NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

August 7, 2013

Fresh takes on the basic chicken breast

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are literally the white meat of the meat world. They are a great lean protein, quick and easy to prepare, freeze well, and take to just about any flavor or cuisine you care for. But they also can be rather dull. So we’ve come up with three ways to jazz up this weeknight staple.

First, we created a spice rub. It’s as simple as it sounds — you stir together a few spices, rub it into the meat, then slap it on the grill or into a pan on the stove. It’s a great option to use on a sandwich since the breasts are pounded out flat before cooking.

Our second choice was a marinade. In the morning, toss all the ingredients in a zip-close bag and pop the whole thing into the refrigerator. When you get home from work, you’ll have a flavorful and moist dinner ready to cook. Consider throwing these tenders over a bed of rice or on top of a salad.

Our last option is smothered. Sometimes you want a gooey, sticky sauce to moisten things up. These breasts work especially well alongside roasted potato wedges and corn on the cob. Of course, if chicken breasts aren’t on your menu tonight, any of these options would work equally as well on chicken thighs, pork, even salmon or steak.

SPICE-RUBBED CHICKEN BREASTS

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Set the chicken breasts on a cutting board and slice horizontally across the piece to create 2 thinner halves. One at a time, cover each half with plastic wrap, then use a meat mallet to pound to an even thickness. Drizzle the pounded halves with the olive oil and rub all over.

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