It’s summertime and some of America’s favorite pastimes are BBQ’s and picnics. And the comfort food that is synonymous with these activities plays such an important role. The only problem is: much of it is really, really unhealthy.
So, do we indulge and feel guilty and unhealthy? Or do we deprive ourselves and miss out on the fun? I say neither! I am embarking this summer on finding, modifying or creating some of America’s favorite summer comfort foods in healthy but delicious and non-sacrificing ways.
Here’s a recipe that’s a riff on fried chicken, which would normally be a diet-buster! Some might be familiar with it from the 90’s when Oprah’s chef, Rosie made it popular. I hadn’t used it in years, but got tired of feeling guilty or deprived. So I pulled it out recently and made some modifications after several go-rounds. Have your fried (un-fried) chicken and eat it, too!
2-3 pounds organic (if you can) boneless, skinless chicken thighs*
3 1/2 cups ice water
1 cup non-fat plain yogurt (I use Greek yogurt)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 T Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon creole seasoning
1/8 t black pepper
dash cayenne pepper
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Put the chicken in a large bowl with the ice water. Put the yogurt in another bowl. Toss all of the remaining breading ingredients together and place on a large plate.
Remove two pieces of chicken from the ice water, shaking off the excess water. Using a pastry brush, brush them with the yogurt. Roll them gently in the breadcrumb mixture, making sure to coat thoroughly. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat the process until all of the chicken is breaded. Spray the chicken lightly with cooking spray.
Bake the chicken until done, approximately 30 minutes (165 degrees). Turn over carefully halfway through the cooking time. The chicken will keep cooking once you remove it from the oven.
Carefully lift chicken from baking sheet with spatula to preserve crust. Serve hot or at room temperature. This chicken is so good, you will hardly miss the real deal. And there will not be any guilt or deprivation!
*I get organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs from Costco