Thursday, November 8, 2012

Baked Chicken Fingers & Smashed Potatoes

A lot of the fun of watching football is being able to graze on food for three hours, or more.  Football food used to be your basic junk food, but not anymore.  Calorie ladden and loaded with large amounts of fat, it always tasted good, but now there are so many more optionsBuddy Valastro, formerly known as the Cake Boss, currently TLC's Kitchen Boss, offers a healthy recipe for baked chicken fingers.  
Baked Chicken Fingers

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Nonstick vegetable cooking spray
2 Tb olive oil
1 C dried breadcrumbs- I used Panko
2 Tb grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp crumbled dried oregano
½ tsp coarse salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400, spray baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside.
Cut each of the chicken breasts lengthwise into 4 -5 strips.  Place in a medium bowl.  Add olive oil and stir to coat evenly; set aside.
In a shallow dish, mix together breadcrumbs, cheese, oregano, salt and pepper.  Dredge the chicken in breadcrumb mixture to coat.  Arrange on prepared baking sheets.
Transfer to oven and bake, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, 12 -15 minutes.  Serve chicken fingers hot or at room temperature. 

Rather than deep-fried french fries (I'm not saying I don't like them), try one of my new favorites from Bon Appetit's August issue, Roasted Smashed Potatoes.  I love their crispy edges.
 Smashed Roasted Potatoes

 6–8 servings

 2 pounds small to medium red-skinned potatoes
 2 tsp kosher salt
 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
 1/3 cup EVOO

Preheat oven to 350°.  Wrap each potato individually in foil.  Place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until tender, 45–60 minutes.  Let cool slightly.
Unwrap potatoes and arrange on same baking sheet.  Set another rimmed baking sheet over potatoes, rimmed side up, and press gently to smash potatoes without breaking them apart.  I like to smash each one a bit flatter with my hand after the initial baking sheet press.  Season with salt and pepper; drizzle with half of the oil.  Carefully turn potatoes to coat.
Preheat oven to 500°.  Roast potatoes for 15 minutes.  Drizzle with a little more of the oil, turn to coat, and continue roasting until crispy and golden brown, 25–30 minutes. 
Notes: add minced garlic and scallion with final flip of potatoes.
If you must have something to dip your potatoes into, here's a healthy gravy from a vegetarian restaurant in Toronto, called Fresh.  They serve this gravy with their baked sweet potato fries.  Aside from the fact this gravy is really tasty, you get bonus health points from the nutritional yeast.  According to the Nutritional Diva, Eating a heaping tablespoon of nutritional yeast is like taking a high-potency B-vitamin complex.  A serving will generally stock you up with a couple of days’ worth of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and B12, and a substantial amount of folic acid.  Nutritional yeast also packs a decent amount of fiber and protein into a pretty small low-calorie package.

Fresh’s Miso Gravy

4-1/2 Tb spelt flour
1/4 tsp garlic granules (or powder)
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1-1/2 cups vegetable stock or filtered water
1/3 cup olive oil
1-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tb miso paste, light or dark
3/4 tsp fine sea salt

Combine olive oil, mustard, miso and salt in a bowl and set aside.  
In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together the spelt flour, garlic powder and nutritional yeast.  Whisk in stock or water to make a paste.  Raise heat to medium high and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 minute.
Whisk in oil mixture until smooth.  Serve hot, or refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes about  2 1/2 Cups.

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