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Tip #15: Fillet your breasts

December 6, 2010

Chicken is an excellent food item.  The best part about it is that one half of a chicken breast (1 fillet) is about 4 oz. (100 grams) of meat, give or take.  This is the exact amount of meat you should be getting in each of your meals.  True, this isn’t a lot, but as I have said so many times before, the human body is pretty damned efficient at using energy and meat is pretty energy dense, so if you want to get fit, you can’t fill yourself up on meat alone.  By the way a chicken has one breast that can easily be divided in two, so each of the two halves of the chicken breast are each called a fillet.  There are 2 fillet in the image above, 1 fillet is the portion size I am recommending.  The process of removing the bone from a chicken breast is referred to as filleting, but in this post cutting a fillet in half through the middle is what I am calling filleting, so this simple tip is going to get awfully confusing.

There are some good ways to make chicken go further, the best of these being the stir fry.  There are a couple of great recipes for stir fries in You Are Not A Fit Person, but a quick search of the internet will produce many more.  Just remember to use vegetables you like and add only 4 oz of meat per person.  I love cooked chicken on a salad as well.

For any other way of cooking chicken, I came up with this awesome tip after eating in a couple of restaurants and fast food places lately.  After a short period of chicken breasts appearing to get much larger , they started to shrink.  After I realized the shrinking wasn’t attributable to cross breading of chickens (the growing chicken breasts were), but instead to keeping food costs down, I realized, I like thinner chicken breasts.  It turns out restaurants have been cutting down the size of the chicken breast to make chicken strips and chicken stir fries, etc.  The major advantage of this is to make the chicken breast easier to cook.  Anyone who has worked with a chicken breast knows that one end is quite fat and the other end tapers to nothing.  If you want to cook the whole breast enough that there is no pink meat in the fat end, you end up with chicken that is mostly overcooked.

The solution to this problem is quite simple.  Take your chicken breast and place it on a cutting board.  (Make sure that you have removed the tender before proceeding, that is the little chicken strip thing that is sometimes sold with the breast.  You just stick the knife into the joint of the tender and pull the breast away from it and it should separate easily).  Starting at the fat end of the fillet, place a knife about halfway up.  Make sure the chicken is held in place, I use a fork just a few inches away from the knife in the middle of the chicken.  Begin to slide the knife through the chicken parallel to the cutting board.  As soon as you are in a little further than the width of the knife, move the fork to the area you have cut through, behind the knife and continue to cut through the whole fillet.  When you are done you will have one bigger piece of chicken breast and one smaller (depending on how you cut it) instead of the one fatter breast.  These two pieces of chicken are much easier to cook and make it feel like you are eating a lot more chicken.  This is doubly true if you didn’t prepare it and are getting it served to you, so use this tip on your family.

Remember to serve this with plenty of vegetables and you will get full and enjoy a healthy meal.  If you have a chicken recipe that you can do this with, make sure you write it in your ‘Go To Meal’ List (you can download one here if you haven’t already).  There are a million great chicken recipes, my favorites are in the book.  As well, you can buy boxes of frozen chicken breasts at any grocery store.  These are great to have in the freezer along with a couple of bags of frozen vegetables (California or Asian blend).  With a little planning you can always have a meal.  Either thaw out the chicken by putting a few servings in the fridge before you leave for work in the morning or put them in a bowl of very warm water when you get home (if they are not wrapped put them in a Ziploc before putting them in the water).

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