The humble chicken breast can be the base ingredient for so many fabulously quick, easy and tasty meals. I thought it would be fun to come up with a quick reference list so that if you’re ever stuck for an idea, chances are that you might have a couple of chicken breasts kicking around in the freezer and you can be inspired to be on your way to a dinner in minutes.
Throw them in a stir fry.
Cut into thin strips and marinade in your favourite sauces. Cook quickly in a hot wok and toss in any number of delicious vegetables, keeping them crisp and underdone.
Turn it into mince.
Cube chicken breasts and pop in the freezer for half an hour to firm up slightly. Then throw them into a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse mince. Chicken mince is low fat and very versatile. Make them into rissoles, meatballs, meatloaf, lasagne, throw it into a risotto or make a chicken burger.
Skin on works best for baking to get that beautiful crispy skin, but skinless works well too. Season well and combine them with a zesty tomato salsa, sautéed mushrooms or on a bed of mash potatoes and steamed spinach.
Steamed breasts are so healthy. My favourite way to serve them is to warm some peanut and sesame oils in a small pan until very hot. Sprinkle breasts with finely grated ginger and thinly sliced spring onions then douse with the hot oil. Finish with a drizzle of kecup manis.
Stuff and roll them.
You can use store bought pesto, sun dried tomatoes, grilled capsicum, grilled eggplant, ricotta, cheddar cheese and herbs, bacon and cheese, spinach…the possibilities are endless. Beat out the breast thinly, spread on the filling, then roll like a burrito. Close with toothpick then fry over a medium heat to get some colour and finish them off in an oven to cook through.
Use a pre-made spice rub.
There are some great spice blends by Herbie’s Spices available at delis and gourmet shops, but even the supermarkets carry interesting spice blends. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with the spice blend. Don’t forget to check the salt content of your spice blend and season accordingly. Then you can simply pan fry and enjoy intense and diverse flavours.
Is there anything better than a schnitzel? Slice into thin escallops then coat in flour, egg and crumbs before frying. Of course there are nuggets, goujons, chicken parmegana, chicken kiev plus more. Add some dried or fresh herbs, garlic or parmesan cheese to the crumbs for a difference.
Flour them and create a sauce around them.
One of my most favourite ways with chicken breast. A light flour coating on the chicken is a great thickener for a simple pan sauce. After you’ve pan fried the floured breast pieces, deglaze the pan with wine or lemon juice and water then return the chicken to the pan, simmer the sauce and in minutes you’ll have a tasty, thickened sauce.
Throw them on the BBQ.
Marinade them and grill them. Try skewering them to make your own kebabs that children love. I love to cut breasts as thinly as I can and grill them for only a couple of minutes per side for super tender results.
My All In The Pan Creamy Mushroom Chicken is one of my most popular recipes and for good reason – it’s indulgent, comforting and satisfying and everything, including the vegetables are cooked together in the same pan to make for a very quick weeknight dinner.
Place them on top of a salad.
Adding chicken to a salad turns it into a hearty yet light and healthy meal. Almost any salad is a prime candidate for chicken breastification!. Grilled, pan fried, steamed or left over from another meal, all of these are great in a salad.
Make the ultimate chicken burger.
Thin escallops of grilled chicken are a leaner alternative to beef in a burger. I love mayonnaise and chilli sauce along with some spicy robust rocket leaves and tomato.
I hope these ideas get your creative juices flowing and inspire your next chicken meal. Remember with chicken breast, cook it through, but don’t over cook it. Always rest your breast for 5 minutes or so for the juiciest and tender results.
Do you have a favourite thing that you do with chicken breast? Add your ideas in the comments