Here’s a tasty spinach stuffed chicken breast recipe that combines the vibrancy of fresh greens with protein power of poultry. Enjoy the dish, along with some tips to help you pick out the best chicken for your meal.
2 Fresh Chicken Breasts
2 cups Fresh Spinach, chopped
Juice from one Lemon
1 cup of Carrots, chopped
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
2 cups of Brussels Sprout, halved
Spice things up! (Optional Ingredients may be added/substituted as you choose)
Cover, and bake at 350 °F for 45mins.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING CHICKEN?
Chicken is so common that we almost take it for granted. It’s available in so many ways, it is easy to assume it is all the same – But it’s not at all. Here are a few guidelines to help you pick a healthy, juicy chicken.
Fresh vs. Frozen
Advancements in freezing and packing technologies have increased the quality of frozen chicken and other perishables. However, be aware there is a bit of a trade-off for that convenience. Something you really want in chicken is juiciness and that comes from having enough water in the meat. However, typical freezing processes tend to dry out the meat. This means, the cooked chicken is going to be missing some of it’s natural moisture and juice.
We like to use fresh chicken whenever possible, and especially for this spinach stuffed chicken breast recipe. If you’re using frozen chicken breasts, be sure to defrost them properly. And keep in mind you may need to adjust cooking temperature and time just a bit to compensate for the meat’s moisture.
Use Your Senses – Literally!
When it comes to buying any fresh product, your senses are your best friend. Use sight, touch and smell to find the best goods. But of course, you have to know what to look for. According to Bart Pickens, executive chef at Party Fowl, “Fresh chicken should not have an odor, and should be plump and undamaged.” He also said “The skin should be a yellow tint, and the meat should be pinkish and natural-looking in cut or shape.” Additionally, Brian Smith, co-owner of The Butchery said “Breasts should be pale pink with very little fat and dark meat should be dark pink with some white fat.”
Is Organic Chicken Better?
Foods can only be labeled as Certified Organic if they are verified to meet the criteria set by the USDA. Buying these products will help you avoid any synthetic pesticides, sewage, genetic engineering, and more. It will also help the agriculture industry make further progress in sustainability and conservation.
But the debate is still out on whether organic foods are truly more nutritious or taste better than their non-organic counterparts. It definitely doesn’t hurt to eat organic, but truly it comes down to personal preference on this matter. Just be sure to read the labels to be sure you know what you are getting.
Another good thing to look for on chicken labels is the halal stamp – regardless of whether you need it for religious reasons. According to chef Jehangir Mehta of Graffiti Earth, a New York restaurant focused on sustainability, “The chickens are very fresh, and you’ll be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that your chicken was farmed humanely and responsibly.”
A fun thing to note is: the “hormone-free” label is completely unnecessary. All chicken sold legally in the US is hormone-free. So that label is pretty much just a marketing tool.
Making the Grade
You may not have noticed this before, but each package of chicken you buy has a grade on it. If you look closely, you should be able to find one of: A, B, or C.
Grade A Chicken
Doesn’t have any deformities, is well-fleshed, there’s a generous layer of fat, there aren’t any feathers or hairs still attached to the outside of the chicken, and there aren’t any cuts or tears in the skin or flesh, broken bones, or discolored portions.
Grades B and C Chicken
These tend to have increasing deformities and other issues. This meat is still useful depending on how it will be prepared, but typically you’ll want to stick with grade A.
Farm-Raised vs. Pasture-Raised
Forget both of these terms! The USDA does not have a certification or definition for Pasture-Raised chicken. So it’s meaning could vary by each farmer and packager. Just about all our poultry is raised on farms so “Farm-Raised” means nothing and carries little value, other than for marketing.
What you should be looking for is Free-Range chicken. This guarantees that they have spent time in the open outdoors. Further, search for grass-fed poultry rather than corn-fed.
Over time you’ll get used to picking the right chicken, but until then enjoy this spinach stuffed chicken breast and refer to this guide to make sure you’re keeping yourself and your family well-fed and healthy. If you have any of the same difficulties picking out Salmon, we’ve laid out a few guidelines here.