Rush Hour

Next time you find yourself craving those strips of chicken being offered at restaurant and fast joint alike, take a step back and think about how simple they are to make and, better yet, how much more healthy you can make them in your own home. After all, the best part of enjoying those juicy pieces of chicken is dipping them into one of my favorite sauces -- and those are almost always better when assembled at home.

I like being able to enjoy a healthy serving of "chicken fingers" (as I like to call them), so I try to eliminate as much fat from the cooking process as possible. This is made easy by baking them suspended on a wire rack instead of deep frying. Having them resting on a wire rack while baking allows you to part with any added fat that might be required with an oiled baking pan or -- worse yet -- hot oil for deep frying. An added benefit is the reduced baking time that's required due to the heat being able to penetrate the chicken from all sides.

If you're going to cut back a lot of the fat in a meal like this, I recommend including strongly-flavored ingredients in the coating -- in this case, crushed tortilla chips and chili powder. These two elements give the final product a salty and spicy taste. Feel free to substitute other ingredients to suit your liking.

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Baked Chicken Fingers

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/3 c. crushed tortilla chips
  • 1/4 c. cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/3 c. flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Trim the chicken of all visible fat. Cut it into thin strips -- about 1 X 4-inches.

Process the remaining ingredients in a food processor to combine. Pour the mixture into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and shake to coat the chicken.

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire rack over the baking sheet. Carefully lay the coated chicken on the wire rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink. Serve with assorted sauces for dipping. Some suggestions:

  • honey mustard dressing
  • barbeque sauce
  • teriyaki sauce
  • honey
  • cocktail sauce
  • buffalo wing sauce
  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 30 minutes

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