10 Things to do with Chicken Breasts
Running out of ways to cook this quick and easy staple? Here are 10 tasty new ideas.
Chicken breasts are the busy cook's salvation. When you have a late night at work, they defrost in a jiff and cook up just as quickly. But admit it: You're stuck in a rut, always returning to the same three or four tired preparations. Ready for some new ideas?
Inject your culinary repertoire with a little variety and try these deliciously easy takes on the ultimate quick dinner:
Use a Spice Rub
Mix together ground spices and create your own exotic flavours. Our favourite combinations are:
- rosemary, parsley, oregano and lemon zest
- cumin, paprika, chilli powder, oregano and a pinch of cayenne
Massage the mixture into the chicken breasts, then refrigerate for at least four hours, or up to 12 hours. Grill or sauté chicken breasts for about 20 minutes on a medium-high heat.
Place the breasts on a sheet of foil or greaseproof paper. Try one of these two toppings:
- halved cherry tomatoes, sliced fennel and lemon wedges for a Mediterranean twist
- coriander, soy sauce, Chinese five spice powder and a splash of sherry for a Chinese take
Bake in a 220°C oven for about 20 minutes.
Pound Them Flat
Arrange the breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap, then pound them to 1/4-inch thickness with a heavy saucepan or rolling pin. Spread one of these two mixtures over the breasts:
- frozen, chopped spinach, dill and Dijon mustard
- chopped, fresh rocket, diced tomatoes and rosemary
Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Roll up the breasts with the filling inside and place the rolls seam side down in the casserole dish. Bake at 220°C for about 30 minutes, basting them twice with a splash of cranberry juice for added zest.
Try a Stir Fry
Cut the breasts into strips. Spray a wok with non-stick cooking spray, then sauté minced garlic, shredded ginger and chopped spring onions over high heat. Add the chicken strips, some vermouth and a splash of soy sauce; stir fry for two minutes. Toss in sliced carrots, broccoli florets or watercress; continue stir frying until the chicken is cooked through.
Use Pre-Made Sauce
Chop the breasts into one-inch cubes, and then mix them in a saucepan with your favourite bottled pasta sauce. Cook the chicken mixture over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through; serve over pasta or brown rice.
Cut the breasts into strips and steam them with your favourite vegetables and an aromatic herb. For an Asian twist, try snow peas, shiitake mushrooms and crushed lemongrass. Discard the lemongrass before serving.
Cut the breasts into small pieces then slide them onto metal skewers, or wooden skewers soaked in water for 20 minutes. Add on your veggies of choice: onion wedges, green pepper slices or butternut squash. Grill the skewers for about 20 minutes. Baste occasionally with apple juice to add a sweeter twist.
As you prepare the breasts, follow these three general tips:
Don't poke the breasts with a fork. Use tongs or a spatula to turn the breasts over the heat. Every hole in the meat allows moisture to escape.
Salt them at the end. Salt pulls out moisture; only add it to a completed chicken dish, just before serving.
Let the breasts rest. After the cooking is done, let the breasts sit at room temperature for five minutes before serving so that the natural juices can reincorporate into the meat.