Debbie and I try to eat really healthy at least 80% of the time. Part of that includes eating quite a bit of lean meat like chicken breast. Its a protein that is easy to cook, but its not always easy to make perfectly. Unless you know the secret… 😉
Before I knew what I was doing, (ie, before the food network), I NEVER ate baked chicken. I used to chop it up first and fry it in a frying pan and it would get some color, but it would be dry and not very appetizing. I tried baking it in the oven, but it pretty much turned out the same way except for without the color. Sometimes it ended up tasting all rubbery too.
Then one day, I watched a show on the Food Network, cant remember which one, and the host of the show let the viewers in on the secret of how restaurants cook chicken breast to make it juicy and flavorful. Since then, I have never had crappy baked chicken breast again. Now whenever I make it, it has nice color and it is always juicy and tender inside.
The secret is to brown the chicken in a hot pan on both sides and then slide the pan into a pre-heated oven for a few minutes. That’s it!
Of course you can spruce it up a bit if you sprinkle your chicken with herbs and spices before you throw it in the pan or make a quick sauce in the pan once the chicken is done. I often use a Cajun spice or a Greek mixture.
Once you have a bunch of cooked chicken, the possibilities are endless. You can add it to salads, soups, vegetables to make a stir fry, quesadillas, pasta, and countless other dishes. Or, like my daughter, you can just eat it plain. Even plain, she always says its the best chicken shes ever had!
I usually make a bunch of chicken breast every few days or so and then I pre-make my lunches for the week and make sure that I have a few breast left over for dinners for the next couple of days. When I get home from work at 6pm to a hungry man and kid, its nice to have part of the work done for me already and dinner comes together much quicker than if I had to make the chicken from scratch every night.
Its also much easier to make healthy food choices when the protein part of your meal is ready to go.
How to Make the Perfect Baked Chicken Breast
- 4 skinless Chicken Breast
- 1 tbsp . Olive , Coconut or Avocado Oil
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat an oven proof pan to med-high heat.
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
- If you like, sprinkle the chicken with any other herbs or spices you want.
- When the pan is hot, add the oil and allow it to heat up for a min.
- Add the chicken carefully so that the oil doesn't splash you.
- Let it cook for about 3 - 4 mins or until it gets nice and brown underneath. Then flip the chicken to the other side.
- Cook for 2 - 3 mins on the second side and then slide your pan into the oven.
- If your chicken is boneless, cook it for 4 - 5 mins in the oven and then pull it out and let it rest for 5 mins before slicing it.
- If your chicken has the bone on it still, increase the time in the oven to about 10 mins.