As you've probably noticed, I like to bake. A lot. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to convince David that we can, in fact, subsist on cheesecake and cookies (but wouldn't that be awesome). Since we do have to actually eat real food sometimes, I am forced to cook. Yes, forced. You see, I love to bake, but cooking always seems like a chore. Weird, right? Anyway, I decided that I would start sharing some of the savory things that come out of my kitchen, alongside the barrage of sweets that you're accustomed to. I can't promise anything too earth shattering, since I am a far more creative baker than I am cook, but here goes.
If you live in the south, chances are you have at least heard of and probably eaten at Zaxby's. For those not in the know, Zaxby's is a regional fast food joint that specializes in chicken fingers. While I fancy myself a foodie, I must admit that the Kickin' Chicken Sandwich from Zaxby's is one of my weaknesses. It consists of three chicken fingers (deep fried, of course), hot wing sauce, ranch dressing (full-fat, naturally), all piled on top of thick-cut slices of buttery Texas toast. Sounds pretty tasty, right? Unfortunately, this little gastronomic delight is not exactly figure friendly, weighing in at around 700 calories and 40 grams of fat.
So, what's a girl to do? Recipe makeover, of course. My version of the sandwich includes chicken tenders that are breaded in panko breadcrumbs and then baked, not fried. Instead of ranch dressing, I made a reduced-fat blue cheese dressing with a Greek yogurt base. I then grilled up a couple of lightly-buttered slices of thin sliced Italian bread. To top it off, I used my favorite wing sauce, Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce. The verdict? David and I both thought these were better than Zaxby's for a couple of reasons: they were far less greasy, and we both preferred the blue cheese dressing that I made to the ranch that Zaxby's serves. Plus, mine weighs in at around 375 calories and 12 grams of fat, which is much more figure friendly than the original.
Health(ier) Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
Baked Buffalo Chicken Tenders
adapted from: Food.com
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders, cut into 1/2" strips
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce (or wing sauce of your choice)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Combine flour, spices, and salt together in a shallow dish. Place egg in a separate shallow dish. Place panko in a third shallow dish.
3. One at a time, dredge chicken pieces through the flour, then dip in egg, and finally dredge in panko. Place strips on the prepared baking sheet.
4. Lightly spray the tops of chicken tenders with cooking spray. Bake in the pre-heated oven for approximately 15 minutes, turning once half-way through cooking.
5. Toss cooked chicken with wing sauce to evenly coat.
Reduced-Fat Blue Cheese Dressing
adapted from: Clean and Delicious
1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together first five ingredients until smooth. Fold in blue cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
"Skinny" Texas Toast
8 slices thin sliced Italian bread (I used this one)
2 tablespoons light spreadable butter