healthy recipes

Peggy, Week 10: Try It Tonight: Oven “Fried” Chicken

Chicken Parmesan

One of my family’s favorite meals is fried chicken. We typically take chicken breasts, and pound them until thin. We coat them in egg, flour (mixed with garlic and salt and pepper), and breadcrumbs (Italian seasoning). Then we fry them in a pan with oil. I usually fry enough for two nights, and use the leftovers to make chicken parmesan the following evening with pasta.

Our nutritionist, Elizabeth Fassberg, suggested baking the chicken, using an oven fried recipe, and serving the chicken parmesan with vegetables. It would save us lots of calories and fat, but just so you know: this is not a change I was willing to make. So I compromised by serving salad and using a whole wheat pasta.

I have read about oven baked chicken for years, but I had never actually tried it before. The kids like the fried chicken, and I never thought the baked chicken would taste crispy enough. Here’s what I realized when I tried it out:

The chicken does come out crispy, if you switch to panko bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

One problem is that the chicken tends to be a little dry, because it is not soaking up the oil in the pan. Solution: Always make a sauce or dip to go with the chicken. A few dip options I found on the internet that work well include: making a gravy from cream of chicken soup; making your own BBQ sauce or using a bottled one whose ingredients do not start with sugar; and opting for honey mustard.

Overall, the baked chicken works well with chicken parmesan. After making the basic recipe, add the mozzarella cheese and sauce, bake until the cheese melts, and serve with pasta. Also, try making the sauce in your Crockpot over a long weekend and freezing it. You’ll save cash and it’ll taste better.

Have you tried oven-fried chicken? Post a comment and let me know what you thought.