Hello everyone! *waves* I’m so excited to talk about today’s bento box of goodness. Before I get into the narrative, let’s talk about what’s packed for a full, busy day ahead.
- Chobani Yogurt for breakfast – Be sure to check out Not Exactly Bento this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. as I talk more about the whole case of Chobani I recently received.
- Pan-Grilled Chicken bento – chicken, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, fruit slices (plum & nectarine).
- Container of Caesar dressing
- Cheese and crackers for an afternoon snack.
Now, on to the really important part of this post: the chicken. I have a bad habit of overcooking chicken all the time. Overcooked, dry chicken breast is my specialty, so if you need some of that, just let me know…I can help you figure out how to accomplish it. It’s one of the main reasons I started roasting chickens so often; I don’t have the problem over cooking it as much in the oven as I do on the stovetop. Typical of me. I bake fairly well too.
But it’s hot right now in Louisiana. Well, it’s hot right now across the country as we all experience heat wave after heat wave. So the other night, I was determined to pan grill some chicken breast. I didn’t want to bread it as I knew I wanted this for salad and pasta. The chicken breasts were laid between two sheets of cling wrap, pounded to a little more than 1/4″ thick. Each chicken breast was liberally rubbed with seasonings I mixed together: 1 tablespoon of a salt-free garlic & herb seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon Tony Chacherie’s Cajun seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon salt. I made sure to time and cook each side of the chicken for about 5-6 minutes, letting it rest afterwards for about 3 minutes before cutting. This turned out great! The chicken was seasoned just right for me and worked well as an addition to both dishes. The process I went through to make this chicken is listed below. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me. My readers who are more experienced cooks, please add any helpful tips you might have in the comments below.
Be the bento, everyone!
P.S. Not Exactly Bento is getting an update. I’ll talk about it more a bit later in the week once I finish all the tweaks. It will take me a few days to finish. Hopefully, you will all find the changes very helpful.
- For the Chicken:
- 2 – 2.5 lbs chicken breast, boneless & skinless
- 4 tbls of McCormick Salt Free Garlic & Herb Seasoning (or other brand of your choice)
- 2 tsps of Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s)
- 1-2 tsps of salt
- 1-2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- Grill pan
- Cling wrap
- Meat mallet or heavy skillet (like cast iron)
- Butcher block
- Cooling rack
- Mix all seasonings together to make your chicken rub. Feel free to adjust the levels of Cajun seasoning and salt to your own tastes or needs.
- Rub all sides of the chicken with a liberal amount of the rub. Really coat the chicken well.
- Wash your hands well.
- Wrap the chicken breasts in cling wrap to avoid kitchen splatters.
- On a sturdy surface (like your butcher block) place a wrapped chicken breast.
- Using a meat mallet or heavy skillet, pound the chicken breast to about 1/4 inch thickness. Do this for each chicken breast.
- Heat olive on medium heat (number 5) in a grill pan. Let the oil oil heat until it begins to shimmer.
- Add 2-3 chicken breasts to the grill pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes. Flip. Cook the other side for 5 minutes.
- Remove chicken breasts from skillet to a cooling rack. Allow the chicken to rest 3-5 minutes before cutting to retain the meat’s natural juices for a more tasty cut.
If you have to cook the chicken in batches in your grill pan, keep an eye on how quickly the 2nd or 3rd batch cooks. I find on the second batch, I have to turn the heat down a bit so that the outside of the chicken doesn’t overcook compared to the inside.
This could also work for chicken strips (tenders). You might need to experiment with the cooking time a bit to get it right.