The odds are good that many of us are planning on chicken for dinner tonight. Quick-cooking, relatively healthy, adaptable to everything from a big salad to a stir-fry — chicken breasts are definitely our friend when it comes to weeknight meals. Let's make sure you're buying the right meat for your plans.
• Whole Chicken Breast: If I'm having a whole chicken breast for dinner with a salad on the side, I usually go for skin-on, bone-in breasts. The skin will help the breasts stay tender and juicy during cooking, and the bone helps it cook through evenly. If going the skinless route, I always use this stovetop method for cooking them.
• Salad: I usually cook a whole chicken breast or two for dinner salads and then cut it into thin slices to lay over the top of the salad. I prefer skin-on, bone-in breasts to make sure the meat stays moist, even if I end up remove the skin after cooking.
• Stir-fries and Sautées: Buy boneless, skinless breast for stir-fries and sautées. You're usually cutting the meat into small bite-sized pieces with these recipes, so the skin and bone would be discarded anyway. The quick-cooking the method ensures that the chicken cooks through before becoming dry.
• Pasta: Since many chicken pasta recipes start with a quick sauté and add cream or other liquid to make a sauce, this is another time when I buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
• Soup: If I cook the chicken before adding it to the soup, I do the same as cooking a whole chicken breast (above). If simmering bites of chicken in the soup itself, boneless skinless is the best choice.
• Grilled: I always buy skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts for grilling. I think the breasts need that layer of protection from the skin to keep it from drying out too quickly on the grill (plus tasty, crispy skin is a plus!).
So...what's for dinner tonight?!
Related: Chicken Supper: 15 Fresh & Tasty Chicken Dishes
(Image: Blackened Beer-Brined Chicken/Emma Christensen)