Ready for another Shout-Out post? Here goes... This time I am highlighting Lisa, someone who's blog I have been following for quite a while now. She is a fellow food blogger, mom, fitness and health professional and is just a few steps away from becoming an RD, yay Lisa! I invite you to check out her blog http://smartfoodandfit.com/ and check out this guest post she gave me on cooking chicken- yum! Thanks Lisa :)
How to bake perfect chicken tenderloins to perfection (chicken breasts too)
Chicken is an all around versatile dish that I like to cook for my family. I like to make a little extra chicken for leftovers for lunch or dinner for the next day or two. Making a little extra chicken makes it a bit easier for me to put a meal together in minutes.
During the warmer months I like to grill my chicken and during the cooler months I like to bake them in the oven or cook them on the stove top in a non stick pan. Today, I’ll be showing you a step by step process on how I like to bake chicken tenderloins to perfection you can use this same method to cook boneless skinless chicken breast too.
Step One - Prepare the chicken.
Rinse chicken breast in running cold water, dry off with a paper towel. Trim visible fat, tendons, etc. Discard or save the scrapes in a freezer safe zip-lock bag when you are ready to make homemade broth.
Step Two - Tenderize.
There a variety of ways to tenderize chicken (or any other muscle meats, lamb, steak, fish, etc.). You can tenderize chicken by marinating it in something acidic like lemon juice or mechanically tenderizing it by pounding it, click HERE for more ideas on tenderizing. Since I am using chicken tenderloin which are smaller and thinner than chicken breasts, I’m going to skip this step and keep my chicken simple.
If you are baking thicker cuts of chicken breasts, make diagonal slits into the breast about ¼ inch deep. This will help the marinade penetrate into the chicken to make it nice and juicy.
Step Three – Marinating the chicken.
a. Marinate the Chicken for a particular flavor. As mentioned above in step two, I like to use an acidic ingredient with oil, spices and herbs. I'll put the chicken in a large ceramic bowl, add the marinade, cover with plastic wrap or in my case cover with glass lid. Let it marinade for at least 3o minutes to 6 hours and then it's good to bake.
Some of my favorite marinades:
• Rosemary Balsamic Dijon Marinade
• Tomato Basil Dressing
• Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette
b. Olive Oil Marinade for Neutral flavor. I like to bake my chicken with a little olive oil, lemon juice, fresh minced garlic (garlic powder works too), black pepper, and salt. This neutral marinade works for me since I like to bake chicken to last me for the next few days to the end of the week to add to my salads or sandwiches.
Step Four - Bake. Bake in a 375° oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, flipping over half way through or until the internal temperature reaches 165° F. Cooking time depends on a number of factors, such as the thickness of chicken breast, the cut of the chicken breast (the smaller the cut, the faster it cooks. Investing in a good meat thermometer is a must to avoid food-borne illnesses.
Creating a tent with tin foil is a good idea to prevent the chicken from drying out. You can place a sheet of foil over the top of baking dish, bake halfway through and then remove the foil and bake for the last 10 minutes or so to get that golden brown color.
TIP: I like to bake my chicken in a glass pyrex baking dish. Feel free to bake chicken on a baking dish lined with tin foil for easy clean up (spray the foil with vegetable spray). In this photo, I baked the chicken half way through and decided to add one packet of TRUE lemon to give it an extra lemony flavor. Then I put them back into the oven to bake for another 8 minutes.