7 Ways to Freshen Up Your Fowl

A guide to enlivening the commonplace, ordinary, and terribly boring chicken

Chicken brown rice and broccoli,
Chicken brown rice and broccoli,
Chicken spinach and broccoli,
Are you bored yet?
Chicken brown rice and broccoli,
Chicken spinach and broccoli.
Chicken brown rice and broccoli

ENOUGH!!!

If you feel like your dietary goals (weight loss in particular) are turning your meals into a broken record it’s time to change tracks!  Now I’m all for chicken breast and two servings of vegetables (sometimes a starch if it is post workout) but gosh I get tire of looking at my plate and having a peace symbol stare back at me all the time.  Protein, Veggie, Veggie can get so tiresome.

Now lets tackle the protein part of that equation first and get a fresh outlook on chicken:

chicken wrapped and stuffed

chicken wrapped with prosciutto and stuffed with skim milk mozzarella and roast red bell pepper

America loves chicken.  In fact the average American may eat more  than 66.5lbs of chicken annually (USDA.gov)  more than beef, pork, or fish (about 4x the amount of fish actually).  But have you ever wondered why everything tastes like chicken?  Maybe it’s because the average white chicken meat has little discernible flavour of its own.  It’s an awesome source of lean complete protein and a favourite among the health conscious but  can be a bit lacking in the flavour department.  Some people solve this problem by breading and deep-frying it or perhaps drowning it in some kind of butter or cream sauce.  Though this can certainly produce some tasty morsels these kinds of foods are not exactly healthy and why go through all the trouble to make something that will ultimately lead me further from my goals.  No, instead we will focus our efforts towards preparations that not only please the palate but also bolster health, strengthen your immune system, decrease body fat, and bla bla bla all that other stuff nutritionists are trying to sell you on.

 

Let’s make some food that will both helps us achieve our goals and that we look forward to eating.  Make the process enjoyable and weigh loss/fitness will never feel like a chore.  So without further ado here are 7 ways you can both have your cake and eat it too (or pie… chicken pot pie as the case may be).

1. Shred it:
You can easily pre-cook large batches of chicken breast in your crockpot then shred with two forks.  Why would anyone want to do that?  Because once it is shredded it has the amazing ability to soak up sauces like a tangy yogurt sauce or salsa or buffalo sauce.  Be creative.  Put this on top of a bed of spinach nestled next to a dollop of sour cream (reduced-fat or fat-free please) for a wonderful salad.

2. Stuff it:
Make a stuffing by combining herbs, a little bit of no sugar added dried fruit (cherries work well), and a handful of ground nuts (almonds work well).  Slice a pocket in the side of the chicken and fill with a table-spoon of this stuffing. Sear the chicken to develop that wonderful crust and finish in the oven till the internal temp hits 160.  Try this in place of the usual chicken, brown rice, broccoli trifecta.

3. Stew it:
Chicken breast is an excellent candidate for a variety of wonderful stews.  Check out this post for an awesome Asian chicken and coconut soup.

4.Wrap it:
By wrapping the chicken breast with just a little bit of very thinly sliced prosciutto you can dramatically increase the flavour without adding too many unwanted calories.  A mediterranean cucumber and olive salad would make a beautiful anytime meal.

5.Cube it:
How about chicken kebabs? Dice the chicken breast into large cubes and skewer the meat.  I like to cook skewered veggies at the same time like bell pepper, cauliflower, red onion, etc.

6. Grind it
You can grind your own chicken breast in a food processor or buy  pre-ground (just make sure it is ground chicken breast and they didn’t add any junk to it). What to do once ground?  How about a chicken meatloaf, or chicken burgers, or chicken meatballs, or stuffed zucchini, taco salad, you name it!  Serve with mashed cauliflower and green beans.

7. Sous Vide it:
Say huh!?  Yeah, Sous Vide. It’s French that automatically makes it better in the food world right…?  Anyway, it means “under vacuum” and is all the rage in the professional kitchen and catering companies right now.  Why? Because it produces unparalleled results of tender, juicy, flavorful meat from the lowliest of cuts. How? you seal the chicken with whatever flavors you are using and cook it at a low temperature (145-150°F) water bath for a long time (3.5 hours) and it never overcooks and produces some pretty amazing results.  The flavours really intensify and you are left with a succulent, juicy, and tender chicken breast.  (I know, I know 145-150° isn’t safe for chicken you say, but it actually can be perfectly safe if it is HELD at this temperature for a prescribed time)  You’ll just have to stay tuned for this one as I cover more about the wonderful possibilities of cooking with a sous vide device.

chicken breast sous vide on salad

chicken breast sous vide on salad w/ lemon-yogurt salad dressing over a spinach and pistachio salad

I hope that was enough to whet your appetite.  Now ask yourself:

Do I feel like chicken tonight?

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