometimes even 4. So I have had my fair share with chicken and everything that entails it. I’m sure, if you are a meat eater, you consume chicken often. Maybe even more than we do. It’s cheap (compared to most meats anyways) and it’s incredibly versatile- you see it in everything from soups to rice dishes to crammed in between tortillas. You can really sculpt chicken into something amazing. Since chicken is so popular, I thought I would share a few tricks I have learned about it on my chicken ventures.
- Shredding Chicken: On my instagram last week, I shared a clever shredding tip that comes in handy with chicken but there are so many recipes involving shredded chicken- soups, casseroles, quesadillas, shredded chicken is everywhere. Now, when I first began cooking, I would sit down and take two forks and spend 10 minutes or more shredding the meat and coming up with uneven shreds. It took too long for something I wasn’t even that pleased with. Then I remembered hearing some where forever ago that taking a hand mixer to meat shreds it much easier. So I gave it a try and haven’t went back.
- Taking the stink out of boiled chicken: I don’t know about you, but nothing (well maybe some things but this is a biggie) churns my stomach more than the smell of boiled chicken. I don’t know what about it makes me want to run and hide 10 miles away from my house but it does. It is one of the worst smelling things I ever
dodid in my kitchen. For shredding, like we talked about above, the easiest method is to boil the chicken and then shred. Since my household loves Mexican food (tons of shredded chicken) I was having to do this often but found myself shying away from things that required boiling chicken. When I was tired of just avoiding some really yummy foods, I went to the drawing board. In order to avoid that icky smell, add some chicken broth cubes to your water. This zaps the smell away and actually adds flavor. I now always keep the cubes on hand. If you are making something that you can add even more flavor into the water, go for it! Just make sure it won’t throw off your recipe too much. Last night I made chicken fried rice and added in teriyaki sauce and some garlic, mmm.
- Quicker boiling chicken: When my husband went to second shift, so did I. I began making meals before he went to work because I loved our family dinners. This ended up cutting into our time more than I had liked so I went searching for ways to cut down on cook time. I began prepping everything I could the night before. When it came to boiling chicken, I realized I could even do this over night. All you have to do is pop in your chicken in the slow cooker, cover with water, throw in some broth cubes, and your chicken is ready to shred when you wake up. Cooking times differ with each crock pot so adjust to your crock pot. Mine can cook on low for about 4 hours and be there, it then switches to warm.
- Getting more bang for your
buckchicken: Last year, my husband and I began buying organic chicken. Organic Chicken is a little pricey and was making our already way too high grocery budget even higher. It’s more expensive ($9-$11 for 3 breasts) but we didn’t want to go back to the other breasts, we didn’t want to cut back on chicken meals, so we were up in the air. And then my husband came up with this idea after examining them one day that they should be cut in half width wise and it would double our chicken.He was more interested in a better portion size (a honking 8 ounce chicken breast can sometimes be too much) and I had been pounding and tenderizing the chicken as it was to make it not so thick in the middle (it can easily become dry and flavorless when it’s too thick and have you seen how thick the chicken breasts are lately), so this wasn’t causing us to cut back on chicken. So now we get 6 breasts for $11 instead of 3. Which is two meals! This has helped our grocery budget and the flavor of our meals because the chicken ends up being the perfect thickness. I highly suggest doing this!
- A better breading: Something I never did when I first began cooking was dip it in flour first and then the egg mixture and then the flour again. I also didn’t think to season the flour. Double coating your chicken helps the breading so much and making sure to season your flour (with salt and pepper for basic recipes or you can get fancy and season with garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, the works) will never disappoint when it comes to a flavorful breading.
I labeled this part one because I know I will be back with even more chicken tips one day as much as I cook with it. I wanted to start off with some 5 basic tips at first.
And as always, when cooking poultry, remember to heat it to at least 165 degrees and wash everything it came into contact with. These aren’t so much tips as they are important steps for every chicken adventure.
What rookie mistakes did you make when you first started cooking? I would love to hear about them! :)