What first comes to mind when someone says “healthy dinner”? Is it the stereotypical, boring, dry chicken breast void of flavor that you would like to hurl at the TV while watching America’s Next Top Model? Well, I’m here to say it does not have to be that way! Despite popular belief, healthy dinners can be ridiculously delicious and satisfying. If you are in the mood for chicken, I got a great recipe to jazz it up. You’ll never have to go back to boring and dry again.

There is a way to actually enjoy “fried” chicken without the guilt. Baking it in the oven cuts a tremendous amount of calories and fat you would get if you fried it over the stove in oil. I found this recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cook book and tweaked it a bit. I used low-calorie, zero fat Panko bread crumbs to coat which gives the chicken a delicious, crunchy taste while locking in the moisture. I discovered my love for Panko crumbs trying it out in a recipe for oven-fried pickles I desperately craved while pregnant.


Oven-Fried Chicken:

1 egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons low-fat milk
1 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried crushed thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 1/2 – 3 lbs chicken pieces (breasts, drumsticks or thighs, I used breasts)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix egg and milk in a small bowl.

In a shallow dish combine thyme, paprika, salt, pepper, and Panko bread crumbs. Mix in melted butter until crumbs are evenly coated.

Skin chicken pieces if needed. Dip chicken pieces into bowl of egg and milk mixture then into the crumb mixture, coating thoroughly.

Position chicken pieces in a large, greased baking pan, ensuring pieces are not touching (if using thighs make sure bone side is down). Pour remaining crumb mixture over the pieces to liberally coat.

Bake at 375 degrees, uncovered, for 45-55 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. No need to turn pieces while baking. Easy-peasy!!

That’s it! I served this with some herb-roasted potatoes and a nice green salad. It was surprisingly good and moist, and I even got a big thumbs-up from my picky-eater husband.

Tip: Do this to chicken breast tenders for a kid-friendly meal. Prepare the same but substitute 1 1/2 lb chicken tenders and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 min or until no longer pink.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 14th edition