Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oven-Fried Chicken

As a California native, fried food has never been a part of my diet.  As someone who has always been interested in health—and a girl whose thighs grow just from looking at food—I don’t eat fried food.  This served me well for 24 years—until I fell in love with a man from the Midwest

Allow me to go back in time to my childhood for just a moment.  My mom taught me many wonderful things—if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all (still working on it!), write thank you notes as soon as you receive a gift, life isn’t always fair, etc.  These ideas made sense to me, even at a young age, but there was one point my mom drilled into me didn't make sense until many years later:
          “Men don’t change.”

You know the saying “you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl?”  Well, you can take the boy out of the Midwest, but you can’t take the Midwest out of the boy.  My mom was right—men don’t change.  My husband is incredibly easy to please, and always compliments me on what I feed him—but now we’re in Texas and fried food is everywhere!  He’s in heaven.   I see the ecstasy on his face as he bites into chicken-fried steak (which I hadn't even HEARD of until we moved here) and feel torn: I want him to be that happy when eating my food, but I refuse to deep fry food.  What’s a healthy girl to do?

Solution: Cooking Light’s oven-fried chicken.  With a mere 4.4 g of fat (only 1 g of saturated fat), it’s clearly a healthier alternative to fast food fried chicken (which Cooking Light cites at 24 g of fat). 
Sure, KFC has perfected their breading over the years—but this is still a good piece of “fried” chicken, and it doesn't clog your arteries.

This is one of our stand-by recipes--it's tasty, quick, and easy.  Whenever I don’t know what to make, my husband will request this at least 75% of the time.  With only a fraction of the fat of regular fried chicken, I’m happy to oblige.

Here’s the run-down, so you can decide if you want to add this chicken to your dinner repertoire:

Step 1: Marinate chicken in buttermilk for 1 hour

Step 2: Mix flour, cumin, red pepper, white pepper, and salt.

Step 3: Dredge chicken in flour mixture twice, spraying with cooking spray after each 'breading'.

Step 4: Bake

Prep time: 1 hour , 10 minutes (Active prep: 10 minutes)

          This is one of the easiest recipes ever—and while the chicken does need to marinate for an hour, it takes all of 60 seconds to dump buttermilk over chicken in a ziploc baggy. 
Cook time: 30 – 40 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour, 40 minutes
*Mostly pantry ingredients—no need to run to the grocery store, unless you don’t have buttermilk on hand.
*Incredibly easy to prepare, and very low-maintenance; while the chicken baked, I whipped up buttermilk biscuits, cooked broccoli and asparagus, sliced cantaloupe, and prepped the strawberries for our strawberry shortcake dessert.  
*kid-friendly—but perhaps cut back on cayenne pepper
*very few dishes!

          *does not reheat well—breading gets soggy
                    --Perhaps if you have a toaster oven it would work better?
          *although easy, it does take an hour and a half--not an option when you walk in the door at 7:00

NOTE: Parchment paper is essential!  I resisted the last few times I made it, and had an issue each time with the breading coming off the chicken.  Don't skip out on the parchment paper!
          **Also: don't skip spraying the chicken with cooking spray and dredging it in flour again.  I've been lazy in the past, and it just doesn't work as well.  Besides, who wants to skimp on breading???

Oven-Fried Chicken
Cooking Light, April 2002
Marinating in buttermilk results in tender, juicy chicken, and double breading gives a crisp crust. For a smoky taste, use ground chipotle pepper in place of the ground red pepper.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 breast half or 1 thigh and 1 drumstick)


  • 3/4  cup  low-fat buttermilk
  • 2  chicken breast(about 1 pound), skinned            (I only used chicken breast)
  • 2  chicken drumsticks (about 1/2 pound), skinned
  • 2  chicken thighs (about 1/2 pound), skinned
  • 1/2  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  white pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cumin       (I use a heaping 1/2 tsp--we love cumin)
  • Cooking spray


Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine flour, salt, peppers, and cumin in a second large zip-top plastic bag. Remove chicken from first bag, discarding marinade. Add chicken, one piece at a time, to flour mixture, shaking bag to coat chicken. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour; lightly coat each chicken piece with cooking spray. Return chicken, one piece at a time, to flour mixture, shaking bag to coat chicken. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour.

Place chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 35 minutes or until done, turning after 20 minutes.

Nutritional Information

Calories:263 (15% from fat)
Fat: 4.4g (sat 1.2g,mono 1.1g,poly 0.9g)
Elaine Magee, Cooking Light, APRIL 2002

1 comment:

  1. I agree, men don't change! I recently made this recipe myself, and thought it was awesome. (the drumsticks and thighs taste just like KFC!) It's going to be our new standby for chicken, too. Cheers!