Cooking Basics: Tender, flavorful grilled chicken

Marinaded, uncooked chicken
Marinated, uncooked chicken

Rubber chicken should only be found in lame comedic routines and at cheaply catered weddings (and honestly, even there it shouldn’t exist). As college students with (a) no money and (b) being perpetually on the run, we’re prone to eating a lot of garbage, but your chicken shouldn’t be on that list.

It’s the foundation for dozens of dishes here at Collegiate Cook, and after testing several recipes, I’ve found that this is the best way to prepare tender, juicy grilled chicken.

Utensils required: George Foreman grill, resealable bags/reusable food containers, knife and fork


Italian dressing (for whatever reason, Wishbone’s version tends to have the most flavor out of the various brands I’ve tried)

Frozen chicken breasts

Plastic resealable gallon-size bag (or reusable container)


1. A few hours before you decide to eat, take the chicken out of the freezer and move it to the refrigerator so it can begin thawing. About an hour before you plan on eating, take put the chicken in a resealable bag, dousing it so it’s completely covered with the Italian dressing. The dressing will serve as a marinade, tenderizing the chicken while adding subtle flavor.

Note: The chicken in the picture is chopped because I decided to add it into a stir fry dish I was making. The chicken will cook much faster if you cut it up, but you don’t have to do this. This recipe is as if all you did was chop the fat (that white, globby stuff) off the chicken before marinading it.

2. Cooking each breast takes about 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken and how thawed it is. You may see some steam rise from the machine — that’s just the excess marinade evaporating.

3. Before taking a single bite – or adding it to a recipe – cut the chicken in half and make sure the meat doesn’t look pink inside. It should be white all the way through.

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