What's not to like about the dinner time favorite? Yes, the versatile, inexpensive and protein- rich chicken. Here are some basic cooking and preparation tips for your sumptuous chicken recipes.
Keep the chicken cold after buying from the supermarket. Store it in the freezer, or the coldest part of your fridge. Don't let it stay long in your cold cabinet, though. Don't store it for more than 2 days, but instead cook it within that time period. It's not a good idea to leave the chicken raw or unfrozen at room temperature. It encourages the rapid growth of Listella and Salmonella bacteria that causes spoiling. Otherwise, if you intend to keep the chicken for weeks to months, place it inside the store packaging and then freeze. Months of storage needs you to wrap the poultry meat in heavy duty aluminum foil and thick freezer bag. Properly stored, chicken meat can stay for as long as one year and still keep its quality.
Time to take the chicken out of the freezer. Thaw it safely and slowly. A whole chicken may need 1 to 2 days to thaw in the fridge. If the chicken has been cut in pieces and boneless, they'll thaw faster in 2- 9 hours. A faster way to thaw chicken is by placing it in the microwave oven and setting it at the "defrost cycle" mode. Again, never leave chicken to thaw in room temperature, or you'll get spoiled meat. A cold water bath also thaws chicken faster.
Inside and out, rinse the chicken with water. Use paper towels to pat the meat dry before preparing. Make sure to clean all surfaces and utensils you use to prevent cross- contamination. A separate chopping board should be used for chicken.
Use a meat thermometer because it's the only way to tell if chicken has been properly cooked. It's not enough to see the juices running clear. Insert the thermometer in the chicken thigh to check the internal temperature. See to it that you don't touch the bone. Properly cooked chicken should reach 165°F (75°C).
When you remove the chicken from the heat, it will continue to cook. So if the temperature is a few notches low, keep the thermometer inserted. The temperature could climb up to a safe heat.