Why I Hate Chicken Breast

At 1080 calories, this one salad seems healthy - but is over half the calories that an adult male burns in a day.

A whole roasted chicken is amazing

A whole roasted chicken is amazing

Someone told you once that chicken was good for you, especially the white meat – and that evil chicken skin was bad – so you have been living off chicken breast as a protein for the last few years and your mouth finally dialed my 911 number and asked for an intervention. Chicken breast – it is tasteless without skin and bones, it is often overcooked, and it is not as “healthy” as you think.
But I love chicken.  The smells of  a whole roasted chicken makes my house and heart happy. My favorite way these days is splatchcock style as above, or on my 1957 rotisserie.  In the case of those, the breast is a part of a whole- it is in context, it is a blank canvas upon which you can layer lovely flavors.
But a boneless, skinless chicken breast is tasteless. None. It is bland, it is lifeless, it is the favorite of dieters since the ancient myths about this lean protein being healthy.
Here it is – the naked chicken breast – with a herb satchel.
Chicken Breast Is It Low In Fat – must be compared to steak
Oh, but this is good – you hear the chorus say. It is a “diet” food.  This is a 5 ounce chicken breast, it has about 250 calories in it. About 30 grams of protein, 4 grams of the evil saturated fat, and etc.
Oh that red meat you eschew? A similar piece of New York Strip (one of my favorite cuts) is also about 250 calories. About 42 grams of protein, and 2.8 grams of the evil saturated fat. What? Yes, you read that correctly.
It is Too Easy To Overcook
People overcook the chicken breast all the time.  The instructions of many recipes are set to an internal temperature of about 165 degrees Fahrenheit – which means all of the moisture will be gone – the chicken will be dry. It doesn’t matter what sauce you put around it- when you have dry chicken it is like eating a ball of rubber bands.
I pity the party of the man who is showing his culinary skills at the grill with a chicken breast. This would turn anyone into a vegetarian
You think putting this breast in a crock pot with slow cooking at a low temperature will be a good thing?  Nothing worse than crock pot chicken breast — the lowest temperature on most crock pots is about 177 degrees Fahrenheit – again, over cooked.  So the chicken will be surrounded by juice of itself and be dry and overcooked. The best way to cook this protein is Sous Vide – otherwise you sacrificed the life of a chicken for naught.
Airlines always overcook the chicken – always. It is always chicken breast – and in spite of them saying that food tastes differently at higher altitudes with loud music one thing is certain – the chicken will be overcooked – and tasteless.
Speaking of the steak – ever wonder why a steak is more moist than a chicken? Medium rare is 132-134 degrees Fahrenheit – so the steak is still moist.  All you need is that sear on it, the Maillard reaction, and you have a great bit of food.
It has no flavor
Pretty sure that cardboard has a more interesting flavor and texture than chicken breast. Seriously – grill a plain chicken breast and eat it. Kind of dull. Make it interesting- surround it with other flavors and the chicken is just a dull protein that won’t ruin the spark of the other flavors. Chicken Marsala – well,  if you make a rich marsala with great mushrooms, stock, and wonderful wine the sauce will not be overwhelmed with the flavor of the chicken breast (don’t buy the cheap wine, this is food, if you eat cheap food you are missing out).
Pick any chicken breast dish – any – tell me how the chicken flavor added to it.
Boneless – Skinless – oh you just tossed the best part
Try this- cook the skin separately on a baking sheet with some poultry spice and salt. It crisps up nicely like bacon – and is delicious. Then cook the chicken breast with the bones – oh there is flavor there, and it comes out- a rich flavor, a flavor of savory chicken that was lost when someone convinced you to pay a bit extra not to have the bone.
But the Thigh
Ok, maybe I am a leg man more than a breast man – but the thigh has flavor, and texture.  Ever wonder why wings taste so good — (hint, it isn’t the blue cheese — seriously, some people put that on wings – of course some people still choose margarine).
Do Yourself A Favor
Stop buying chicken breasts and thinking you are eating healthy. You want a great chicken – roast one properly, and then you can use the pan gravy from the stock and the drippings to make that breast stand out.
Don’t buy it skinless and boneless. Don’t just grill it. Don’t put it in a crock pot. 
Stop the insanity.
Chicken breast – it ranks with fillet and pork loin as flavorless proteins.  I think Tofu is cheaper, and probably tastier.

Teach Your Kids To Cook

JJ cooking

Before mom lost her sight, and couldn’t cook – she critically watched to make sure I made the eggs properly – low and slow

Mom wasn’t eating. She was batty, not always oriented to time or place, but she wasn’t eating. The place thought she was just obstinate – or that her appetite loss was a manifestation of her disease – whatever that might be.

When I arrived at the “memory care center,” I asked her why she wasn’t eating . “The food is terrible. Its bland, they don’t know how to season.”

There it was – my mom, her brain might be a bit batty, but her taste was spot on. So I tasted her food – and she was right. She had lost twenty pounds on a couple of weeks, and at 87 you just can’t do that, besides what else was happening to her, she needed some strength.

Mom raised a cook. She taught me taste, flavor, combinations. It wasn’t easy- because growing up in Ketchikan, Alaska you didn’t have a lot of fresh food. The food we had was amazing – salmon, halibut, red snapper – all just a fishing pole away. We had seasonal wild berries, some planted rhubarb, and raspberries – but our vegetables came in a can. This was Alaska in the 1960’s – it wasn’t until later we were able to enjoy frozen vegetables.

But from that fare mom raised a cook. The salt shaker was not spared – she taught me that seasoning isn’t over salting, and that you can’t make up for a lack of seasoning with a salt shaker once the meal was cooked. She taught me that one note dishes are boring, and even if you have cans you can add spice to bring alive tastes. In this remote place of the world – where we had one tv station that started broadcasting at 5 pm and aired two day old NBC news reports – mom taught me about curries.

I went back to my dad’s house and made her a small meal, something simple – a hamburger- but it was a good burger, and some salad that popped with flavors. Not too much, she had not eaten much in several weeks. Mom devoured it.

That meal began mom’s recovery. I told my dad to bring her a burger sometimes from Wendy’s – and other foods. He did. Mom was able to come home. Good cooking- without it mom would have not eaten, she would have declined, and not come back.

So when I look at my son, in the kitchen I realize – I have to teach him to cook. Someday he may return the favor. And at least I can keep him from the bland world of institutional cooking that prevails in America.

5 of the Biggest Weight Loss Myths

At 1080 calories, this one salad seems healthy - but is over half the calories that an adult male burns in a day. 16

Have you ever noticed Facebook articles, food marketers and local newscasts are always telling you what’s good, what’s bad, or what you should and shouldn’t eat? Well, some of those things are just nonsense, so here are the 5 largest weight loss beliefs that keep people from making weight loss progress.

Myth #1: Yogurt Is Good For You

Where did that come from? But more importantly, have you looked at the label on your yogurt to see how much sugar is in there?

See that 19 grams of sugar on the back of yogurt container? Consider the American Heart Association recommends 24 grams for a daily dose for women. This has more sugar in it than some Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream – so you think this is healthy? Really? It isn’t. Most yogurt is nothing more than a less tasty ice cream.


Myth #2: Peanut Butter Is A Healthy Protein Snack

Well, it does have some protein in it, but lets take a look at a label just for fun.

Do you see that 75% of the calories from this “natural” peanut butter come from fat? There is some protein in it, but there sure is a lot of fat. So when it comes to a snack, this may not be the one you want.

Myth #3: Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal of the Day – Eat Breakfast Like A King.

I love breakfast, but your body needs to burn these calories just as much as it does all the other meals you eat.

More than 860 calories in this one meal, uses up a lot of your 2000 calories for the day. In fact, based on a 2000 calorie diet for men, you would only have 1140 calories left for lunch and dinner.

Myth #4: Protein Bars Are Good and Potatoes are Bad (a twofer)

It is amazing what we’ve been sold. Here you have a potato – something that nourished the poor in Ireland for years, and has a lot of great natural fiber and nutrition, and then a “protein bar,” that has been made up just to sell you something.

It’s hard to imagine that a protein bar is “bad” – it sounds good. For years the poor potato has been abused by weight loss books everywhere. But which fills you up? So think about this – someone is trying to sell you something.


The nutrition in one medium potato. This doesn’t look so bad – in fact, it looks like a healthy choice for a meal

This is the Atkins Peanut Butter Granola Bar – now- ask yourself, if you ate one of these which would last you longer for satiety?

Myth #5: Salads Are A Great Way to Lose Weight

If you’ve ever checked the calorie content of most salads, you’ll see they are worse than a lot of other meals. Sometimes it’s the dressing, sometimes it’s the things that are placed in the salad. But salads are a vehicle for a lot of bad calories.  Here is the TGIF Chicken Pecan Crusted Salad:

At 1080 calories, this one salad seems healthy – but is over half the calories that an adult male burns in a day.