When I'm meal planning for the week ahead I always try to incorporate as much variety as I can. Chicken is usually on the menu, vegetables are always front and centre, and sometimes we take a break from meat altogether... meatless Mondays anyone?
Food can get boring pretty easily with repetition, especially when lean chicken breast is a mainstay in our house. Unless you know how to spice things up from time to time. Know what I mean?
Enter the world of spices & herbs and a little out of the box thinking.
That's where this recipe for healthy faux-fried/ chicken comes in. If you recall that lunch salad I made a while ago topped with baked chicken; this is the recipe for the chicken.
Crisped to perfection in the oven using homemade whole grain breadcrumbs and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. A hint of fresh thyme also adds flavour that's reminiscent of Spring.
My go to lunch is almost always a leafy green salad with protein (chicken, hard-boiled egg, lean pork tenderloin, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts etc.). When it comes to salad dressing I will either make my own or opt for lemon juice or balsamic vinegar (sometimes with a bit of olive oil). I've recently discovered how amazing fresh minced ginger root is added to my salads. It practically acts like a salad dressing. It adds a nice zing and it's super good for you too.
The leftovers are really good too. So far I've tried it in my lunch salads and in a wrap all nice and toasty with spinach, mustard, leaf lettuce, and shredded carrots.
Crispy Baked Chicken (serves 4)
- 4 chicken breast halves
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup skim milk
- 1 tsp Sriracha
- 1 cup whole grain bread crumbs *(I like to make my own)* See Note
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- a pinch of smoked paprika (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375*F. Place an ovenproof wire-rack on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and Sriracha. In a separate medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, thyme, cheese, and paprika.
- Dip each piece of chicken in egg mixture, shake off excess liquid, then roll in breadcrumb mixture to coat. Arrange on prepared pan/ wire rack.
- Bake without turning for 50 minutes to 1 hour until internal temperature registers 180*F on an instant read thermometer.
To make your own breadcrumbs, take a few slices of day old whole grain bread and chop into small (1 inch) cubes. Place them on a baking sheet in the oven on 350*F for 5-10 minutes or until they are nice and toasty. Watch they don't burn! Transfer them to your food processor and give them a quick whir until they resemble breadcrumbs. You can give them a drizzle of olive oil before toasting, but it isn't necessary.