What makes a healthy lunch?
Tucking into nutritious chicken during your lunch break can help curb late-afternoon cravings. Here’s how to layer your lunchbox:
Start by adding chicken (preferably without the skin) and lots of veggies to your plate or lunchbox.
Add a small helping of fat. Go for avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds or cottage cheese.
If you’re having a carbohydrate, stick to fibre-rich options (e.g. seed loaf, bulgur wheat or brown rice) or starchy vegetables (e.g. sweet potato or butternut).
Make the meal sing with a dash of lemon, lime, orange juice or vinegar.
Steer clear of sugary, high-kilojoule drinks. Enjoy your meal with a glass of sparkling water instead.
Perfect chicken burgers on the braai
Flame-grilled chicken breasts make for fancy, flavourful burgers. We share a few secrets.
- The uneven thickness of chicken breasts can make it hard to braai them to perfection. The solution? Gently pound or butterfly the breasts before you put them on the fire.
- Marinate the breasts for at least 30 minutes. A marinade made with plain yoghurt, buttermilk or amasi makes for succulent chicken.
- Clean your braai grid with a halved onion and smear it with a dash of cooking oil before braaiing your breasts.
- Braai the breasts for 8 – 10 minutes or until cooked through. At the same time, braai a few slices of pineapple and lightly toast the insides of the buttered buns.
- Build your burgers with the toasted buns, juicy chicken breasts, pineapple slices, mayo, lettuce and tomato. Seconds, anyone?
Make your own spicy chicken rub
Add flaming-hot flavour to a whole, roasted chicken or chicken cuts with this home-made spice rub.
- Mix 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 1 tsp paprika, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp dried rosemary, ½ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder and ½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes (depending on how hot you want your rub to be).
- Crush the spices together – either with a mortar and pestle or with a spice/coffee grinder.
- Rub the spices all over the skin of the chicken and leave in the fridge for an hour or two.
- Braai or cook your chicken in the oven, and tuck in!
How to host a cooking class with the kids
Host your own cooking class with the kids this weekend! We share a few tips.
• Print out our recipe for chicken burger pita breads.
• Let the kids check which ingredients you have and which ones need to go onto the shopping list.
• Get the kids to help with the prep: they can set the oven, help make the tzatziki (while you supervise), and fill the pita breads.
• Let them clean the kitchen and do the washing up with your help. This is an important skill that every little chef should learn.
How to make crumbs for schnitzels
You’ve got chicken breasts, but you don’t have crumbs. And now you’re in the mood for schnitzels.
How to cut costs when cooking chicken
Too much month at the end of your money? These tips will help you to cut costs when cooking chicken for your family.
- Roast a whole chicken and enjoy everything it has to offer. Use the carcass for stock and the giblets to make delicious sauces and gravies.
- Bulk up chicken dishes with healthy, budget-friendly legumes (e.g. beans and chickpeas). Go for dried instead of canned beans, as they tend to cost less.
- Use local, seasonal fruit and vegetables to make delicious chicken dishes. You’ll save money and enjoy the freshest produce there is.
- Don’t throw out that last bit of rice in the pot. Use it as a stuffing for chicken the next day.
- Grow your own herbs. You’ll waste less and save more.
- Lemons pair wonderfully with chicken and cost very little if picked from your own lemon tree. Get planting!
Tips for making chicken in a slow cooker
A slow cooker, or “crockpot”, makes for easy, heart-warming meals. Here’s how to use this nifty device to cook delicious chicken
- Pre-heat the cooker, as this will reduce the cooking time.
- Season the chicken well before placing it in the cooker.
- Always brown chicken pieces before adding them to the slow cooker. This adds colour and flavour to the chicken.
- Place any root veggies (e.g. potato, sweet potato, carrots) at the bottom of the cooker, as they take longest to cook. Use celery, herbs and onion to add flavour.
- Add your sauce early in the cooking process, as this will add moisture, prevent the chicken from sticking to the cooker, and add even more delicious flavour to the dish.
- Remember that chicken dishes cook faster than, for example, lamb dishes. Keep an eye on the recipe – and the clock.
- Make sure your chicken is cooked through before serving. The juices should run clear when the thickest part of the chicken is pierced with a knife.
How to make crispy chicken skin
Rev up a refreshing salad by topping it with crispy chicken skin. It’ll add delicious texture and flavour.
- Lay the skins of large chicken thighs skin-side down on a lined baking tray and scrape off any excess meat with a small, sharp knife.
- Sprinkle with good-quality flaky sea salt freshly ground pepper.
- Place another baking sheet and tray over the chicken skins to weigh them down.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes at 180°C.
- Sprinkle over salad and tuck in!
How to truss a chicken
Trussing a chicken is easier than you may think and serves an important purpose. It helps the chicken to cook evenly without drying out.
- Start by using kitchen twine – plain, unbleached cotton string that won’t melt or burn. You’ll need at least 0,9m of twine for an average-sized chicken.
- Put the chicken, breast side up, on a chopping board. With the legs facing towards you, position the centre of the twine underneath the tailbone.
- Next, secure the legs by lifting the twine and wrapping each end around the bottom of the legs. Cross the two pieces in the middle.
- Now, holding both ends of the twine, pull tightly until the legs come together. Pulling the ends away from you, wrap the twine over the wings and around the front of the chicken.
- Turn the bird over so the neck is facing you and tie a knot beneath the neckbone.
- Trim the ends of the twine using a knife – it’s easier to clean than a pair of scissors.
- Turn the chicken onto its back again and pop it into the oven to roast.