Cooked By TFW: Chicken 101

Happy Second Week of the New Year, y'all! How are your goals coming along? Mine? I'm working on getting back to a slimmer walking weight (195lbs), getting my mental health back on track (today is day 28 on my antidepressants and most of the side effects are starting to subside/stabilize), and staying awesome (11,583 days and counting!). 

Before we hop into this week's recipe, my obligatory, non-food-related rant to pad the word count on this post: Season 4 of Steven Universe is now available on Hulu. "What is Steven Universe," you ask? Simply put… It's one of the best cartoons on TV right now. I can't tell you how many times I've binged the entire series over the last year. It's visionary and genius… and each episode is only 11 minutes long. Imagine a children's cartoon that gracefully tackles heavy adult situations like… oooooh, self-worth, codependency, consent, sex, toxic masculinity, abusive relationships, grief, interracial dating, incarcerated people… bruh, November 2016, they had an episode about handling your Trump-supporting family members during Thanksgiving. 11-minute episodes. Children's show. Ridiculous. It's also hilarious and has great music… Honestly, you owe it to yourself to give it a try… and if you have kiddos, let them check it out, too!

Anywho, this week's recipe is another cooking basic. As I mentioned last week, I want this blog to serve as a guideline to help y'all eat better. Last year, we hopped right into recipes without making sure folks who are culinary novices know the essential stuff. Back in October, we did Rice 101. This week, we're tackling the protein I consume the most: chicken! 

My god! It's full of protein!

My god! It's full of protein!

Chicken is a great source of protein while being naturally low-fat and pretty cost-effective. I am a fan of chicken breast. My favorite store – Costco, of course –  sells 6-packs of chicken breasts (2-3 breasts per pack) for about $20-25. They also sell similar packs of chicken thighs, Coach LA's preferred cut. Whichever you decide to use, chicken is a – say it with me, kids – VERSATILE protein! We've already gone over several different ways to prepare it in this blog, and we'll definitely go over several more recipes in the future. Today, I want to talk about a really quick and easy way to prepare chicken after a tough day at the gym. 

First, however, a quick safety pro-tip: I know some folks rinse off their raw chicken before cooking it… DON'T!!!! I'm a cooking germaphobe. I love cooking with chicken, but I am deathly afraid of catching salmonella and/or E.coli. Washing your meat before cooking is a great way to spread all of that nonsense to your entire kitchen. Only a Chad would wash his meat (there are so many jokes I could make right now, but let's keep it PG). #SayNoToChads

HERE WE GO!

Ingredients

Bruh… It's pretty simple: Chicken Breast, salt and pepper to taste, and a couple spritz of cooking spray.

Directions

Cooking chicken breast is super dang easy, y'all, especially if you're using a Cast Iron Skillet. Preheat your oven to 415º. For the best sear, you want to pat-dry your unrinsed chicken breast with a paper towel. Please see the visual below.

I took way too many pictures this week for such a simple recipe. 

I took way too many pictures this week for such a simple recipe. 

Your breast shouldn't have much fat on it, but if it does, do your best to cut it off and feed to your dog. Dogs love raw chicken. They have iron stomachs and intestines filled with good bacteria that allows them to safely consume and digest raw meat. Please see the visual below.

Hey, it's Rosco! Please note the small puddle of drool by his feet. 

Hey, it's Rosco! Please note the small puddle of drool by his feet. 

I've mentioned elsewhere before that you should pound your chicken breast. Taking a mallet to your meat ensures uniformed thickness, which allows for an even cook. Lay your chicken smooth side-down and place a sheet of plastic wrap over it. Why? The same reason you don't wash your chicken: you're going to be hitting the crap out of it and don't want to spread raw chicken juices all over your kitchen… Or maybe you do! I don't know your life! For those who don't want to die from a completely preventable case of Sallie Mae (because, like the lending company, salmonella will ruin your life), please see the visual below.

I'm really trying to pad this simple post with words and pictures. You're welcome!

I'm really trying to pad this simple post with words and pictures. You're welcome!

Let's assume you're using a Cast Iron Skillet, at this point, you'll want to preheat that on the stove over medium heat for a few minutes. Spray a little cooking spray in there while you're at it. You do this because adding cold meat to a cold cast iron is going to make it stick to the skillet.

Meanwhile, add some salt and pepper to the smooth side of chicken breast. Once your skillet is preheated, turn it up to medium-high and add your chicken, seasoned-side down. While it's searing, season the other side of the chicken. After 2 minutes, flip the breast over and let it sear for 30 seconds. Pop it in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the meat is cooked through. More visuals coming! 

Bingo Bongo! (That's a Steven Universe reference) And there you have it! A quick and healthy protein prepared in about 15 minutes. Pair it with your favorite side (Puréed Sweet Potato anyone?) and chow down! Add your favorite seasonings and share your delicious bird boob on all the social medias using the hashtag #CookedByTFW. And – as always – thank me in the morning!

I put Italian Seasoning on this one… I feel like it clumped together a little too much, but I'm a perfectionist. 

I put Italian Seasoning on this one… I feel like it clumped together a little too much, but I'm a perfectionist. 

Tym Gooden