Cooking Chicken Breasts

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Chicken is a common food around the world – it is so versatile and easily adapted to different flavour profiles in a wide array of dishes. It is also a good source of protein, and without the skin it is low in fat. Chicken breast has around 30 g of protein in 100 g of meat. To put that into context, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 g/kg for adults (of course, protein needs vary from one person to another depending on activity level and health conditions). So an average healthy person who weighs 70 kg (154 pounds) would need about 56 g of protein on a daily basis – 100 g of chicken already gets you halfway there.

Getting enough protein is not an issue for most of us – no need to count grams, but try to include a variety of different protein sources in balanced meals. The latest version of Canada’s Food Guide suggests filling half your plate with vegetables/fruit, a quarter with protein (that would be the chicken in this case), and the remaining quarter with whole grains. 

I wanted to know just how popular chicken is, and found some stats from 2016 showing Canadians ate 32.5 kg (71.5 pounds!) of chicken per capita that year. That’s a lot of chicken! So I’m sure most of you already have a few favourite ways to prepare chicken breasts, but if you want to try something new, hopefully some of the recipes below will inspire you. 

Before you get cooking – when it comes to thawing frozen chicken breasts, the safest way is in the refrigerator. Don’t thaw it at room temperature where nasty bacteria like to grow. 

Recipes

  • Oven baked chicken breast – this is a simple recipe to make a juicy baked chicken breast. You could serve it with rice or potatoes and some nice roasted vegetables or salad.
  • Grilled cilantro lime chicken – if you don’t like cilantro, don’t worry – the author gives alternatives! This would go well with a quinoa or bean and corn salad.
  • Chicken burrito bowl – this uses mostly pantry and freezer ingredients for a yummy bowl. You could mix up the veggies to customize it to your own preferences

And here is a recipe from my fiance for Greek chicken wraps (the recipe serves 4-8, depending on your appetite):

Greek Chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped/diced
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper

Greek Salad (this makes extra to have on the side or for leftovers)

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 green pepper
  • ~300 g grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a small red onion
  • 100 g feta
  • Olive oil, oregano, pepper

Wrap Ingredients

  • 8 pita wraps
  • 227 g Tzatziki (President’s Choice brand is great!)

Prepare the Chicken

  1. Slice the chicken into strips (time-saving tip: you can use kitchen shears so you don’t have to get a chopping board dirty)
  2. Marinade the chicken in all those tasty bits and pieces, for 30 mins to 24 hours (if you don’t have time to marinade, then you can always just mix everything together and put it in the frying pan – marinading will be better though)
  3. Pan fry in large non-stick frying pan until chicken is browned on outside and cooked all the way through

Prepare the Salad

  1. Chop everything other than the tomatoes up (leftovers tip – if you don’t chop up the tomatoes, the salad keeps better as you don’t expose the other vegetables to the acidic tomato juice)
  2. Season with olive oil, oregano and pepper

Wrap Things Up

  1. Heat the pita wraps in the oven – not too long, just enough to get warm and chewy, but not crunchy
  2. Slather on a healthy helping of tzatziki
  3. Load up with chicken and salad
  4. Serve some extra salad on the side
  5. If you’re really hungry, go back for seconds!
  6. Pro tip: get extra pitas to dip in the Tzatziki
The final product!

Let me know in the comments below if you try any of these recipes, or if you have a favourite recipe for chicken breasts!

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