Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Swimming with the chicken breasts

Meat – I do not like cooking it.
I either…
  burn it
  dry it out
  undercook it
  kill it
  turn it into rubber
I rarely cook it correctly. Even if I have a thermometer – it’s just not my thing.
I knew we were having potato wedges and the oven would be at 450 – seemed too high to cook chicken – but to google I went to see if baking the chicken was a possibility. Shockingly the answer was yes! The sites actually suggested that was a great idea! Cook it fast and hot – keep the juices in. The key to this method was to brine the chicken for 15 minutes – well dang that’s easy enough. I stuck a thermometer in and hoped for the best. Amazingly the chicken was done at the same time as the wedges, it was juicy and done. Yes, it was cooked! Not burnt or dry or rubbery even!
I feel like the moment I knew I won over the chicken was Nicholas asking for more and more and more meat. Yes, he’s a good eater – but he doesn’t like yuck food… he’s smart that way. So thankful I finally found a method for cooking chicken, kind of sad it’s taken me this many years to figure it out.

Baked Chicken Breasts
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, that have been pounded to even thickness and brined in saltwater (*see easy instructions below)
1 Tablespoon melted butter or olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
*To brine your chicken breasts, simply fill a large bowl with 1 quart of warm water and 1/4 cup kosher salt. Stir to combine until most of the salt is absorbed. Add the chicken breasts and let them sit in the mixture to brine for 15 minutes. Or you can also also cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Remove the chicken breasts from the brine, rinse them with cold water, then pat them dry with some paper towels. (Again, though, if your chicken breasts are sold pre-brined in a sodium solution, skip this step.)
Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in a large baking dish. Brush on both sides (turning once) evenly with the melted butter or olive oil.
In a separate small bowl, whisk the salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika until combined. Then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the chicken on both sides.
Bake for 15-18* minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. If you use a cooking thermometer to measure the temperature thickest part of the breast, it should be between 160-170 degrees F. (The FDA recommends 170 degrees F.)

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