South Beach Diet - I am scared of chicken

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05-10-2010, 04:07 PM
Hi, my name is Jenny, and I am scared of chicken. Seriously. Give me steak or fish anyday. I think my fear stems from the first time I did SBD, when all I could do was throw a chicken breast in a George Foreman grill and watch in horror as I pulled out a tough, chewy mess. Or I'd throw it in a pan and end up with chicken burnt on the outside and pink on the inside.

I know there are ways to have good chicken. Good, cheap, healthy ways to cook it.

So what I am asking from my fellow Chicks on the Beach is: how do you cook your chicken? My limitations are that it either needs to be in a pan (saute, cast iron, or nonstick) or baked in the oven. I don't have access to a grill right now.

My biggest fear is getting a big piece of gristle, or dealing with something flavorless and bleh. Or just something pink. So instructions on the temperature of the stove (I'm working with electric) or time per side would be helpful, even if they're just estimations, or a tried and true way that you've learned to cook it yourself!

If there are great sauces or marinades that you know of, throw them my way.

Please, help me not be so terrified of this great, cheap, protein source!

05-10-2010, 04:15 PM
Just buy precooked grilled fajita chicken strips and throw them in your fridge. I use a meat probe put in in the thickest part of the breast leave the temp control outside the stove or course and perfect chicken. It beeps when it hits the temp.

05-10-2010, 04:30 PM
The precooked fajita strips may have sugar or starch in the seasoning plus a lot of salt - not a good choice for South Beach.

Check out our Phase I Entree section. Salsa chicken is a fave of mine - quick, easy and cheap.

I'm sure the other Beachies will be in with suggestions. Be brave!

05-10-2010, 04:56 PM
LOL. Great post Jenny, don't be scared! My favorite way is the grill, but the pan is just as good!

If you are scared of it being pink or overcooked, I would say the easiest way to ensure they are all cooked nicely is to cut it in small pieces BEFORE you put it in the sautee pan, nice thin slices (1/4 to 1/2 inch) will cook evenly and you can see when they are done (opaque and nice and juicy looking). Med heat for 5-10 mins in a tsp of heated olive oil would be a gross estimate, but it definitely depends on your pan, stove, chicken size, etc. I have a gas stove so I don't know if that translates. Use boneless skinless chicken breast - it is the easiest way to cook chicken IMO.

I don't know if we are supposed to put links on 3FC but you should look up Kalyn's Kitchen - she is an SBD'er that has a blog with tons of yummy chicken recipes, with pictures so you can see how it should look each step of the way.

05-10-2010, 04:57 PM
I make a lot of chicken! One way to go is to roast a big pan of chicken breasts. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 350˚ for 35 minutes. The best secret I have learned is to always use bone-in, skin-on breasts - it keeps the meat MUCH more tender, moist, and flavorful. Just take the skin off before you eat it. :) I roast 6 big breasts at a time this way, and I have chicken to throw into salads or soups for the rest of the week.

One of my favorite recipes is Ina Garten's Chicken Chili. You woudn't think anything she makes would be SBD friendly, but this is! I add black beans to it too. Super yummy and easy, and it saves well in the fridge or freezer.

05-10-2010, 05:45 PM

I like to roast a whole chicken, have a meal, then pull all the leftover meat off the bones. I use the leftover meat for another meal and dice the remaining meat and put it in the freezer for protein for salads. The carcass then goes in the stew pot for broth for the freezer or for immediate use in a soup or stew.

Another success for me has been to use the Baked Rice recipe and put chicken pieces on top before putting it in the oven. I always take the skin off prior to baking this.

My desperation dinner is to grab a precooked whole chicken from the store, have a meal and then proceed as above.

05-10-2010, 06:26 PM
We eat a lot of chicken, mostly boneless skinless breast. There are lots of good recipes on here. My suggestion would be to get a meat thermometer. You can find a digital one for a few dollars at Target or similar store. I use it anytime I bake chicken and hubby uses it when he grills.

05-10-2010, 06:33 PM
I confess- I'm not a big chicken fan either. I would much rather have beef or fish. Chicken is just not my bag. But, I've figured out some ways to cook it that taste much better.

First off- for cooking techniques. When you're working with chicken breasts- one of the best things you can do is pound them thinner, so that they're a (relatively) uniform thickness. This helps avoid pink chicken, and have dry edges and outsides.

My magic number seems to be 350 for 30 minutes. I'll check them them, and they're usually done. If they're really thin, I'll usually check at 25 minutes.

Use a meat thermometer until you're more comfortable, it will help you guage when they're done and how long it takes. If you don't have one, spend the money for one with probe- you poke it in the chicken and part of it sits outside the oven. Once the probe registers the right temperature, it will beep at you to take the chicken out.

Always make sure to let the meat rest for a few minutes before cutting it up. Skipping this step will pretty much guarantee dry chicken.

My favorite way to cook chicken is on the grill- but grill pans work well too. Rub the outsides of a thin chicken breast with sea salt, garlic, any herbs you like (my favs are rosemary, marjoram, and thyme) then place on a grill pan. Heat on high for about one minute per side (to sear in the flavor, wait until the pan is hot to put them in) then down to medium for another 3 minutes per side or so. Once you pull the chicken from the pan, deglaze it with balsamic vinegar. (Pour the vinegar in the pan while it's still hot and scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to mix in the leftover chicken juices and little peices into the vinegar) Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with cauliflower mashed potatoes.

Or chicken cordon bleu- roll thin pounded chicken breast with half a slice of lw swiss cheese and 2 slices deli ham. Bake for 30 mins at 350- then broil another half slice of swiss cheese on top until bubbly.

Or, mix some dijon mustard and splenda in with some plain yogurt, makes a nice creamy "honey" mustard sauce.

05-10-2010, 08:37 PM
I really only make chicken one of two ways: crock pot (chicken breasts, veggies, and a little liquid - low sodium broth, salsa, canned diced tomatoes, etc) and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6. You can even throw the chicken breasts in frozen and they will still cook evenly and be tasty and not dry. I love my crock pot!

The other way I cook them is on the stove in a saute pan. I either marinade in something SB friendly or just sprinkle them with spices. The key, for me anyway, is to buy the chicken breast tenders when cooking them on the stove. They cook quickly and evenly because they are smaller. I put just a little olive oil in the pan and warm it up on med high. Put the chicken in and brown it on one side, flip to the other side and brown it, turn heat down and let cook another 5 minutes maybe? I then cut one in half to check if it is still pink or not and go from there.

05-10-2010, 09:09 PM
I second the crock pot...that thing is my FAVORITE way to cook. ESPECIALLY with crock pot liners! I throw chicken in there frozen or not with seasonings and liquid, and it always comes out so good. :)

05-10-2010, 11:36 PM
Thanks everyone! These are some great suggestions, and I really appreciate the tips on how to make sure it cooks and cooks well. I joined a CSA this year, so I should be getting some fresh chicken - maybe even whole chickens, eek! I will have to let you all know how it goes in a week or two once I've foraged ahead into the world of poultry. (That makes it sound so ominous!)

05-11-2010, 10:10 AM
My favourite way to cook chicken is to poach it. It comes out so tender and then can be flavoured with spices/salt/pepper afterwards.

Put chicken strips into a pot of boiling water and add a little salt (like you would if you were cooking pasta)
Leave in for 5-10 minutes depending on how thick the strips are.
If you're scared of pink chicken just keep taking the peices out and slicing in half the check there's no pink in the middle.


And YUM!

Good luck!!

05-11-2010, 11:24 AM
Line a baking pan with foil depending on your thickness of chicken either marinate it over night in the sbd safe dressing of your choice or salsa (if you use salsa only cover the top of the pan so no icky reactions
Seal the top the the pan with foil
bake @ 350 30-45 min variable to thickness and size Breast tenderloins will be done in 30
chicken will steam and be super moist!

05-11-2010, 01:30 PM
Try the almond crusted oven fried chicken recipe from the SBD cookbook. My fav!!! And the chicken gets pounded out so it doesn't taste chewy and because of the thinness of the chicken its always cooked through!

05-13-2010, 12:28 PM
I conquered chicken last night, you guys! Ahhh, I'm so excited! And I just made it up as I went along.

Here was the "recipe":

Cut the chicken into small pieces (thanks to everyone who suggested that) while I heated up olive oil in a cast iron pan

Sprinkled a little kosher salt and pepper onto the chicken

Put it in the pan to brown and kept it moving (it sticks otherwise)

Once the chicken was mostly cooked, I added in broccoli, spring onion, garlic, and mushrooms. I kept stirring and tossing and cooking for a couple of minutes. Then, I hit it with a couple shots of soy sauce (organic stuff - no High Fructose anything) and tasted it. The mushrooms were a little bitter for some reason, so I threw some agave nectar over the top and let it all cook for a few more minutes.

It was SO. GOOD. And I'm super proud of myself. Hooray for chicken! I'm still a little afraid of cooking bigger pieces, but at least I know I can use it if I buy it!

05-13-2010, 01:41 PM

06-13-2010, 07:48 PM
I don't know if anybody else here has tried it, but I like to take boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut any excess fat off, and cut them into cubes. Then I'll sautee them in a pan w/ the SB Teriyaki Sauce (really good, if you haven't tried it) and, once they're cooked through, toss in some stir fry vegetables. Once I hit phase 2 I added a little bit of wine to the chicken while cooking it. ;)

06-14-2010, 11:52 AM
Someone mentioned this, but I want to say it again. If you don't have a meat thermometer and are sauteing boneless skinless breasts, this is so very important. I used to have such a hard time figuring out if the fatter ones were going to be pink in the middle. Pounding the breasts out (put them between wax paper and use a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin) to make them a uniform thickness solved that problem for me. It also helps to pop a lid on while you're cooking them. Keeps the moisture in and ensures they're cooked through. You'll be much happier with what comes out of your pan if you know that it isn't going to be a bio-hazard on a plate. I know I was. ;)

06-14-2010, 12:05 PM
I tried a new WW chicken tender recipe the other night and it was AMAZING!!! The chicken was super tender and cooked through!
I buy my chicken at Hannafords, which has chicken already cut into tender size pieces (1-1.5 oz.) with all the fat and muscle already trimmed off.

1 lb. chicken cut into thin tender pieces (roughly 1 inch)
Seasoned bread crumbs
Fat Free Buttermilk
*BBQ Seasoning (McCormick)


*Mix Bread Crumbs with BBQ Seasoning for extra flavor
Coat each tender in fat free buttermilk
Place tenders in Bread crumbs and cover tenders with bread crumb mixture
Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 min., Flip tenders after 12-13 minutes.

*Broil for last 3 minutes for added crispiness

All the optional stuff are things that I either added or discovered while making the tenders. Enjoy!

06-14-2010, 02:32 PM
KimL1214, bread crumbs have to be 100% whole grain and only on Phase II. Also the #1 ingredient in McCormick's seasoning is sugar.


06-14-2010, 03:14 PM
It is easy enough to make your own bread crumbs with any bread that you like. You'll know they're on plan that way. Place slices of bread on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven until they're dried and crunchy. Use a low oven 250 or so. Once they're dried, roll them with a rolling pin and put the crumbs in a container for keeping. You can season them or not as you choose. I rather store them plain and only season anything I'm using. That way I can adjust seasonings to a recipe and still have unseasoned ones if a recipe calls for them.

06-14-2010, 03:57 PM
I was referring to the McCormick Seasonings not the bread crumbs, those are up to whoever is buying/making them.

06-14-2010, 04:09 PM
I was referring to the McCormick Seasonings not the bread crumbs, those are up to whoever is buying/making them.

The seasonings are made with brown sugar. Not too beachy.

06-14-2010, 04:15 PM
Guess that's why I said they were optional.

06-14-2010, 04:42 PM
Do you have a crockpot? If not you can buy a small one for like $20 a Walmart. Anyhow, this is the best way I've found to cook chicken! It's wonderful! It's nice a juicy and doesn't dry out. All you have to do is throw it in the crockpot and let it cook for 6 hours (I put on low if using chicken pieces and high if a whole chicken). I like to add seasonings too. One of our favorites is to add lemon pepper seasoning. Also it will make a lot of juices that you can use for chicken stock if you cook a whole chicken!

06-14-2010, 05:39 PM
Guess that's why I said they were optional.

Gotcha! Missed that. :)

06-14-2010, 08:31 PM
I like the crock pot, too -- super easy, healthy, SBD friendly. Toss in a couple of frozen boneless chicken breasts with whatever else is appropriate and sounds good (salsa and beans are among my faves), turn it on low in the morning, and come home to dinner already made! You can pick up crock pots for next to nothing at Goodwill, and leftovers can be frozen for easy lunches.

06-14-2010, 08:52 PM
To keep chicken juicy when grilling indoors, get your grill pan VERY hot...don't put any oil in the pan, just spray the chicken with olive oil pam or brush it on the chicken, then add the chicken to the pan and let it cook on high for a couple of minutes. That will seal in the juice. Then lower the heat for the rest of the cooking time. I have a heavy duty stove top grill pan, but any pan should work.

I tried my glaze on some chicken tonight. Mix agave (or honey..I know honey is not SB, but I use it for health purposes) , chili powder and garlic together in a blender/food processer and "paint" it on the chicken when it is done and then let cook on low for a couple of more minutes...fantastic. I use a little creole seasoning on chicken while it's cooking too.