How to Make the Easiest Chicken Ever

This is a post from Rebel Chef Noel.

Imagine this: You come home from a rough day at work. You’re tired, a little bit grumpy, and definitely hungry.

But alas! It’s the end of the week and you’ve managed to eat ALL the food you prepared…except one tupperware of leftover veggies. Uhf.

But you’re a warrior! Vegetables will not stave your hunger. Not this day night…Just then it hits you: Your roomate has a frozen pizza in the freezer, a half a pint of ice cream, and…an uncooked chicken breast. What to do? What to do? The couch is looking awfully comfortable. And you haven’t had pizza in a while…

Fear not, friend! Help is on the way!

This is the lowest maintenance, easiest way to make a tasty chicken meal in about 20 minutes. Less time than it takes to cook a frozen pizza.

Take that, Pizza Demons!

The easiest chicken ever

finished kale

We’re going to go over step by step how to cook chicken, and I promise it’s a super-duper easy-peasy (and delicious) meal. But I must warn you, the chicken can get on the dry/crispy side if you’re not careful. So watch it closely!

Okay, so, here’s what you’ll need:

Easy_Chicken_01

1 chicken breast – Hopefully the chicken is already defrosted. If not, stick it in the microwave on low for a few seconds, then run it under water until it’s thawed. When you put it in the microwave, it will likely cook a little bit of the outside edges of the chicken. That’s okay.

Once your chicken is defrosted, COOK IT RIGHT AWAY or put it back in the fridge. Only two things could happen if you leave it on the counter: 1) Your dog or cat will eat it. 2) It will start growing bacteria and when you cook it later, you will get a mad case of the heeby jeebies. Not pretty, folks.

Sauces (optional) – I like Coconut Aminos (The Paleo version of Soy Sauce. Soy sauce also works, but  isn’t 100% Paleo) and Worcestershire sauce. Not all Worcestershire sauces are created equal. I was lucky enough to find one in my grocery store that is all organic, gluten free, and contains minimal sugar. Read the labels! This combo tastes like one of my favorite dishes at a japanese restaurant: Yakitori (or, chicken on a stick). Not your thing? Try one of these.

Spices and Oil (optional)- If you have no acceptable sauces at your disposal, some simple olive oil, salt and pepper will do in a pinch. 

Equipment: All you need is a baking pan and, if you want a super easy cleanup, line the pan with aluminum foil.

Instructions:

1. Line your pan with aluminum foil, place the rack in the middle of the oven, and set your oven on the “broil” setting. Broil is a method in which food is cooked directly under high heat. So, the little heat coils in your oven that look like bendy neon lights will stay on and be very hot. This will make the inside of your oven look like the inside of a space ship. Awesome.

*If you use your oven as a storage space, be sure to take out any stuff before turning it on to broil.

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2. Cut yo’ chicken. I often buy pre-cut chicken at the grocery store to save time. Sometimes this costs more, but if it doesn’t, I buy the pre-cut stuff. If your chicken breast is whole, cut it into slices – about the size of the “chicken fingers” your younger sibling always orders at restaurants. (Even though you’ve told them a hundred times that chickens don’t have fingers. Come on!)

3. Put the chicken in the foil lined pan. Easy peasy.

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4. Pour your sauces/spices on! You’re going to want to put sauce/spice on both sides of the chicken. Pour olive oil or your sauce on one side, shake on your spices of choice, then turn the chicken over with a fork and do the same to the other side.

If you want, you can marinade your chicken for 20-30 minutes. This will help give your chicken a little more flavor.

But I promise it will be okay if you are too hungry to wait that extra 20 minutes. I usually can’t wait.

A quick note:You are probably not using barbecue sauce, because although delicious, that stuff has a lot of sugar in it. BUT, on the occasion that you are…might I suggest that you wait until AFTER the chicken is cooked to dip your chicken strips in the sauce instead of cooking it with the sauce already on? The sugar in barbecue sauce (and other like sauces) will burn in the oven. Then you’ll be so angry that you ruined dinner that you’ll eat that half pint of ice cream in the fridge. And that’s what we want to avoid!

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5. Put your chicken in the oven. Set a timer to 20 minutes. And wait…Yeah! (Note: Depending on the thickness, cook time may vary. Feel free to check on it sooner!)

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While you’re waiting, warm up those frozen veggies or make yourself a big salad to go on the side.

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And when those 20 minutes are up? Make sure that when you cut into the chicken none of it is pink, and voilà!

Easiest chicken dinner ever.

Enjoy, rebel friend! You’ve defeated the hunger beast yet again, conquered temptation, and kept your momentum going! You’ve inspired us all!

finished kale

No Excuses, play like a champion!

Finger point

One of the most challenging things about eating healthy is meal planning, and it’s hard to plan your meals perfectly every time. This is a great dish to make in a pinch (serve with a salad, quick and easy microwaved sweet potato, or some steamed veggies and you’ve got yourself a real meal).

We want you to succeed in both the gym and kitchen. In the kitchen this means coming to your rescue so that you have NO EXCUSES when it comes to leveling up your life!

But this doesn’t just have to be a cooking method you use in an emergency! If you like this recipe, you can jazz it up with different sauces and spices to batch cook chicken for your meals throughout the week! So get cookin’!

Do you have any super easy meals you like to make when you’re tired or running short on time?

Do you have any questions about cooking chicken?

Let us know in the comments!

-Noel

PS: A lot of excitement (and new campers!) from last week’s updated Camp Nerd Fitness announcement. Early Bird Pricing ends on SUNDAY, May 18th – so if you’re a procrastinator, jump on it Tonto!

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Photos: kennymatic: lego chef, Sudhamshu Hebbar: You’re It

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  • Noel

    Generally, it’s safer to thaw your meat slowly, but sometimes I just can’t wait.

    Michelle from Nomnompaleo keeps a defrost bowl in her fridge and moves meat from the freezer on a regular basis so she always has defrosted protein handy. A great idea, I think!

  • Evicious

    I’ve always loved the idea of “cooking ahead” for a week, but until I got my crock pot there was no motivating me to do it. In fact, I don’t even think crock pot is the right name – it should be called “Super Sunday All-You-Can-Eat-For-The-Rest-Of-The-Week Cooker” (Super SAYCEFTROTWC?) My recipe is pretty much the same as yours, except I like making it with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (yes, like the song) – and salt, obviously. I use the pre-skinned and de-boned chicken thighs, because I like the flavor of dark meat. Fun fact: 1 chicken thigh is the correct portion size for a single serving. If you use chicken breasts, unless they are very small, the normal portion you’ll get from a single breast is 1 & 1/2 – 2 & 1/2 servings. Not that it really matters, but just an FYI for any OCD people like myself out there.

  • Will

    I’m a spicy person. I use a lot of cajun, creole, red pepper, srircha sauce when I cook. The wife doesn’t like spicy as much so I mostly do if for my lunch. I also like to use garlic, that stuff is just awesome.

  • Andrea Slate

    Delicious modification, but requires planning ahead (which kind of defeats the purpose of the post?) marinate chicken in grass-fed, no anti-biotic greek yogurt, onions and saffron. holy. crap. dude.

  • Clare

    Love it, amazingly for all the quick cooking I do I’ve never tried this. My griller gets a workout with sausages mainly.

    My favorite quick meal at the moment does require a little prep and a slow cooker, or crock pot as you lot call it. I make a huge batch of bone broth every fortnight (literally bones from the butcher, and leftover bones from lamb shanks etc, covered with water and some vinegar, cook and strain – there’s great websites that can show you how), then I can use it to make a soup in less than five minutes – veg and leftover cooked meat, boil some chicken in it, or my go-to breakfast of egg drop soup, where you bring to the boil, turn off heat then stir in a couple of whisked eggs (plus seasonings like aminos, s&p, garlic, ginger, whatever is around). I’m never tempted by freezer pizza as long as there’s some bone broth and eggs in my fridge!

  • I like chicken as an easy go-to meal as well. I’ll slice mine up into bite-sized pieces and stir-fry it in a pan, with a bit of olive oil and spices–it cooks even quicker! When I’m starving, it’s too hard to put it in the oven and just wait. Once it’s cooked, I’ll put the chicken on a simple salad with an olive oil/apple cider vinegar dressing.

  • Shreddy Brek

    Damn this looks so good. My chicken never looks this nice haha! Will definitely give this a try as opposed to just cooking it in a pan. Thanks 🙂

  • Gar

    Sounds simple and good! Try Bragg Organic sprinkle (spice blend) with some Olive Oil and a little salt/pepper for flavor.

    I like to cut it up and marinate for an hour in the fridge using a simple 4-ingredient marinade – 1/4c olive oil, 1/4c lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 2-3 cloves garlic minced. FWIW you could use 1lb of breasts or thighs and throw them in the marinade in the morning before you go to work since it’s so simple to make, then cook them the way Noel suggests to above (might want to pick the garlic off so it doesn’t burn and the marinade has absorbed the flavor anyway), or put them in a baking dish uncovered in a preheated oven at 400 for 35 minutes then remove from heat, and allow to rest loosely covered with a sheet of foil for about 5 minutes, then serve with some steamed veggies or nuked sweet potato.

    Or you could do what I do – thread the pieces onto skewers with pieces of bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms, and grill them up! Nothing like a weeknight cookout!
    The acid in the lemon juice tenderizes the chicken a bit so it comes out really fine. This takes a bit of forethought and planning but the results are worth it (and trust me I’m a complete amateur when it comes to cooking – but if I can do it anyone can)

  • NMSG

    You can also dump salsa over some chicken in the crockpot if you’re thinking ahead, and have nice taco chicken for the week! Two ingredients and zero prep work is about all my cooking skillz can handle.

  • waywardsister

    Another vote for crock pots! My fave: pork tenderloin and salsa verde (green salsa) plus whatever veg you want, chucked in the crock and cooked on low for 6 hours or so. Shred the pork, top with salsa, guac, whatever. Delicious.

  • sevendandra

    Also, you’re article is about thawing methods not rinsing, no need to rinse chicken.

  • Kimberly786

    Easy side — Cook some frozen broccoli in the microwave. Add salt, pepper, a pat of butter, and a splash of lemon juice. Depending on how much broccoli you’re making, it takes about 5-10 minutes to prepare.

  • Mightymouse

    Ok so I am in with this way of life. I am having a few teething problems like not yet over the need for sweet stuff. After a week, not noticing any real difference to w eight or the way I feel. Bought some turkey breast cutlets but in a Paleo book by dr. cOrdain says no broiling or sticking it on the grill because high heat causes toxicity. Any ideas how then to cook.

  • Boy this looks good, I’ll need to give this a try.

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  • Jen

    BTW a pressure cooker is basically the opposite of a slow cooker — for cooking quickly, not slowly!

  • Cheeky

    Using a hand mixer has made my meat shredding life simple! You just put the meat in a big bowl and stick the mixer in there. The meat goes through the beaters and comes out shredded! 🙂

  • Nidibee

    I always keep avocado in the fridge. There’s nothing like a nice poached egg on a bed of ripe avocado. Yummmmmmm

  • Hendrik

    Wow, what did I do wrong? My oven caught on fire?!

  • scionfall

    How much soy sauce and worcestershire sauce do you use for the mix? The article doesn’t say…

  • I have just discovered this way of cooking chicken, and it has now replaced my old can’t-cook-won’t-cook recipe of stir fried chicken rocks (sorry, I can’t cook chicken in a pan, never gonna happen). So far my favourites are putting the chicken in a dish with garlic cloves, lemon slices and covered with tarragon, or with garlic cloves, lime slices, and covered with ginger slices and strips of lemongrass. Both ways covered in olive oil and salt and pepper first. Now I’m going to try the soy/worcestershire sauce mixture, I love yakitori marinaded chicken and have never made it before!! Plus, this has made me think… amassing as many different versions of roasted chicken breast as possible should be part of my next 6 week challenge!!

  • Aslanjr

    Love this recipe, thank you for share

    370 Paleo Recipes

  • Sarah

    Do not cook in aluminum foil!!!

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