Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chicken Strips and Fries

Monday was cold and rainy. I ran in the morning, and even though it was chilly, I chose to wear a short-sleeved dress to work. Upon walking into the hospital, I realized that not only was I cold, but my dress was also a little bit too short for work. My suspicions were confirmed when I caught my office-mate give me a once over about ten times over. If I'm wearing something she doesn't like I can always immediately tell. But anyway, back to the cold and rainy day...so it was a cold and rainy day, and I spent most of the day shivering in my poorly-planned summer dress. Whenever I'm cold I always want warm comfort food to make me feel better, so that was on my mind when I stopped at Whole Foods on my way home from work. I decided to make chicken strips and fries, but a healthier, baked version of the chicken, and baked sweet potato fries. 

Whole Foods was out of sweet potatoes! I couldn't believe it! Instead I "settled" for two types of yams, but ended up being very happy with the outcome.

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • Sweet potatoes or yams
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Olive oil
  • 2 egg whites, 1 yolk
  • Spices (I used Green Chili Powder, Cumin, Salt and Pepper)
  • Cooking Spray

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.

Wash yams and cut lengthwise into fries.

Japanese Yams (left) and Hannah Yams (right)

I laid out all of my yam fries across tin foil on two cookie sheets. Make sure to spray the tin foil first! It makes it a lot easier to flip the fries if you spray first (I forgot to spray, of course). Drizzle some olive oil on the fries and flip around so that they all have a little bit of oil (you don't want too much oil, because then they're soggy instead of crispy). Add any spices you'd like - I added a lot of green chili powder, moderate amount of fresh ground black pepper, and a little bit of cumin and salt. Put in the oven for 20 minutes.

While your fries are baking, prepare the chicken. Cut it into strips. In a bowl, beat 2 egg whites and 1 egg yolk. Cover a plate with Panko bread crumbs and grind some pepper on top. 

This was halfway through, so its a bit messy, but you get the idea. Pick up a piece of chicken, coat with the egg mixture, then dredge through the bread crumbs so its completely covered. Place chicken on a cookie sheet covered in tin foil (spray first!). You don't need to use tin foil, I just prefer to because it makes clean up a lot faster.

A note about bread crumbs: I love Panko bread crumbs, which are Japanese. They are much crunchier and crispier than traditional bread crumbs, and are great on chicken, tofu, fish, etc. A couple years ago they were hard to come by, but now just about every grocery store carries at least one variety of Panko bread crumbs. I used whole wheat Panko for tonight's dinner:

When the timer for the fries went off, I removed both cookie sheets, and put my chicken in the oven. Set the timer for 8 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, I rearranged my fries onto 1 cookie sheet. I flipped all of them, and arranged them so they'd all get equal heat, and added a little more green chili powder, salt and pepper. I also did a little bit of tasting, which is when I first realized how yummy the yams were!

After the 8 minutes, flip the chicken over and put the fries back in the oven with the chicken:

Cook for another 7 minutes. Cut through a strip to assure that the chicken is cooked through and there's no pink.

Dinner is served!

I also had a glass of Viansa Prindelo wine. Prindelo is a blend of Primitivo (67%), Zinfandel (22%) and Teroldego (11%) from the estate vineyards in Sonoma Valley. This wine has fruity flavors of berries, spice and light oak with a long rich finish and firm acidity which balance the fruit flavors.  

Looks like a kids meal with an adult beverage!

I ate my chicken strips and fries with some ketchup and honey. I think that honey mustard would have been great with this chicken, but I forgot to get Dijon mustard at the store. The fries were so good...possibly even better than sweet potato fries! The yams were sweet and seemed to hold up better than sweet potatoes, and were nice and crunchy. The chicken was very good, although I think it was a little bit too whole-wheaty. You know how some whole wheat pasta is delicious, but other brands just taste too healthy? This tasted a little bit too healthy, so I think next time I'd mix traditional Panko with whole wheat Panko for the breading.

For dessert I had Gaga with fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries:

No,  Lady Gaga did not join me for dessert. That would have been cool. Gaga is a frozen treat my mom introduced me to, which calls itself "Smooth as Ice Cream, Fresh like Sherbet"

It did taste like a super creamy sherbet, and had just 150 calories and 3.5 grams of fat per serving (plus 100% of your Vitamin C)! This was sooo good, and now I want to try all of the flavors! You can order online, or buy at Wegman's, Whole Foods, or The Fresh Market.

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