Italian-Style Oven Fried Chicken

The holiday season is officially upon us. And while I am certainly not one of those people who begins blasting Christmas music on November 1st – seriously, can’t we quarantine them somewhere?! – with just over a week before Thanksgiving, I think it’s safe to say the holidays are here.

For just about anyone, the holiday season is a pretty bad time to rededicate yourself to an exercise and healthy eating routine. Why pass up all the stuffing, casseroles, and pies your heart desires during a season where over-eating is practically mandatory? But if you’re a food blogger, beginning a weight loss plan during the holidays is especially ill-advised. No one wants to know how to make chia seed brussels sprouts or celery sticks dipped in air! This is America! People need recipes for sweet potatoes wrapped in bacon and covered in chocolate, god dammit! But since I strive to be unconventional, I have in fact decided to go on a diet.

Before you roll your eyes, allow me to explain. I’ve got nothing against a little holiday weight gain – I excel at it! But wouldn’t it be great if you could enjoy your favorite seasonal treats and not have tight pants at the end of it? Christmas-time splurges and a healthy diet can coexist, and I’m going to show you how. First up: Italian-Style Oven Fried Chicken.

I decided to begin my holiday season diet with a healthy spin on classic fried chicken. By utilizing skim milk, whole wheat panko crumbs, and an oven baking method, I lightened up this traditional comfort food without sacrificing flavor. To complement my main dish, I prepared sides of homemade potato salad and green beans. Using a combination of low-fat mayo and greek yogurt controlled my salad’s calories, while my green beans were simply steamed with salt & pepper. Together, my meal gave me the holiday feel I was craving without erasing a hard day’s work.

Looks indulgent. Tastes indulgent. And it’s good for you?! I think I might just have to turn up that Christmas music to celebrate!

Low-Fat Baby Red Potato Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
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Ingredients
  

  • lbs Baby Red Potatoes
  • ½ cup Diced Yellow Onion
  • ¼ cup Cubed Pancetta
  • 3 tbsps Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tbsps Low-Fat Mayonnaise
  • tsps Horseradish
  • tsps Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt - approx.
  • 2 tsps Coarse Black Peppercorn - approx.

Instructions
 

  • Boil large pot of salted water, then cook washed potatoes until soft, ~20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • While potatoes cook, in small skillet saute yellow onions in EVOO. As onions soften and become translucent, add pancetta. Cook ingredients until browned and crispy, then cool and drain in paper towel lined bowl.
  • In small bowl, combine greek yogurt, mayonnaise, horseradish, and red wine vinegar, stirring thoroughly. Next, add room temperature onions and pancetta, combining well before setting aside.
  • When potatoes are cool, cut into quarters, then place in large bowl. Salt & pepper potatoes, then add sauce. Stir until all potatoes are coated, then cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Italian-Style Oven Fried Chicken

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Ingredients
  

  • 2 -3 lbs Whole Cut Chicken Breasts, Thighs, Drumsticks
  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs
  • ¾ cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • cup Skim Milk
  • 2 tbsps Low-Fat Butter
  • tsps Oregano & Parsley - approx.
  • tsps Sea Salt - approx.
  • 2 tsps Coarse Black Peppercorn - approx.
  • Crisco to grease

Instructions
 

  • In small bowl, combine egg, egg whites, and milk, whisking thoroughly. In another bowl, combine panko crumbs, pecorino cheese, oregano, and parsley, mixing well. Set both aside.
  • On cutting board, lay out chicken pieces and amply salt & pepper both sides. Next, dredge chicken pieces in egg mixture, then roll into breadcrumbs, coating well. Place coated chicken into well-greased pan, spacing pieces evenly so they do not touch.
  • When all chicken has been coated, melt butter on stovetop, then drizzle over meat. Bake at 375F for 45 - 55 minutes until chicken is crispy and brown. Allow to cool, then plate and serve.

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