Friday, July 27, 2012

Eat: Southern Unfried Chicken

When I get overwhelmed by my torrid love affair with pasta, my respite is often comfort food from my childhood. My Grandma was the kind of 50's housewife that made meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans and had everything sitting on the table ready to eat when my Grandpa and her kids (my dad and aunt) got home from work and school.

My Grandma died when I was in the 8th grade, but luckily both my Dad and Mom took the time to learn some of her recipes before she passed.

I'm no sure why I'm writing this preface, because the recipe I'm about to share is not my Grandma's at all. I guess I'm writing about her because when I think about home and comfort I think about a grandmother's cooking. Though I will always adore Grandma's slippery pot pie, hogmaw, and macaroni and cheese recipes, my favorite comfort foods of all time are my Dad's oven-fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

When I moved away from home, I tried in vain to reproduce Dad's chicken and mashed potatoes. While I will never master the potatoes, I've been able to get very close on the fried chicken. Unfortunately... this fried chicken, while delicious, is an artery clogging calorie bomb.

Husband and I are trying to eat healthier these days, and my usual fried chicken recipe has been a casualty. I still find myself longing for it sometimes, so when I came across a recipe for Southern Unfried Chicken in the October 2011 issue of Runner's World, I ripped it out and tucked it away.

Finally, earlier this month Husband and I were going through recipes trying to find something new to eat. He pulled out this one and after long last, it made the weekly dinner menu. It passed the taste test with flying colors, though I will warn that it is very time consuming (at least 1 hour of marinating, 1/2 hour in the fridge after breading, and 45-50 minutes of baking), so it's best for a lazy weekend day when you have time to waste.

I save calories on the chicken... so I can still eat a pile of mashed potatoes along with it.

Find the full recipe after the jump...

Southern "Unfried" Chicken
from Runner's World, October 2011

Total prep and cook time: at least 2 hours, 30 minutes
Serves 4

1 cup buttermilk
2-3 teaspoons hot sauce (to taste)
4 skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons Parmesan
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-2 teaspoons black pepper
1-2 teaspoons hot red pepper (to tate)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
cooking-oil spray

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

2. In a bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauce. Submerge the chicken breasts in the buttermilk marinade and allow to soak at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. 

3. While chicken is marinading, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, and the rest of the spices in a gallon-size plastic bag. Place marinated chicken in bag, seal, and shake to coat. Once chicken is evenly coated, remove and lay flat on a lightly oiled sheet pan. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Lightly coat each chicken breast with cooking-oil spray. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Serves four.

Nutrition facts per serving: 323 calories, 27g carbs, 4g fiber, 39g protein, 7g fat

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