Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Baked Buffalo Chicken Salad

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For me, lunch is always the hardest meal to plan.  I need something to look forward to at the mid-point in my work day, and unfortunately daily forays outside the office is not an option for me.  Therefore, one of my biggest challenges is making lunches that are healthy, filling and satisfying.  One meal that I try to vary is a simple salad.  I absolutely love buffalo chicken salad; however they tend to be fairly unhealthy given the fried chicken, blue cheese, and amount of dressing I tend to slather on.  So one day, I decided to try and create a healthier option. Since then, I've probably made this lunch around 20 times.  It is that good.

For the Buffalo Chicken you will need: 

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast tenderloins
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup bread crumbs
2 egg whites, beaten
1 tablespoon water
Hot sauce as desired
3 tbsp butter
(recipe adapted from Epicurious)

I like to do all the prep for this meal before starting to prepare it, which happens basically in an assembly-line fashion.  First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.   

Then in a gallon size plastic bag, add the flour, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and salt.  Mix these ingredients in the bag by holding at the top and shaking a bit. 

In a small bowl or Tupperware, crack the eggs and mix whisk them.  I actually use the whole egg for this meal, which slightly lessens its healthiness factor, but I think adds more flavor.  I also add hot sauce to the egg mixture to increase the heat level on the buffalo chicken.  If you desire, add hot sauce to taste.  Then, on a plate, mix the breadcrumbs, and another teaspoon each of garlic powder and cayenne pepper. 

You are now ready to prepare the chicken.  Before we begin, I wanted to mention something about the chicken used in preparing this dish.  The recipe calls for chicken breast tenderloins.  I have typically used those, but this time, I used chicken breasts and pounded them thin.  Why?  Because, they were significantly cheaper at my grocery store and its just as delicious either way. 

Ok, back to the preparation. First, add the chicken to the bag and shake it until the chicken is coated in the flour mixture.  Then, dip the chicken in the egg mixture until it is fully covered.  Finally, place the chicken in the breadcrumbs and coat.  Then place the chicken on the baking sheet.  Repeat until all chicken is complete.  

Bake the chicken for 8 minutes, flip chicken and bake an additional 8 minutes.  Once chicken has cooled for about 15 minutes, you are ready to add the final touch.  The original recipe did not call for this, but I like to add it to make it seem more like traditional buffalo chicken.  Melt butter in microwave safe Tupperware, usually for about one minute, stirring intermittently.  Then add hot sauce—I usually add about 20-30 shakes of the bottle.  You may need to adjust the butter-to-hot sauce ratio for your palette.  This is just what works for me.  Once the butter-hot sauce mixture is ready, all you need to do is coat the chicken!  I usually just do this by mixing the chicken around using a fork until all of it is coated.

Salad Ingredients:
3 Hearts of Romaine Lettuce
3 Tomatoes
½ cup of low fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 red onion
Low fat or fat free blue cheese salad dressing

To prepare the salad, I simply chop romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and red onion.  I keep everything separate and ready to prepare for quick and easy lunch assembly.  I put the lettuce, chicken and cheese in one container and the tomatoes and red onions in a separate container to prevent it from getting soggy.  When I’m ready to eat lunch I simply toss the tomatoes and onion on top of the salad and add a bit of dressing.  This salad is healthy, delicious and keeps me full for the remainder of the day!

If you try it out, let us know what you think! 

1 comment:

  1. I've had your Buffalo Chicken before and it's so good! I love the idea of putting it on a salad, going to try this for sure :-)


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