For anyone who has ever tried to lose body fat or put on muscle mass, there are certain foods that end up as staples in one’s pursuit of their goals. I’m sure you’ve come across them: milk, eggs, protein powder or, recently, maybe even butter in your coffee. But there is one food that stands out from the rest, and has survived all the iterations of the “best”. From bodybuilders to triathletes to casual dieters, one food has repeatedly been referenced as the foundation to a lean, healthy body: chicken breasts. Boneless, skinless, chicken breasts.
Even in the age of full-fat being spouted as the answer to achieving the best body, this lean morsel of chicken still gets a ton of publicity, both good and bad. If you listen to some fitness folks, you are wasting your time eating something that lacks fat. Wander over to the gourmet cooking blogs, and chicken breasts are bashed as dull, dry as California, and not deserving of a place in your refrigerator. These are serious accusations, and admittedly, there was a time when I may have been guilty of trying to choke down a meal consisting of unseasoned chicken breast cooked to 200 degrees with an equally dreary serving of microwave cooked broccoli.
I agree with some of this criticism. We by no means prescribe to any particular diet here, but sure, there’s nothing wrong with having some fattier cuts of chicken for your dinner, even if you are trying to lose weight. And yes, perfectly crisp chicken skin is a beautiful thing, especially when you are gnawing it off of a drumstick. But boneless, skinless has its advantages, I promise. It really is easier to cook especially if you need to slice or chop it before throwing it in a salad, sandwich, or taco. And as far as it’s lack of fat goes, well, that’s fine. You can add fat however you like, whether it’s olive oil on a chicken salad or avocado on some tacos.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts should be a food staple because of its ease in preparation, versatility, and for being an excellent lean source of protein. It doesn’t have to be under seasoned and overcooked. The recipe we are sharing with you today gives you a smoky, spicy chicken that cooks in a snap under the broiler, and you can make it first and decide how to serve it later. These chicken cutlets can spend all day in the chipotle-brown sugar marinade, or just 10 minutes while the broiler gets hot. They require just one turn under the broiler, and as long as you’re checking them with a thermometer, will be plenty juicy. We love this in tacos, quesadillas, or grain bowls, mostly, but there are many more possibilities!
2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breast
3-4 chipotle peppers plus 4 tablespoons of adobo sauce (buy 1 can chipotles in adobo)
1 bunch of cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon garlic powder
¼ cup brown sugar
- Prepare the chicken breasts: slice off the tenderloin portion (if present) then fillet the breast in half to form two thin cutlets. Salt the chicken as you normally would.
- Dice the chipotle peppers. Combine with the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the cutlets and tenderloins to the bowl, using tongs to mix thouroughlly.
- The chicken can spend all day in the marinade or as little as 10-15 minutes. Sometimes we don’t even get that much in, and it still tastes great.
- Turn your broiler on and set the oven rack about 6-8 inches under the broiler.
- Spread the chicken in a single layer on a foil lined cooking sheet. Cook under the broiler for about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces and place back in the oven for another minute or two, checking the temperature to your desired doneness.
Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found in the hispanic section of major grocery stores.
This recipe scales really well: you can make a pound of chicken or several, just adjust the amount of marinade.