There’s one fact about being a mom of five that I’ve come to accept and embrace: I am responsible for feeding seven humans all day, every day. From creating a menu, meal prepping, and executing 21 meals a week for seven mouths, it’s basically like a part-time job, so I need to work as efficiently as possible.
With food prices on the rise, and trying to maintain a decent food budget, I have a criteria set for every meal. It needs to be budget-friendly, quick and easy, and requires little clean-up. Does this seem hard? Yes, but CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts are a family favorite because they can be incorporated into so many different recipes and flavored in a variety of ways. But they can be pricey, so with a growing family, I’ve learned different ways to make it go further. Not only have I learned to stretch it out, I also discovered the juiciest way to cook it up.
My two secrets?
1. Slice each chicken breast in half—this may have seemed obvious to some of you, but no one told me about it! Not only can I get two pieces of chicken from one breast, but they also cook more evenly without drying out.
2. Bake the chicken at high heat. Baking chicken breasts at a high heat locks in that moisture that keeps them juicy.
How is this done? I’ll walk you through it step-by-step. Let’s go!
The Tools You’ll Need
- Serrated knife: This makes slicing the chicken breasts so easy. It may not be the proper way, but it’s what works for me.
- Baking sheet: So simple and straightforward! If you don’t have a baking sheet, you can also use a casserole dish. I’ve used both, and they work fine.
- Aluminum foil: Lining the baking sheet or casserole dish with aluminum foil is what makes for easy clean-up.
- Cooking spray: Spraying oil over the chicken will keep it from sticking to the aluminum foil. I’ve also used olive oil or avocado oil, but I prefer cooking spray for ease.
How I Make the Best Chicken Breast
Let’s do this! Prep is easy and only takes 5 to 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
While the oven is preheating, bust out that aluminum foil and line the baking sheet. I like to make two sheets that are slightly longer than the width of my baking sheet and lay them side-by-side. That way, every inch of that baking sheet is covered. After the chicken cooks, I simply scrunch up the foil and toss it. Zero scrubbing is required.
Use a serrated knife or a sharp chef’s knife to slice each boneless skinless chicken breast in half horizontally. If you don’t want to use all the chicken you have, still slice it in half and add it to a freezer bag for later. Or, you can cook all the chicken and use it as meal prep.
Lightly pound each chicken breast down to ensure even cooking using a meat mallet. The goal isn’t to get them super thin. You’re trying to get them to be even in thickness. (Don’t have a meat mallet? I’ve used the heel of my own bare hands to punch that chicken down. Of course, try not to hurt yourself.)
Sprinkle each chicken breast with salt and black pepper. Spray with cooking spray, or drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive or avocado oil, and flip the chicken over. Season and grease the other side.
This is when I season the chicken breasts for whatever dish I’m making—paprika, garlic powder, za’atar, etc. Sprinkle the seasoning of your choice onto both sides of the chicken and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 18 to 21 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. When the chicken is done baking, let it rest for about 3 minutes before cutting them up.
You can cut the chicken into cubes, thin slices, or even shred it. It’s your choice. Enjoy!
Yummy Recipes That Call for Chicken Breasts
- Salsa Verde Chicken Bake
- Easy Burrito Casserole
- Chicken Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Almonds
- Taquitos de Pollo
- Chicken Lasagna