It’s picnic time: Oven-Baked Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Fingers

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Fried chicken is definitely a picnic favourite but when you look at the ingredients and how it’s made, it’s easy to see why it may not make the grade as a  nutrition smart dish.

Obviously at totals can soar in fried foods but also in  dishes where the chicken skin can’t easily be removed. Add that to the method of preparation, where the fat from the skin can’t drip off.

Here’s a baked version where nutrition quotas climb even further with a crunchy coating using whole grains. When purchasing cornmeal, look for the whole grain type which offers more fibre and nutrients than the regular refined variety.

Oven-Baked Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Fingers

Serves 4

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 pound (500 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 to 4), cut into cut into strips 2 inches/ 5 cm long by 1/2 inch/ 1.25 wide
1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (175 mL) whole grain breadcrumbs
1/3 cup (75 mL) whole grain cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) dried thyme
1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt
2 egg whites
1 egg
2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard
4 tsp (20 mL) canola  oil
Lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 425°F/ 220°C.  Spray a large nonstick baking sheet with nonstick vegetable oil spray; set aside.

Place flour in one clean plastic bag and breadcrumbs, cornmeal, thyme, pepper and salt in another plastic bag.

Mix together egg whites, egg and Dijon mustard in shallow bowl.  Pat chicken pieces dry and put chicken fingers, one at a time, first in flour   and then into mustard-egg mixture and finally into breadcrumb-cornmeal mixture, shaking off any excess each time. Place on prepared baking sheet in a single layer on baking sheet, taking care not to crowd pieces. Repeat with remaining chicken. Drizzle with the oil.

Bake the chicken for 15 minutes; remove from oven and turn fingers over. Bake another 8 to 10 minutes or until the coating is golden brown. Serve garnished with lemon wedges.

Nutritional information per serving
•    Calories: 289
•    Protein: 32 g
•    Fat: 8 g
•    Saturated fat: 1 g
•    Carbohydrate: 19  g
•    Dietary fibre: 2 g
•    Sodium: 321 mg

What’s your favourite picnic fare? Please share in the comment section below.

Tags: , , , , ,

Categories: Recipes

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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