There are some thing that I will NEVER give you permission to do as a cook. You may not like to cook, you may not think that you are great at cooking but I will NEVER give you permission, NEVER EVER to use canned chicken. Oh my. Just typing out those words made me throw up in my mouth a bit. The thought of taking something like chicken, removing everything about it that is good, throwing it in some metal tasting brine, sealing it up and calling it a day...there are no words. I had a discussion with some friends of mine a few weeks ago about canned meat. They were trying to give me all kinds of good excuses for when they had used canned chicken and I finally had to walk away. It hurt me so. So a few days after I was in Trader Joes and decided I would once again, try canned chicken because I figured if it was going to be good by anyone Trader Joes would be the one. I can smell it a mile away in any casserole or salad but I though that TJ's would be the one to break my stone cold heart. So I made some chicken salad with the canned product the next day. Just the smell was about enough to put me over the edge. It smelled like TUNA! What the heck? So I mixed in a little of this and that and it tasted like cat food. It was terrible. I took one bite and threw the rest away wishing I had not bothered.
When a recipe calls for chicken, whether it be shredded, diced, cubed, whatever, you can always know that roasted chicken will do the trick. Not canned, Not boiled, ROASTED! Roasted chicken is SO easy and so good and will allow you easy access to every recipe. It is always best to roast chicken that is bone in, I know this may freak some of you out but the bones are what allow the meat to have such great flavor. We as a society prefer the shrink wrapped perfectly trimmed breast because they are ready to go but the bones are what make the chicken really shine. Why do you think baby back ribs and chicken wings are so good? Those bones are in there for a reason! When you roast a chicken breast with the bones (I will allow you to opt out of the skin on if that makes you happy) once it is cooked you can easily pull the breast meat right off of the bone, throw the bones away and forget you ever saw them. Promise. If you can't do the bones yet, I will allow you to use boneless skinless but the thought of what could have been will be in the back of your mind with every bite you take.
1. No canned chicken. It is from the devil. There is nothing good or real about it. Tis the season for food drives so get your pantry cleaned out!
2. Never boil boneless skinless breasts in non flavored water. Yuck, yuck, yuck!
3. Roasted chicken is best and BONE IN roasted chicken is the very best. If bones gross you out, suck it up, put on your big girl panties and just do it.
Simple Roasted Chicken - to be used for casseroles, soups, whatever. Adjust recipe to however many chicken breasts you have.
1 Bone-in split chicken breast with skin removed or 1 boneless skinless chicken breast (still looking for a wimpy font!)
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 shakes of salt (preferably sea salt)
3-4 grinds of fresh black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a foil lined baking sheet place chicken. Drizzle breast with olive oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper. For BONE IN cook for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown on top and firm to the touch. For boneless cook for 15-18 minutes until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Allow to cool and remove from the meat from the bone (or not) and shred, dice or cube. You can freeze the chicken in baggies and pull it out as needed for soups and casseroles so that you can easily have dinner in a flash. Enjoy!