If you're searching for new ways to prepare chicken, consider adding a few cubed chicken recipes to your menu. You can try stir-fries, pasta dishes and sauteed chicken pieces with vegetables, among others.
Healthy Ways to Prepare Chicken
Versatile chicken contains an impressive amount of protein and other nutrients. Some cuts contain high levels of saturated fat, so select leaner, lower-fat cuts such as skinless white breast meat, recommends the Mayo Clinic.
When preparing the chicken, trim all visible fat, including the skin. Add appealing flavor with a zesty low-fat marinade. Choose a low-fat cooking technique such as broiling, grilling, sautéeing, baking or roasting. If you prefer, leave the skin intact while cooking the chicken and remove it afterwards.
To reduce your fat and cholesterol consumption, simply decrease each chicken serving size. Ideally, one serving is 3 ounces, equal to half of a skinless, boneless chicken breast. In terms of size, a 3-ounce chicken serving is the size of a deck of cards.
Safe Thawing and Cooking Guidelines
To cook frozen chicken, allow sufficient time to thaw the meat safely. First, avoid thawing chicken on the counter, as the warm environment can encourage foodborne bacteria development. Instead, thaw the chicken in the refrigerator, advises the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Whole chickens, boneless chicken breasts and bone-in parts often take two days or longer to thaw. After thawing the chicken, it's safe to keep it in the refrigerator for up to two days before cooking it.
Thawing frozen chicken in the microwave is another option. For safety reasons, however, use the oven or stove to finish the cooking cycle. You can safely cook frozen chicken using either higher-heat method, although you may need to add 50 percent more cooking time.
Use a food thermometer to ensure that the chicken is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid cooking frozen chicken in a slow cooker, as the contents won't get hot enough to prevent bacteria growth.
By cooking chicken to the proper internal temperature, you'll prevent the growth of harmful salmonella bacteria, states the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This dangerous organism can cause potentially fatal salmonellosis.
Cooking chicken breasts on the stove is simple and easy. You can choose fresh or frozen meat, although using frozen meat in chicken breast recipes will prolong the cooking time. If you want to avoid chicken that is tough and dry, try this LIVESTRONG.com recipe for tender chicken breasts.
How to Cook Cubed Chicken
Adding more lean proteins and vegetables to your diet and decreasing saturated fats and processed foods, is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Oncology dietitians Mary Beth Peiffer and Beth Beckett of Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center recommend this simple, tasty cubed chicken recipe.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped, or to taste
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or red cooking wine
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 8 ounces mini shell pasta
- 5 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Cook the chicken: In a large covered skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Cook the cubed chicken and garlic for five to eight minutes, stirring frequently. When finished, the chicken should not have any pink in the center.
- Add broth (or wine) and tomatoes: Stir the liquid and juicy diced tomatoes into the sauteed chicken pieces. Over a high heat, bring the mixture to a boil.
- Stir in mini shell pasta: Blend in the shell pasta and return the mixture to a boil. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times. When finished, the shells should have a firm texture but be completely cooked.
- Top with fresh spinach: Spread the spinach over the cooked pasta. Cover the skillet and simmer the mixture for five minutes, until the spinach leaves are cooked.
- Garnish with mozzarella cheese: Scatter mozzarella cheese over the skillet's contents. Simmer for about five minutes, until the pasta bubbles and the cheese has melted.