If you’re on a healthy eating path, then you should be no stranger to lean protein. Chicken is likely high on your go-to sources, as it is high in muscle-building protein, easy enough to make on the grill, on the stovetop or in your oven, and friendly on your grocery budget. However, if the path is well-worn, chicken, for as versatile as is it is may be, might feel a bit boring lately. Before you ditch that clucker, try these tips to help rekindle your love with the power-packing protein.
Soak It: If you’ve been cooking chicken with same old seasonings, it’s time to blow your mind with mouth-watering marinades. Marinades require a little pre-meal planning, as the way to get the most from your marinade is by allowing your chicken to soak it in for longer hours. However, even 30 minutes will pump up the flavor profile. Marinating is easy: Simply fork-punch a few holes into chicken breasts, put in a freezer bag, pour in the marinade, close up the bag, and let sit in the fridge until it’s time to cook. You can purchase pre-made marinades, but it is usually healthier to make your own at home. Use the following ingredients to find a blend that’s right for you:
- Honey Lemon: fresh squeezed lemon juice, honey, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, salt, pepper
- Cilantro Spice: fresh cilantro, sweet chili sauce, olive oil, minced garlic (pulse in a food processor)
- Island Style: pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, ginger
Coat It: Traditional fried chicken may not be in the cards for your fat-burning meal, but that doesn’t mean your chicken must be kept naked. Dip uncooked chicken in an egg wash and then cover it up with these crunchy coatings to make more of your meal:
- Go Nuts: Use a food processor to crush pecans or walnuts into a crumble. Add other spices to change the flavor, or skip the egg wash and use the marinated chicken from above.
- Basic Bread Crumbs: Panko bread crumbs and a touch of seasoning salt or Parmesan cheese add a nice crunch when baked.
- Coco-Nuts: Use shredded coconut to give your chicken a more Hawaiian flair.
Shred It: No one says you have to eat your chicken breast whole. With two forks, you can shred your chicken for a lot more eating options. Even easier, boil chicken breasts until cooked and put in a standing mixer for hands-free shredding. Once your chicken is all torn up, eat it this way:
- Taco Time: Spice up your chicken bits with chili pepper and cumin, then top with guacamole and salsa atop of corn tortilla.
- Super Salad: Protein pack your salad by topping it with shredded marinated chicken, so that dressing isn’t even necessary.
- Souped-Up Soup: If eating at the office means popping open a can of soup, change it up by adding shredded chicken. Canned soups can sometimes be lacking in protein, so the extra chicken will give it the boost it needs. And when you start with simple bases such as tomato soup or butternut squash soup, you can add in extra flavors and toppings to change the flavor profile completely.
Don’t let boredom sabotage your good eating efforts. Look for new recipes, seasonings, and produce to change up your chicken to keep you eating right for life.
How do you like your chicken? Share with others in the comments!