Healthy Meal of the Week: Baked Fried Chicken, Rice Pilaf & Salad
Healthy Leftover Idea: Chicken Crescents
Let’s face it, fried chicken tastes pretty darn good but is not very healthy since it’s breaded and dumped in boiling oil. Not to worry since here’s a way to get the same great taste in a much healthier fashion. Instead of frying the chicken we are going to bake it using whole wheat bread crumbs as a coating and absolutely no oil. Intrigued? If not, wait until you get a glimpse of the leftover meal idea great tasting chicken crescents and that might convince you to give all this a try.
– baking sheet
– wire oven rack
– pan with lid (or foil/wrap) to marinate chicken
– pot with lid (for rice)
– food processor (for whole wheat bread crumbs)
– mixing bowl
– non-stick cooking spray
– 75 minutes
– 55 minutes
– 2 pounds chicken bone-in drumsticks/thighs
– 1 package Rice Pilaf
– salad greens (your preference)
– Italian dressing
– 4 pieces whole wheat bread (for bread crumbs)
– 1/4 cup yellow corn meal
– 1/2 cup low fat milk
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 1 tbsp Olive Oil (or comparable)
– 1 lemon
– seasonings: garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper
For Chicken Crescents
– 1 tube Pillsbury Reduced-Fat Crescents
– Ultra Thin Pepper Jack Slices
1. Best thing is to start with marinating the chicken. Remove skins from each piece and rinse chicken under cold water.
2. In a mixing bowl add the 1/2 cup milk, 1 tbsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon of each garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Also cut lemon in half and squeeze all the juice into the bowl. Whisk until sugar is dissolved into mixture.
3. Using forks, puncture each piece of chicken multiple times so marinade can really soak in. Carefully roll each piece in the marinating mixture until completely coated. Place in a shallow baking pan, cover, and place in the refrigerator for an hour.
4. If you are planning to make homemade whole wheat bread crumbs, preheat oven to 300 degrees, place 4 slices of bread on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and flip every 15 minutes for a total of 45 minutes. It helps to set the microwave or phone time to repeat every 15 minutes so you don’t forget. When done remove from oven and allow to cool.
5. Break up the bread into pieces and place into a food processor. Pulse until there are no longer chunks and you are left with smooth pile of whole wheat bread crumbs.
6. Put bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of yellow corn meal, along with a few pinches of salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder into a bowl and with clean hands mix well.
7. Prepare your baking sheet for the chicken. Place a piece of foil across the entire length of the baking sheet. Spray the wire rack well with non-stick spray and place on top of baking sheet.
8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take pan with marinating chicken from the refrigerator. One piece of chicken at a time (not dripping) hold over the bowl of the breadcrumb mixture and use your other hand to sprinkle mixture all over both sides. Don’t roll chicken in mixture since the marinade will cause clumps to form. Once a piece of chicken is completely covered, place on top of wire rack. Repeat for each remaining piece of chicken.
9. Place pan with wire rack of chicken in center of your oven. Set timer for 55 minutes.
10. While chicken is cooking you can start the rice pilaf. Follow directions on the box. In this example we used 1 3/4 cups of hot water and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Bring to a boil, add rice, seasoning packet and stir well. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and set timer for 18 minutes.
11. Last but not least is the salad. Wash lettuce and vegetables you plan to use. Mix in a bowl and serve an appropriate portion size. Hold off on the Italian dressing until ready to eat.
12. When chicken is finished cooking carefully remove from the oven and serve a piece or two along with a scoop of rice pilaf and your salad. Enjoy!
Healthy Leftover Idea: Chicken Crescents
Here’s a great treat you can try if there is any chicken leftover after your meal. Hopefully there is because these are delightfully tasty and simple to make. The only additional items you will need are one tube of Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescents and a couple slices of Ultra Thin sliced pepper jack cheese (or other of your choice).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a baking sheet lightly coat with non-stick spray. Open container of crescents and carefully separate. Gently stretch a bit to help accommodate the items you will be placing within. Strip the chicken from the bone and dice into small pieces. Use your fingers to check for any small bones that may have snuck by. Place some pieces of chicken, a tiny bit of cooked rice pilaf if you’d like, and some cheese. Fold the crescent over on top of itself covering all the items. With fork tines press them into the edges to create a good seal. Place all formed crescents spaced apart on a baking sheet and into the oven. Set timer for 8 minutes and you will have some great tasting treats to enjoy for lunch or snack the following day.
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