Sometimes Healthy Girl Does Chicken (Baked, Not Fried)

It was recently brought to my attention that I need to eat more protein. I don’t post what I eat on a daily basis here on the Sometimes Healthy Living blog for many reasons:

  1. I can’t keep track of my meals myself!
  2. My food is never photogenic (unless I try really hard).
  3. Many times, unless it’s a Wacky Food Combo, my meals are boring.

During one of our recent marathon catch-up phone sessions, my best friend, Becca, who is never wrong about anything, informed me that I’m not incorporating enough protein in my daily meals.  Sidenote: I’m not being sarcastic – this girl should be a Life Coach: Whenever she tells me to do something, and I actually follow her advice, something good ALWAYS happens.

When I told her MY life’s goal is to be as buff as Ronnie from Jersey Shore (okay, perhaps not quite so ripped), she said more protein was as must!

Since my conversation with Becca, I’ve been eating lots of egg whites, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, egg muffins, tuna and other easy-access lean proteins. I’m well aware of the benefits of a protein-packed diet, so I’ve always eaten some of these every day, but I’ve never focused on eating lots of them all in one day. Already, I’ve noticed an increase in my energy level and the ability to power through workouts to the very end. But, I’ve also gotten bored with these easy-access proteins. They are somewhat bland, and a girl can only use so much bbq sauce, ketchup and other random condiments (well, actually, I would swim in bbq sauce if I could, but buying all of those bottles would get kind of expensive.)

Enter the Chicken

Spurred by food boredom and my recent post on fried chicken (the song), all signs were pointing towards this Sometimes Healthy Girl heading to her tiny kitchen and baking up some finger lickin’ good ol’ chicken.

The problem?

I’m a bad cook. It’s out there. I finally admitted it. It feels so good to finally have it out in the open. Sometimes Healthy Girl’s Official Statement: I’m a healthy living blogger with subpar (at best) cooking skills.

But where I lack in cooking skills, I make up for with my kitchen creativity. Just so we’re all clear, you can always come to this little blog for unique/easy/wacky recipes, such as 2.5 Step Healthified Comfort Foods. However, if you’re looking for more intricate, mainstream recipes, I’m not your girl. But please, stick around for the entertainment.

Now back to Mr. Chicken.

Courtney recently wrote a post about being afraid to cook salmon (of course, she still does!). In her questions section, she asked about foods that other readers were afraid to cook/prepare. Interestingly enough, no one said chicken. Am I the only one that fears that once I touch a piece of raw chicken, I’ll immediately be rushed to the hospital with salmonella poisoning, even if I wash my hands with the strongest anti-bacterial soap in the world 10 times?

Nevertheless, I decided to overlook the grave concerns for my life and finally bake up some chicken last night. As you all know, I’m never one to stray away from pre-cooked chicken, but it’s very expensive and often, the sodium content is off the charts.

Step 1: The Introduction

First, I plopped the raw chicken into a large bowl, as I grimaced at the slimy texture of each and every piece. I also pinched my nose because the smell was kind of strange. Does raw chicken smell bad? Then I washed my hands 10 times, just in case I touched something that might touch something that might touch something that would go in my mouth which would then have come in contact with my hands and therefore give me salmonella….Paranoid much?

Step 2: The Whining

Next, I called my mother to complain about the sliminess of the chicken/get her opinion on what type of dish I should bake it in. She gave me her chicken-cooking tips, and I told her I had to go so I could marinate my chicken. I then disinfected my phone, just in case it had come in contact with the raw chicken…because clearly, I put my phone in my mouth all the time.

Step 3: The Marinating

I looked up a few recipes for marinades and sauces, but all had too many ingredients (more than 3 stressed me out), so I decided to make my own. My favorite chicken in the world is this Balsamic Chicken from a restaurant in Omaha, Biaggi’s. Not really sure what’s in the sauce. I figured a lot of balsamic vinegar, a bit of yellow mustard and some honey might achieve the tangy flavor.

After I poured the vinegar on top of the chicken, I realized I was supposed to mix the sauce before pouring on the chicken. Ooops. No sauce tasting for me. I rolled it all around with a spatula until the ingredients appeared to be well-mixed. Marination time: 2 minutes…until the oven was pre-heated to 350 degrees. I’ve heard chicken is more moist when you marinate it overnight, but since thinking ahead doesn’t always work out for me, the 2 minute marinade had to suffice.

Step 4: Shake n’ Bake

I gracefully dumped the chicken into my foil-lined baking dish, using my trusty spatula to swirl around the marinade and ensure every piece was covered. Then, I gave the dish a little shake to really get the sauce a swirlin.’ Finally, I threw the chicken into the oven and breathed a sigh of relief. I washed my hands again, just in case they had touched the chicken without me realizing it.

Step 5: Scrub a Dub

While the chicken baked, I threw away all trash and loaded the dishwasher with any and every dish that I thought MIGHT have come in contact with the possibly infected raw chicken. I ensured the dishwasher was on the “superwash” setting.

Step 6: The Triple Check

While the directions on the chicken packaging had said to bake it around 20 minutes, I wasn’t taking any chances. I baked it for a good 25, took it out, and cut into a piece to check for pink. I didn’t see any, but just in case, I baked for and additional 5 minutes. I’d rather have over-cooked chicken than raw chicken. Again, I washed my hands…this must have been about the 15th time.

Step 7: The Masterpiece

And after all that, I had myself 8 perfectly portioned piece of lean chicken breast…that looked slightly less than appetizing. Nevertheless, while somewhat dry from the over-cooking (oops), the marinade was a success! Sweet and tangy, just like I hoped. Winner!

I’m happy to report that it’s 8:00 the day after my chicken-cooking ordeal, and I have not yet experienced any salmonella symptoms. Phewwwww. I MAY just cook it again sometime soon. Please stay tuned

Question:

Do you consider yourself a good cook? What’s your best dish? How are you at cooking chicken? Got any tips for me?

23 Thoughts on “Sometimes Healthy Girl Does Chicken (Baked, Not Fried)

  1. Oh I am a terrible cook! I think I even messed up ramen once. I am, however, a mean baker and can make some excellent chocolate oatmeal cookies :-)

    • I think I’d rather be a good baker than a good cook – cookies and brownies and cake are so much more fun. Sadly, I don’t excel in the baking arena too much either. hahaha I’d love to read about your chocolate oatmeal cookies.

  2. I am absolutely not a good cook. My husband cooks. That’s why I married him. Plus, I just don’t like cooking, so I’d rather just pretend I can’t. My best dish? Pasta. Just ask my twins. I “cook” it for them all the time. :)

    • Smart thinking! It’s so funny because when I was younger, I was under the impression that women had to be good cooks…but every man I’ve ever dated has been a better cook than me. A DEFINITE requirement of my to-be-determined significant other will be that he knows how to cook. Otherwise, the two of us will be gettin’ takeout every night haha. I’m sure your “special dish”, pasta, is divine!

  3. Girl, you are TOO FUNNY!! So glad to see you got over your chicken fears! Don’t worry, Jay hates touching “slimy chicken” too ;)

  4. No joke, I use to use tongs to deal with chicken so I didn’t have to touch it. Now I just grab it and cook it…and sanitize my hands/wrists/forearms 729 times just to be safe.

  5. Yay, good job! I’m a horrible cook! I’m kind of scared of what will happen in the kitchen. My goal this summer is learn what I’m doing :).

  6. Becca on 1 July, 2011 at 10:37 am said:

    It’s a miracle!! Thankyou for trying to take my advice…and I just might have to try your chicken marinade. It sounds pretty tasty. I can’t wait to see your skinny self soon!

    • Thank you for always giving me world class advice, even though I usually fail to follow it. I swear, I always mean to…I just get busy and stressed. Oopsies. Anyway, can’t wait to see you and that adorable child in a couple weeks!

  7. I am the worst cook in the entire world. I usually make stir-fries because I feel like they’re harder to screw up. ha And my mom bought me like 3 cookbooks for my birthday so I could fend for myself. Good times.

    • hahaha glad to know I’m not alone. I bet you’re a better cook than you give yourself credit for. After all, stir fries can be complex. It’s not like you’re just sticking something in the microwave – you’re pouring sauce and veggies into a skillet and using fire. And if you add in meat, it gets really tricky ;-) It’s not THAT easy. I’ll bet your stir fries are yummy!

  8. I’m scared of chicken too! Raw chicken just grosses me out!! I never cook because of my fears: burning myself on hot oil or just fire in general! I’m also scared of knives which makes it difficult when you need to chop things (or just eat in general). I’ve been trying to cook more and overcome these fears, but it’s def not easy!!

    • hahahaha I used to be scared of knives and fire too. You’ll overcome it – I just know it. I will say, after my little chicken adventure I had one burn on my finger and a small little cut as well. Such a kitchen klutz. Good luck!

  9. Love that marinade!! Kind of like honey mustard chicken, but with a bit of tang from the balsamic! – YUM!! I think I should probably add more protein to my diet..most of mine is from Peanut butter – haha!

    • Peanut butter = excellent source of protein. AND greek yogurt, as you know is an excellent source. So, I’m sure you’ve got it covered ;-). The marinade was decent – I think it needed more honey AND mustard, but it wasn’t bad for a first try.

  10. I have never been too adventurous when it comes to chicken myself, but maybe thats because I have a KFC 6 blocks away…

    • hahahahaha this comment made me smile :-) Like I always say, when it comes to comfort food, such as fried chicken, we might as well leave it to professionals. Colonel Sanders can fry chicken way better than us, I’m sure of it ;-)

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