Often times when someone thinks of what they are going to eat to either gain muscle or to diet the food that comes to mind first is often chicken breast. That boring, bland, skinless, white chicken meat. Over the years I've surely had my fair share of chicken breast. Often times nearly choking down some over cooked chewy, dry piece of chicken in the name of "making gains"... Over that time I have tried hundreds of recipes and to be honest although I can certainly tolerate it I never truly enjoyed it. So I started to dig deeper and not accept the fact that there is nothing I could do to make it enjoyable. What I found was my chicken breast failures were a combination of how I was cooking them and over complicated recipes. After much trial and tribulation this is what I learned and how I 'slayed the dragon'.
1. Stop over cooking chicken breast.
If your like me your always concerned about undercooked chicken and the byproduct of that is we tend to over cook it. A chicken breast can go from done to an over cooked dry chewy mess in the matter of 5 to 10 minutes. Eventually I learned although that the recommended internal cooking temperature is 165 I was pulling them out at 180 or 190 at that point you might as well be chewing on a piece of shoe leather and no matter of seasoning or sauces are going to save you. So then I bought an electronic meat thermometer but even when I would pull them out at 165 just be sitting on the counter they continued to cook to northward of 170-175. So eventually I figured out if I pulled them out 160 and let them sit they would land right about or slightly above that perfect 165. This did make them less dry but it opened up the door to the next problem...
2. Stop cooking the breast whole.
Truth is even once you master the cooking temperature you can only sauce and season the whole breast so much. Once you start cutting into that thing you are still left with a somewhat bland piece of meat with some sauce or seasoning on the outside. So I found a better way to cook the breast is to take a pair of meat scissors and cut it into nuggets. Except after you cut it, instead of baking them in the oven take a non stick pan spray a little non stick spray in it and cooking them in a pan. Don't over flow the pan, leave some room around them I'd say you can cover 70% of the pan with breast pieces but leave some room for them. Let them char a little on the outside them flip them over, let them cook some on the other side then kind of keep mixing them around. As far as seasoning the, for now don't over think it. Simply season them with salt and pepper at this point. As you think they are getting done just take a few chunks and slice them in half right in the pan if they are cooked thru pull them out. Since you are letting them char a little on the outside this will actually hold the juices in better and they will not be dried out chunks. Once a couple check out good get them out of the pan and place them aside. Put the next batch in a repeat
3. Final touches.
Now you have a bunch of nuggets completed cooking with only salt and pepper on them. If you were cooking a big batch simply let them cool and refrigerate them, we will but the finishing touches on them when they are ready to be eaten. Now, whether you are eating them now or in the future the final touch is simply taking the amount you want to eat place them in a bowl and use a low calorie sugar free chicken sauce from G Hughes. They make all types of fantastic low calorie sauces. I usually opt for the Mango Habanero, or Caribbean Jerk. They are only 5 calories per tablespoon and 1 use 2 tablespoons per every 6oz of Chicken. Simply measure out the sauce, dump it on top and mix in a bowl. If you are reheating apply the sauce before putting them in the microwave.
And that's pretty much it, I feel that is the best way to make chicken breast its tasty and not your typical bland piece of dried white meat. 6oz with 2 tbs of G Hughes sauce is only 175 calories with 36 grams of protein. The volume of food to calorie ratio is some of the best you can get.
I'll link the sauces I use underneath this post, I can vouch for the Mango Habanero and Caribbean Jerk but I'm sure they all are great.