I don’t know about you but we eat a lot of chicken breast at our house. It can be used in any setting and can take on a lot of different flavors as well as fit into just about every cuisine. As a bonus, all of the picky eaters in my house love chicken. If that weren’t enough of the virtues of chicken breast, it is also very inexpensive. It is $1.99 a pound at my local grocery store and occasionally as low as $1.79. I buy a large 5 pound package at least once a week and often times I will buy two of those big packages.
So, with all that is really great with chicken breast, there is a down side too. It typically can be quite dry. I buy boneless, skinless chicken breast and as you probably already know, that bone and skin help keep the juices in while cooking. We barbecue a lot at our house. I live in the North West and winters aren’t too harsh and I also have a covered back patio so we can barbecue year round. Barbecuing the chicken would give the chicken a great grilled flavor but it would be quite dry. Next, I tried just getting some good grill marks on the chicken and finishing it off in the oven but that still was pretty dry and a lot of steps. I also felt like I was constantly needing to cut up and cook for yet another chicken dish.
So, one day, as I was getting ready to make dinner, I was lamenting the woes of dry chicken and looked at this huge package and just wished I could cook the whole thing for the whole week and somehow it would stay magically moist. Yeah, we’re big dreamers over here! I was thinking if there was only a way to trap all of the juices from evaporating then that would do the trick. I thought about a time when I tried some recipes where I wrapped a fillet of fish and veggies in parchment paper and baked them in the oven and those were moist and delicious. I also remembered one time we went camping and wrapped some chicken in tin foil and in spite of roughing it over a campfire and a lack of seasoning, it turned out great.
That’s when I had my light bulb moment. There’s probably plenty of people who have been doing this for years but I was just late to the party. If you have yet to join this party, I’ll hook you up girlfriend! I got the goods and it couldn’t be more simple!
What I’m about to share with you made four different dinners. I made shredded chicken for a huge dish of Chicken Enchilada Lasagna that I created. If you want the recipe, click here. I also reserved some shredded chicken for my kids chicken tacos. They prefer tacos over enchiladas and I’m happy to oblige, I had one and a half cups of cubed chicken for Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and finally, a sandwich baggie full of shredded chicken for Chicken Pesto Pizza (made with the Holy Grail Pizza Crust.)
First you preheat oven to 375. Then you cut up all the chicken breast that you will need for the week. I generally cut half a chicken breast in half. If they are really large I will cut them to be a bit thinner or flatten slightly with a meat mallet. You want them to all be similar in thickness. Next, you place a piece of tinfoil down on a cookie sheet with the tinfoil edges bent upwards. (I realize many of you don’t like using tinfoil because of the possible harmful metallic chemicals, so feel free to use parchment paper. It works just as well.)
Next, you season with mineral salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings you like. I usually don’t put a lot on the chicken at this point because I season it later depending on what I’m using it for. If you are using it mostly for something like just adding it to a salad then feel free to season it up with some great spices. Then place another sheet of tin foil on top and crimp the edges together so the juices can’t escape. Place in preheated oven for 30 min.
After a half-an-hour, remove chicken and let cool enough until you can safely handle it.
When chicken is safe to handle, shred with two forks, slice or cube depending on what you need for the week and, enjoy! Oh yeah, I usually save the top tinfoil sheet to reuse for next time. It doesn’t get too messy…