Friday, August 22, 2014

Spicy "Fried" Chicken

Though summer is coming to an end, tonight felt like one of those night when some good, old fashioned food might taste good. Lately, chicken has become B-O-R-I-N-G and often times it's dry and not very good. Then, if I buy fried chicken, which is usually juicy and full of flavor, I know it's also full of calories, fat, and carbohydrates that are not good for anyone, and especially not for me with my diabetes and my tendency to high cholesterol. So, tonight, I decided to try my hand at making "fried" chicken -- a first for me!

The basis for the recipe comes from the book Diabetes Meals on $7 a Day -- Or Less (2nd Ed) from the American Diabetes Association and is Marilyn's Spicy "Fried" Chicken. It's a fairly simple recipe and my adjustments have been deemed "delicious". The original recipe calls for:

3 egg whites
1 1-oz packet ranch-style salad dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
5 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
cooking spray
1 tablespoon corn oil

I didn't have any ranch style salad dressing mix and I thought I could spice this recipe up even more, so I made some adjustments:

3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
pinch of salt
3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
5 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon canola oil

Heat your oven to 375F (190C) and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Whisk egg whites in a large bowl and set aside. Place bread crumbs and seasoning in a large, zip lock plastic bag and mix well. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg white, making sure the chicken is completely covered. Then place each piece in the bag with the bread crumbs and seasoning, shake until covered and place on the baking sheet. Yes, this is very much like a homemade Shake-N-Bake, but one good thing about making this yourself is that you can control your ingredients and your spices. Want this spicier? Increase the Cajun seasoning and the paprika. Craving an Asian flair? Use Chinese 5 spice in place of the other spices except for the garlic (garlic is wonderfully versatile!). It's up to you how you flavor your chicken!

Bake for 20-25 minutes, then brush the chicken with the oil. Return the chicken to the oven and bake again for another 10 minutes. Juices should run clear and there should be no pink evident when done. 

The recommended serving size is 3 ounces and has 187 calories, 7 grams fat, 7 grams carbohydrates, and 24 grams protein. Though packaged Cajun seasoning is loaded with salt, since I used only 1/2 teaspoon over 30-oz chicken, I believed that there was far less salt per serving of chicken than when I use the Cajun seasoning as a rub. 

Admittedly, this is not like Grandma's fried chicken or even KFC, but it's also a whole lot less greasy than the pre-made stuff. It also didn't take very long -- Had I not had to help a neighbor, it would have been done and plated in about 35-40 minutes. But, that's OK. I  don't mind helping friends and it didn't take any longer than if I had gone to a store and bought the not-so-healthy chicken instead. And, I love trying new recipes and this definitely was a winner!

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