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How to Make a Healthier Bucket O’ Chicken at Home

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How to Make a Healthier Bucket O’ Chicken at Home

Postby oneh2obabe » Jan 28th, 2013, 9:27 am

The beauty of fried chicken is that it's cheap and delicious. The not so beautiful side is that just two pieces of extra-crispy Kentucky Fried Chicken comes in at around 490 calories. And that doesn't include those irresistible mashed potatoes and gravy either, which will add another 120 calories.

Can you do a better job of making your own version of a crispy "Bucket o' Chicken" without leaving the house, without using a deep-fryer and without blowing your calorie allotment for half the day on only one meal? Yes! In fact, you can do it for only half the calories and just one-fifth the fat and sodium of the fast-food classic.

2 pcs. oven-fried chicken:
224 calories (KFC - 490)
7 grams fat (KFC - 34)
237mg sodium (KFC - 1,140)

Here are 5 tips to help you make healthier "fried" chicken at home:

1. Remove the Skin
But wait! Isn't it the skin that makes chicken crispy?! The answer: Not if you're frying it. What makes classic fried chicken crispy is the coating, which is usually made of flour and spices. So you can lose the skin without compromising flavor. And you'll save big time on saturated fat. Your meal at KFC would have 7 grams of saturated fat. This recipe has only 2 grams of saturated fat.

2. Marinate the Chicken
Marinating your chicken in buttermilk is the right way to start any fried-chicken recipe. Why? The buttermilk begins to break down the protein in the meat, making it more tender when it's cooked. It also opens up a great opportunity to infuse some flavor--like garlic or even a little hot sauce--into your chicken. You can marinate it for just a short time (around 30 minutes or so) or up to 8 hours. In general, the longer the better--just don't let it go too long or your meat will end up with a mushy texture.

3. Get Out the Cooking Spray
Instead of letting your chicken pieces swim in a pool of hot oil, you're going to give the coated chicken pieces a light coating of cooking spray before oven-frying (see next tip). Cooking spray is great because it gives your food a nice even coating of oil without tacking on too many calories. (Spraying oil for 1 second adds about 9 calories.) And using spray helps keep the coating on the chicken by eliminating the need to brush oil onto it or flip it in a pan. It also helps keep it from sticking to a wire rack.

4. Don't Fry Your "Fried" Chicken
Make fried chicken without deep-frying? Yes. For a healthier result, you want to oven-fry. Put down your frying pan and preheat your oven to 425°F. A hot oven is a great way to get a crispy crust and cook food quickly. If you use your frying pan, you'll have to use lots of oil to achieve the same crispy result--not to mention the few extra hundred calories it will add to your final dish. Another advantage of the oven? You can make a "bucket" full of chicken in just one batch; if you were using even your largest skillet, you would have to cook the chicken in batches.

5. Use a Wire Rack
So now that you're cooking your chicken in the oven, you'll need to invest in a wire rack about the size of your baking sheet. Is it critical to use one? Yes. (Don't worry, they're cheap.) It raises the chicken off the baking sheet so heat can reach underneath the food as well as on top. (If it's sitting right on the baking sheet, you get a nice crispy top but a soggy bottom.)

Here's the recipe:

Oven-Fried Chicken
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk - see tip at end of recipe
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. hot sauce
2-1/2 - 3 lbs. whole chicken legs, skin removed, trimmed and cut into thighs and drumsticks
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
1-1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
olive oil cooking spray

1. Whisk buttermilk, mustard, garlic and hot sauce in a shallow glass dish until well blended. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or for up to 8 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.

3. Whisk flour, sesame seeds, paprika, thyme, baking powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place the flour mixture in a paper bag or large sealable plastic bag. Shaking off excess marinade, place one or two pieces of chicken at a time in the bag and shake to coat. Shake off excess flour and place the chicken on the prepared rack. Discard any leftover flour mixture and marinade. Spray the chicken pieces with cooking spray.

4. Bake the chicken until golden brown and no longer pink in the center, 40-50 minutes.

Tip: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions or make "sour milk" by mixing 1 tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.
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Re: How to Make a Healthier Bucket O’ Chicken at Home

Postby flamingfingers » Jan 28th, 2013, 6:01 pm

That is really good; however, I presoak chicken pieces in salt/sugar/water, drain then toss them in a bag (skin on) with Bisquick/cornstarch with herbs and stuff added (curry is my favorite) shake free of extra coating and onto a rack with oven temp around 380 for at least 45 minutes. Taylor tells me when they are done and I can choose to peel off the skin on the more fatty parts (dog treats).

BTW: Maybe about once every 3 months I Have Got To Have KFC. Ya, too much fat, waaayyy too much salt, but fast food is seen sparsely around my house.
Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.
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Re: How to Make a Healthier Bucket O’ Chicken at Home

Postby Bsuds » Jan 28th, 2013, 6:09 pm

flamingfingers wrote: Maybe about once every 3 months I Have Got To Have KFC. Ya, too much fat, waaayyy too much salt, but fast food is seen sparsely around my house.


Every so often we will have some KFC. Our memories must be bad cause that reminds us why we stopped getting it in the first place.

Over priced and more often than not, tastes like crap too.
Recent medical research has shown that a Woman who carries a bit of excess weight lives much longer than a man who mentions it!
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Re: How to Make a Healthier Bucket O’ Chicken at Home

Postby flamingfingers » Jan 28th, 2013, 6:16 pm

^^ Yeah, but I do get them to substitute cole slaw for the chips. The chips suck worse. Oh, and now Tooney Tuesday is Now a Tooney AND a Loonie!!
Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.
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Re: How to Make a Healthier Bucket O’ Chicken at Home

Postby Bsuds » Jan 28th, 2013, 6:27 pm

We will only get chicken and get the fries from McD's
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Re: How to Make a Healthier Bucket O’ Chicken at Home

Postby flamingfingers » Jan 28th, 2013, 6:32 pm

We don't have a McD's here... must be one of the only places in BC... but ages ago I used to enjoy their Sausage McMuffin with egg - the true Canadian killer!
Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.
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Re: How to Make a Healthier Bucket O’ Chicken at Home

Postby oneh2obabe » Jan 28th, 2013, 6:33 pm

I'm with you FF - skin on and if I don't parts of it when the chicken is ready, pooch gets a treat. As far as I'm concerned you can forget the nonfat buttermilk - use the whole fat kind. Haven't had KFC since the store in K'town stopped making the extra crispy.
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Re: How to Make a Healthier Bucket O’ Chicken at Home

Postby flamingfingers » Jan 28th, 2013, 7:03 pm

Tonight I am having a baked omelette with ham, broccoli, onion and lots of mushrooms. With eggs that are barely 6 hours old.

H2O - do you have up to date info on the egg/cholesterol scare that was promoted ages ago? If that was true I guess my folks should have died well before they were 90 and I (and my sibs) should have had bypass surgery 10 years ago.
Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.
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Re: How to Make a Healthier Bucket O’ Chicken at Home

Postby Bsuds » Jan 28th, 2013, 7:30 pm

Recent medical research has shown that a Woman who carries a bit of excess weight lives much longer than a man who mentions it!
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Re: How to Make a Healthier Bucket O’ Chicken at Home

Postby oneh2obabe » Jan 28th, 2013, 8:25 pm

flamingfingers wrote:Tonight I am having a baked omelette with ham, broccoli, onion and lots of mushrooms. With eggs that are barely 6 hours old.

H2O - do you have up to date info on the egg/cholesterol scare that was promoted ages ago? If that was true I guess my folks should have died well before they were 90 and I (and my sibs) should have had bypass surgery 10 years ago.

Between the dire warnings about eggs, coffee, bacon, and butter we should have all been dead by now. But like everything else, moderation is the key.

The dietary cholesterol in eggs has only a small insignificant effect on blood LDL cholesterol, so you can enjoy up to six eggs each week as part of a healthy balanced diet. No need to limit your intake unless your GP or dietitian has specifically advised you to do this. Eggs contain just 85 calories each but are packed with nutrients including protein, zinc, iron, iodine and vitamins A, D, E and some B vitamins.
Dance as if no one's watching, sing as if no one's listening, and live everyday as if it were your last.

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