Monday, September 28, 2015

Mexican-style Grilled Chicken Breast Rub

When I season meat, I almost never measure out the ingredients.  After cooking for awhile (and experimenting some not-so-delicious cooking mishaps), I've learned to just "eye-ball" ingredients.
This recipe will be a little different than most of the other ones that I will post.  I'll share with you the ingredients that I used, but I don't have the exact measurements of everything (sorry, sorry, sorry!). 

Although a recipe without precise measurements may be a little intimidating, testing it out and experimenting for yourself is a great way to start becoming comfortable in the kitchen.  Too many times, people are scared to veer off from a recipe, thinking that the meal will completely ruin if numbers are not followed word-for-word (baking is a different story...don't use this advice or you may just have flat cakes...).  Other times, a recipe may force you to run to the store to buy a certain unique spice that will remain in your cupboard, never to be used again.  However, recipes should not restrict you and your palate.  Everyone has different flavors and spices that they like and dislike; perhaps you like your meals a little saltier or spicier.  Whatever the case is, go ahead and cater the dish to your liking.  Don't be afraid to manipulate the recipe.

Once you become comfortable beyond a recipe, you will not only create meals that you'll enjoy even more, but you will also be able to just start mixing and combining ingredients without needing to rely on a recipe book (that means no flipping back and forth and running to the table or counter constantly!). 

So today I share with you the ingredients that I used for this Mexican-style Grilled Chicken Breast Rub; I will try to explain how much of each spice I used as best as I can, but go ahead and adjust the ingredients to your preference.  You can mix all of these spices together into a bowl or measuring cup first, but I just go ahead and season directly onto the chicken breast; this helps me to see how much of each ingredient I use.  I encourage you to choose whichever method you are more comfortable with. 

Spices You'll Need:
  • Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning Without Pepper (blue cap) - I highly recommend you go out and buy this seasoning.  It is a delicious alternative to using salt and truly adds great flavor to chicken and steak!
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin
  • Onion Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Oregano

How I Season:
  1. Thinly coat each side of the chicken breast with the Adobo seasoning.  This seasoning has salt, so definitely don't pat on a thick layer.  However, you want to make sure that a noticeable layer covers the entire chicken breast on both sides.
  2. I LOVE garlic, so I definitely do not skimp out on this ingredient.  I don't turn my chicken breast white with garlic, but I generously add another thin layer to both sides. 
  3. As with the two ingredients above, I coat on another thin layer of cumin as well to both sides. 
  4. With the onion powder, I just use a couple of pinches (perhaps around 3 per side).  I sprinkle it above the two ends and the middle, and then gently rub it into the other spices that I have used so far.  The onion powder that I use has a tendency to clump together, so using my fingers rather than shaking it from the container works best to spread the powder.
  5. For the chili powder, black pepper, and oregano, I very lightly sprinkle them over the entire breast.  I don't create a layer with these seasonings; otherwise, they'll be overpowering.  Instead, I just want to make sure that each bite I take has a speck or two of these seasonings.  The chicken breast should look "spotted".

Cookin' Time:
  1. You can either let your chicken breast marinate in the fridge for an hour or two, but I typically just throw it straight onto the grill.
  2. Once again (I'm truly sorry), I have grilled chicken breasts so many times that I rely on how it looks rather than a time frame for cooking.  It's also hard to tell you an exact cooking time for each side because it really does depend on the thickness of your chicken patty.  Here is how I know when it is time to flip: the edges of the top of the breast start curling up and turning "white" about a few centimeters into the breast.  The bottom has definite grill marks and a slight brown color.  Once the chicken breast looks like this, I flip and wait until the uncooked bottom begins turning brown with defined grill marks.  This is probably taboo, but I tend to like my chicken breasts a little drier and slightly crisped.  I flip once more onto each side until the sides turn a deep brown color and the edges just begin to char.  To check if the chicken breast has finished grilling, carefully remove it from the grill and cut into the thickest part.  If the chicken breast is completely white, taste a small piece.  If the piece is not "rubbery" - don't worry, it really should not be at this point - it is ready to eat!
  3. Serve this chicken breast with rice, beans, vegetables, or all three.  You can even cook a bunch of these chicken patties at once to use throughout the week for other meals.  

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