The easiest method to cook perfect chicken breasts every time!

Go-To Basic Chicken Breasts

It’s no secret that I don’t cook a lot of meat. I actually counted the recipes on my blog. There are 49 entree & appetizer recipes on this blog. 37 of those are vegetarian. Only 6 recipes on the blog actually need meat to be what I would consider successful (i.e. Spicy Orange Glazed Chicken). One of my New Year’s resolutions was to learn to cook more meat. Not really because I feel I need to eat more meat. I’m plenty happy with my chickpeas and quinoa, but I do think not being afraid of raw meat is a good life skill to have. So today, I decided to share my newly discovered go-to way to cook chicken, along with a simple sauce/ marinade that’s super adaptable so you can make it work with whatever you have in mind for the week.

In an attempt to both embrace healthy January and maximize my time during the week, I’ve really been trying to up my meal prep game lately. So far, I’ve gone a couple weeks prepping breakfasts, lunch, and dinner for the week on Sunday. Mostly, it’s a great way to make sure I have food I want to eat all week, but I will admit it can get a little boring to eat the same thing a couple different times in a row. Usually, though, that just motivates me to make sure that my meals are extra delicious so that I’m actually looking forward to them instead of dreading eating “leftovers.” For breakfast I usually make overnight oats – and I’m currently perfecting a coconut version to share with you (I wanted to share it this week, but don’t have the recipe quite right yet). For lunch, I usually make some sort of delicious salad/ bowl combo, and I’ve been really into soup for dinner lately. Let’s be real, probably because you get to eat crackers with it. Really good seeded multi-grain crackers (or rice crackers!) are kind of my jam alongside a bowl of piping hot soup.

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some recipes I’ve loved and re-created in the past couple weeks:
Zoodles with Spinach Chicken Meatballs –> so simple, but SO good
Winter Spa Salad (instead of the chicken, I used the leftover meatballs from the recipe above)
Golden Bell Pepper Soup –> serve with avocado and crackers
Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup –> serve with cubes of apple, chives, and & few peanuts for crunch (oh, and crackers)

 

I also made delicious salad bowls with pork tenderloin and a corn/ tomato/ black bean salsa that I have every intention of sharing with you, but first I have to figure out how to cook pork tenderloin using the broiler without setting off the fire alarm. OOPS. My neighbors almost definitely love me and my tendency to cook at 10pm.

 

OK so now that we’ve covered every other recipe I’ve eaten this month, let’s turn our attention to this chicken, shall we? I knew I wanted something simple and quick for this week since it’s been an activity packed week, and I’m going out of town for the weekend. Read: no extra time for cooking at night or packing lunches. Enter the easiest, most versatile Sunday night chicken for meal-prep. I picked up this technique for cooking chicken from another food blogger, and it’s one that has worked well for even a meat-phobic person like me.

 

The easiest method to cook perfect chicken breasts every time!

 

Here’s what happens: First, in a dutch oven (or even, I wager, a large skillet with a lid), you brown your chicken on one side for a minute or two, then flip the meat, reduce the heat to low and cover it for the remaining cooking time. You’ll let it cook for 10-15 minutes, then turn off the heat, and let it rest (still with the lid on) for 10 more minutes. At the end, you can check your chicken with a meat thermometer (possibly my second favorite cooking utensil in my kitchen), but you should have beautifully cooked chicken that’s super juicy, and just begging to be cut up and put in almost anything you’re making. When I cook this chicken I either use it to add a little protein to a salad, or shred it up and put it in a soup or chili. See how nicely this chicken turns this salad into a meal? Love how easy that is!

 

The easiest method to cook perfect chicken breasts every time!
Consider this sauce your base recipe – you don’t have to use the recipe below, but it’s a nice mellow starting point if you just want some chicken to add to what you’re making for a good protein boost. You could also go with straight olive oil, salt and pepper if you’re making this to put in soup or something like chicken salad. If you’re planning on eating the chicken plain, you might want to spice it up a little more. Try adding your favorite seasoning blend, some more red pepper flakes if you like the heat, or just serve alongside your favorite dipping sauce.

 

 

Now that I’ve gotten cooking the chicken down, I need to learn how to photograph it properly. Maybe the real reason I don’t cook meat is that it’s far too hard to make it look beautiful and appetizing in photos. I think it looks much better tucked in a nice salad bowl. See, meal prep on point, right? ↓ No excuses no with this chicken technique under my belt now!

 

The easiest method to cook perfect chicken breasts every time!

 

Go-To Basic Chicken Breasts

Time: 25 minutes
Yield: Sauce makes about 1/2 cup
Cooking Method from: Domesticate Me Idiot-Proof Chicken Breasts

Ingredients:

Basic Sauce/ Marinade:

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

3 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Teaspoons curry powder

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Chicken:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Make sauce: in a small container, combine all ingredients and shake or whisk to combine. Feel free to leave out or sub spices as desired (for example, I didn’t have cilantro on hand when I made this – still delicious!).

In a dutch oven (or large pot/ skillet with a tight-fitting lid), heat tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add chicken breasts (seasoned with salt & pepper). Pour sauce on top as desired (I typically use about half the recipe for 2 chicken breasts) Brown on one side for 1-2 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Flip the chicken, turn the heat down to low, and cover the pot. Let cook on low for 10-15 minutes. I usually cook for the full 15 minutes, as I find the chicken breasts I buy to be pretty thick. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off, but do not lift the lid. Allow the chicken to cook for 10 more minutes.

After the full 20-25 minutes, remove the lid and transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board. Chicken should read at least 165°F on a meat thermometer, or you can just slice the chicken to make sure it’s fully cooked. Shred the chicken to put in soups or stews, or slice it to top salads.