Rush-Hour Gourmet

Posted: August 23, 2007

Fried chicken salad is a popular restaurant dish pairing an all-American favorite - fried chicken - with a quick and light romaine salad.

Lighter than the usual fried chicken meal, it's perfect for steamy summer nights but still has more fat than we need.

The problem is solved in this recipe from the All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook, edited by Anne Cain.

More than 10 grams of fat are trimmed by using chicken tenders, lightly breaded and pan-fried, instead of regular or store-bought fried chicken.

Substituting fat-free honey-mustard dressing for a blue-cheese sauce cuts 12 grams.

Fried Chicken Salad

(Makes 4 servings)

3/4 pound chicken tenders or breast meat, cut into strips

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs or panko

1 teaspoon each: garlic powder and dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon each: salt, pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

Cooking spray

4 cups thickly sliced romaine lettuce, cut across the rib

1 (15-ounce) can cut baby beets, drained

1/2 cup fat-free honey-Dijon salad dressing

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1. Put the chicken strips and buttermilk in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

2. In a shallow dish (or bag), mix the flour, crumbs, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper; set aside.

3. When ready to proceed, remove chicken and discard marinade. In a skillet coated with cooking spray, heat the oil. Dredge a few chicken strips at a time in the crumb mix; toss to coat. Cook until done, 3 minutes on each side.

4. Divide lettuce on plates. Add chicken and beets. Top with dressing and cheese.

Per serving: 287 calories, 26 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams sugar, 7 grams fat, 60 milligrams cholesterol, 710 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.

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