Crunchy Comfort

Sometimes, in an effort to balance the cravings for comfort food with slightly healthier cooking methods, you get results that exceed your expectations and new comfort food is born. That's exactly what happened recently when I was craving fried chicken, but didn't want to be deep-frying anything in an effort to avoid lots of heavy grease and the mess associated with such an undertaking. Still, I wanted a crunchy coating with tender, moist chicken beneath. What's a girl to do?

Enter crushed cornflakes and a super simple recipe for oven-baked chicken. I find crushed, seasoned cornflakes to be an ideal coating for chicken and this was no different. I've used egg washes before to help the coating adhere to the chicken, but I was looking for something to lend a bit more flavor to the final result this time around. I ended up melting a few tablespoons of butter in the microwave and adding ground cayenne pepper to it. Rolling the chicken pieces in that before tossing them with the seasoned cornflake mixture gave the meat enough of a coating to keep the crumbs adhered to the chicken. I actually coated the chicken in advance and arranged the pieces on a cookie sheet and left it, uncovered, in the refrigerator until I was ready to bake it. That meant a relaxed opportunity to putter with a salad while the chicken baked and opportunities to clean up the prep space before dinner. In the end, I've got a crunchy oven-fried chicken recipe that I enjoyed more than a deep-fried version that makes less of a mess and is lower in calories, if not exactly diet food. Enjoy!

Spicy Oven-Fried Chicken

  • 5-6 meaty chicken pieces -- I used thighs
  • 3 T. butter -- melted
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups cornflakes -- crushed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika

Remove any excess fat and skin from the chicken pieces and set aside. Combine the butter and cayenne in a shallow dish and combine the crushed cornflakes, salt and paprika in another shallow dish. Using a fork, gently roll the chicken pieces in the butter mixture to evenly coat them. Then roll them in the cornflake mixture and place them, 1-2 inches apart, on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes in a preheated 375 degree F oven.

  • Yields: 2-3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

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