Monday, July 12, 2010

A Surprise Ending

Fried Chicken Fingers are more than just an offering on a Kids' Menu. Along with square pizza from the cafeteria and summer time ice cream trucks, Chicken Fingers make up childhood memories. I think I love the fried, crispy coating even more than the chicken itself. You can't go wrong with a crispy, coated chicken breast in my book. But unfortunately, they are high in fat and sodium and whatever you choose to dunk them in can add excess calories. The original recipe for Paula Deen's Italian Chicken Sticks is no exception, but boy, do they look good!

I started by soaking the chicken strips in low-fat buttermilk, instead of dipping them in butter. I let them chill in the fridge while I got my seasoned coating ready.

I decided to try wheat germ as a coating instead of regular breadcrumbs. Speaking of childhood memories, my mom always used to sprinkle wheat germ in our mac and cheese to sneak some nutrition into our diets. I don't remember it really well, but my brother always shares the story that Mom got away with it until we had Grandma's Macaroni and Cheese and thought it tasted better (I guess our young pallets preferred wheat germ free mac and cheese)!

Did I mention that I had a little helper in the kitchen?? Karma always picks the worst spot to hang out while I'm working in the kitchen. Today she decided to sit in my work corner, right at my feet. But I love her, so I work around her!

Once the chicken had soaked, I set up my assembly line.

I popped these bad boys into the oven for 25 minutes and started typing in my ingredients to see how my version compares to the original recipe. I assumed the original used 1/4 c marinara sauce for dipping and my revised version used 1/4 c. low sugar ketchup.

The end product was delicious! I dipped my chicken fingers in low sugar ketchup because that's how I roll.

After dinner I finished looking up the nutritional stats and I was shocked! Check it out!

Nutritional Information (OLD) Nutritional Information (NEW)
Servings Per Recipe: 8 Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving Amount Per Serving
Calories: 373 Calories: 383
Fat: 9.7 g Fat: 7.5 g
Sodium: 781 mg Sodium: 472 mg
Fiber: 1 g Fiber: 2 g

There was almost no difference in calories and only 2 grams of fat less than the original. The sodium is noticeably lower, since I omitted adding salt to the wheat germ mixture. So even though there's not that much of a difference, I'll probably still use my recipe just because the wheat germ takes me back to the good ol' days.

Here's the revised recipe:

(Wheat) Germy Chicken Strips (serves 8)

1 c wheat germ
1/2 c reduced fat Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 c low-fat buttermilk
No Sugar Added Ketchup, for dipping (can also use marinara sauce, honey mustard or BBQ sauce, but just watch your portion size!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken strips in a bowl and pour the low-fat buttermilk over them. Make sure the chicken is coated and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a shallow dish or pie pan and mix well.

Dredge the buttermilk coated chicken breasts in the wheat germ mixture and place on a baking sheet sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with ketchup or sauce for dipping.

1 comment: