Taste test: precooked chicken breast pieces and strips

Ready-made chicken is perfect for tossing atop a salad, shredding on tacos or fajitas or warming between tortillas for a quick quesadilla. We found five brands of frozen or refrigerated chicken breast meat that was precooked and preseasoned for use in any number of quick recipes. The first two were the favorites among our panelists, but they were also pleased with the other three choices.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/serving Perdue

half-cup

Market Pantry

3 ounces

Tyson

3 ounces

Hormel

2 ounces

Oscar Mayer

3 ounces

Calories Fat/Fiber Sodium 90 2g / 0g 460mg 120 2.5g / 0g 750mg 100 2g / 0g 470mg 60 1.5g / 0g 340mg 110 2g / 0g 510mg
Judges' comments Panelists liked the grill marks on Perdue's chicken breast pieces. They appreciated the mild seasoning and the moist and tender texture of the meat. A few of them picked Perdue's as the best-looking and "prettiest to put on a salad." Target's brand was frozen, but thawed in the microwave within seconds. The package directions also suggested heating in a skillet on the stove. Our judges thought this chicken would be great in a stir-fry recipe as well. Judges detected lemon and pepper flavors in the seasoning. Tyson's chicken was well-seasoned with a hint of garlic and a decent amount of salt. "It's very yummy and would be great for snacking or mixed in a dish of whole-wheat pasta," said one judge. Judges tasted sage and thyme flavors in Hormel's chicken pieces. One said it would be especially good in a chicken and biscuit dinner. A couple said it was too moist to stand alone. These strips were plump. Judges said they looked like strips they had carved from the chicken themselves. "This tastes like I had baked it in the oven at home," said one. "It would be great on a sandwich with field greens and white cheddar and garlic mayonnaise."
Shopping information $3.99 for a 9-ounce package from Sweetbay. $5.99 for a 20-ounce package from Target. $2.59 for a 6-ounce package from Target. $3.29 for a 6-ounce package from Target. $2.54 for a 6-ounce package from Target.
Product/serving Perdue

half-cup

Market Pantry

3 ounces

Tyson

3 ounces

Hormel

2 ounces

Oscar Mayer

3 ounces

Calories Fat/Fiber Sodium 90 2g / 0g 460mg 120 2.5g / 0g 750mg 100 2g / 0g 470mg 60 1.5g / 0g 340mg 110 2g / 0g 510mg
Judges' comments Panelists liked the grill marks on Perdue's chicken breast pieces. They appreciated the mild seasoning and the moist and tender texture of the meat. A few of them picked Perdue's as the best-looking and "prettiest to put on a salad." Target's brand was frozen, but thawed in the microwave within seconds. The package directions also suggested heating in a skillet on the stove. Our judges thought this chicken would be great in a stir-fry recipe as well. Judges detected lemon and pepper flavors in the seasoning. Tyson's chicken was well-seasoned with a hint of garlic and a decent amount of salt. "It's very yummy and would be great for snacking or mixed in a dish of whole-wheat pasta," said one judge. Judges tasted sage and thyme flavors in Hormel's chicken pieces. One said it would be especially good in a chicken and biscuit dinner. A couple said it was too moist to stand alone. These strips were plump. Judges said they looked like strips they had carved from the chicken themselves. "This tastes like I had baked it in the oven at home," said one. "It would be great on a sandwich with field greens and white cheddar and garlic mayonnaise."
Shopping information $3.99 for a 9-ounce package from Sweetbay. $5.99 for a 20-ounce package from Target. $2.59 for a 6-ounce package from Target. $3.29 for a 6-ounce package from Target. $2.54 for a 6-ounce package from Target.

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; and Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island. All foods were tasted blind.

Taste test: precooked chicken breast pieces and strips 08/27/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 27, 2010 12:36am]

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