43 Protein-Packed Chicken Variations Every Fit Girl Will Love
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A mega protein punch, 43 different ways…
Chomping on a skinless, boneless chicken breast gives you 23 muscle-building grams of protein for the bargain price of a single gram of saturated fat and 460kJ – and that brings you one step closer to tight abs and lean thighs.
Too bad this omnipresent piece of poultry is not that thrilling.
The solution: 43 fabulous makeovers for your average 115g chicken breast. Each one uses just a few easy ingredients that are probably in your kitchen already, and none take longer than 25 minutes. Try a few. The next time you say something tastes like chicken, it’ll be a compliment.
Wok This Way
The Basics: For a stir-fry, cut a raw chicken breast into bite-size pieces or thin strips. Cook it in a non-stick pan or wok over medium-high heat until browned (three to five minutes) and add one of the following groups of ingredients – in the order listed – and cook for five more minutes, stirring frequently.
1. Bell Pepper Mix: 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce; 2 tsp sesame oil; 1/2 cup green or red bell pepper strips; 1/4 medium onion, cut lengthwise into strips; 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2. Veggie Blend: 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce; 2 tsp sesame oil; 1/3 c matchstick carrots; 1/3 c chopped celery; 1 spring onion, sliced; 2 Tbsp chopped unsalted peanuts
3. Asparagus and Cashew: 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce; 2 tsp sesame oil; 1/2 c asparagus tips; 2 Tbsp chopped unsalted cashews
4. Sweet Lemon: 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce; 1 Tbsp lemon juice; 1 tsp lemon zest; 1 tsp honey; 1 clove garlic, crushed; 1/2 c mangetout; 1 c chopped celery
5. Asian Broccoli: 1 whisked egg; 1/2 c (or more) chopped broccoli; 1/4 medium onion, cut lengthwise into long strips; 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes; 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
6. Hoisin Mangetout: 1 whisked egg; 1/2 c mangetout; 1/2 c green or red bell pepper strips; 1/4 onion, cut lengthwise into long strips; 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
Tip: Sesame oil gives stir-fries a distinct flavour. Nutritionally, it’s similar to olive oil because it’s full of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. (Make sure you get plain, not toasted, sesame oil.) But if you don’t have it, use canola or peanut oil, not olive, which goes up in smoke at high temperatures.
The Basics: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and douse your chicken in sauce, rub it with spices, crust it with goodies or stuff it with savouries. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes.
Sauces: Watery baths like salsa will do just fine in the oven. But thicker sauces must be mixed with water or stock or you’ll be left with sticky, blackened char. Use a small baking dish with raised sides to keep the meat swimming.
7. Fiesta: 1/3 cup salsa
8. Italian: 2 Tbsp marinara sauce, 2 Tbsp water
9. Honey Mustard: 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 2 Tbsp honey, 1 tsp olive oil
10. Spiced Up: 3 Tbsp chicken stock; 1 Tbsp mustard; 1 clove garlic, crushed
11. Cream of Mushroom: 2 Tbsp condensed mushroom soup, 2 Tbsp water
12. Pesto: 2 Tbsp pesto, 2 Tbsp reduced-sodium chicken stock
13. Sweet and Sour: 2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, 1/4 c crushed pineapple with juice
14. Coconut Curry: 3 Tbsp chicken stock, 2 Tbsp light coconut milk, 1/4 tsp curry powder
15. Apple Glaze: 1/3 c chicken stock, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 Tbsp apple juice
16. Herbed Citrus: 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp orange marmalade, 1/4 tsp rosemary
Rubbed: Rub these mixtures evenly over each breast, then coat with cooking spray.
17. Chilli Covered: 1/4 tsp each garlic powder, chilli powder, black pepper and oregano; salt to taste
18. Tri-Herb Rub: 1/4 tsp each dried basil, rosemary and thyme; salt and pepper to taste
Crusted: Crack an egg into a shallow bowl, whisk it, dip the chicken in it, and then roll the chicken in a plate of one of these coatings:
19. Nut Covered: 1/3 c finely chopped nuts
20. Italian Topped: 1 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese, 1 Tbsp Italian breadcrumbs, a pinch of black pepper
21. Faux Fried: 1/2 c crushed corn or bran flakes
Stuffed: Pound the daylights out of your chicken breast with a meat tenderiser until it’s uniformly thin. Then arrange any of the following ingredients on the breast, roll it up and secure it with toothpicks or kitchen twine.
22. Ham and Cheese: 1 slice Cheddar cheese, 2 slices deli ham, 1/4 tsp black pepper
23. Stromboli: 1 slice mozzarella cheese; 3 slices pepperoni; 3 leaves fresh basil, chopped
24. Pizza: 1 slice mozzarella; 1/4 c chopped tomatoes; 3 leaves fresh basil, chopped
25. Spinach Stuffed: 1 small handful baby spinach leaves, chopped; 1 Tbsp blue-cheese crumbles; 1 clove garlic, crushed
26. Deli Style: 1 slice mozzarella, 1 slice salami, 1 Tbsp chopped roasted red pepper
27. Sun-dried Tomato: 1 1/2 Tbsp low-fat ricotta cheese, 1 Tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 1/4 tsp oregano
28. Mediterranean: 1 1/2 Tbsp low-fat ricotta cheese, 1 Tbsp diced olives, 1/4 tsp lemon zest
29. Parmesan Pesto: 1 Tbsp pesto, 1 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp black pepper
Tip: To lock in juices, sear the breast in a hot pan for one to two minutes per side before baking.
The Basics: Soak the chicken in these marinades for at least an hour. Heat a grill or place a non-stick pan over medium-high heat on the stove. Cook for three to five minutes per side.
30. Booze Infused: 2 Tbsp bourbon, 1 tsp deli-style mustard, 1/4 tsp black pepper
31. Sweet Booze Infused: 2 Tbsp bourbon; 1 tsp honey; 1 clove garlic, crushed
32. White Wine Dressed: 2 Tbsp white wine; 1 clove garlic, crushed; 1/4 tsp thyme
33. Rich and Creamy: 2 Tbsp plain yoghurt, 1/4 tsp dill
34. Curry Cream: 2 Tbsp plain yoghurt, 1 tsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp curry powder
35. Margaritaville: 2 Tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp coriander
36. Cumin and Lime: 2 Tbsp lime juice, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
37. Lemon Zest: 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp lemon zest, 1/4 tsp black pepper
38. Balsamic Herb: 2 Tbsp vinaigrette, 1/4 tsp rosemary
39. Ginger Spiced: 2 Tbsp orange juice, 1/4 tsp powdered ginger, 1/4 tsp coriander
40. O-juiced: 2 Tbsp orange juice, 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
41. Soda Popped: 2 Tbsp Coca-Cola, 1/4 tsp black pepper
42. Red Pepper Pop: 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
43. Hawaiian Punch: 2 Tbsp pineapple juice; 1 clove garlic, crushed; 1/4 tsp black pepper
Tip: Mix the marinade ingredients well in a resealable plastic bag, drop in the chicken, seal, shake and refrigerate.