September 28, 2009

"Fried" Chicken with Cauliflower Mash

I love fried and fattening foods as much as the next person, trust me. You can fry anything and I'll be the first in line to give it a try. However, for everyday cooking, I like to try and make things a little bit lighter.

Tonight's experiment, not-so-fried chicken. Nothing beats a great piece of fried chicken, but since I can't eat fried chicken for multiple nights, the next best option is "baked fried". It produces the same crispy texture that I love without the added fat. Just bread the boneless and skinless chicken breast with seasoned panko and...VoilĂ ! Healthier "fried" chicken!

And as an accompaniment? What better than mashed potatoes! Ok, just teasing, no mashed potatoes with this meal. If I am already going lighter, than I am going to go all the way. So, instead of mashed potatoes, the "lighter" alternative is cauliflower mash. While this may not sound very appealing to most people, it is actually quite tasty. The southern carnivore himself(Dave) can vouch for it! In Dave's own words "this is REALLY good! Is there any more left?"

And for your nutritional pleasure, cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C (91.5% of the DV), folate (13.6% of the DV), and dietary fiber (13.4% of the DV). It also is a very good source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6, manganese and omega-3 fatty acids. And only 30 calories per cup! So dig in, guilt-free!

Baked Fried Chicken with Cauliflower Mash
(Baked chicken recipe adapted from


- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 teas. Paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast

- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat panko
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon minced thyme
- 2 teaspoons lemon peel
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil spray (like PAM)

Cauliflower Mash
- 2 heads of cauliflower
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup low fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup low fat ricotta
- Salt and pepper

For marinade:

- Fillet chicken breast in half to make thinner pieces, and cut in half again to make smaller pieces.
- Whisk all marinade ingredients (except for the chicken) in large bowl.
- Add chicken and coat in marinade.
- Chill overnight for more intense flavor. But if you are short on time (which I usually am) it is ok to use right away as well.

For breading:
- Preheat to 450°F

- Mix breading ingredients large bowl. Place wire rack on baking sheets. Remove chicken breast from bowl and place in coating mixture. Transfer to rack. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
- Place chicken breasts on rack and spray with olive oil .
- Bake chicken 20 minutes or until coating is browned and instant-read thermometer registers 155°F.

For Cauliflower:
- Cut up cauliflower in small pieces.
- Place in large sauté pan with about 1 cup of water (enough to cover the bottom of pan, plus a little extra to make sure it doesn't all evaporate)
- Cook until tender.
- Combine cauliflower with buttermilk, sour cream, ricotta and salt and pepper.
- In batches, place in blender and puree until smooth. (if it is having a hard time blending, add either some chicken or vegetable stock, or even more buttermilk)

TIP: Since I do all my cooking on Sundays, this meal has to last us a few days. To keep the chicken crispy, reheat either in the oven, or in the toaster oven and the chicken will crisp right back up!


  1. Wow this looks great! Nice pictures, too!

  2. great recipes - I love how you spice up the marinade/wash and the breading to give it an extra punch of bold flavor.

    And I'm no stranger to the cauliflower mash, I love topping it off with a little parm cheese!

  3. I love everything about this. Saving it to try soon.

  4. I love finding lightened up versions of traditional comfort foods. I usually make my mashed potatoes with chicken broth to keep them light, but this is definitely a healthier option!

  5. It is look so good in picture. Just seen in picture, I make my mind that I am surely going to try this one. This weekend I am going to give surprise to my girlfriend because her birthday on this weekend. I will try my level best to make this dish!

  6. Wow... this look special!!!! With the caulifower mash. I tried another version is using the broccoli mash :)

  7. I've had baked "fried" chicken before and think it's fantastic -- yours looks delicious. I LOVE your cauliflower mash idea and I'm stealing it as soon as I get some cauliflower in my vegetable box.

    Great blog, by the way!

  8. Wonderful way to make healthified (is that a word? ha) "fried" chicken! :) I tried cauliflower mash once and it was way too runny ... maybe I'll have to try it again.

  9. cool! gourmet food with simple ingreidents!

  10. This looks so amazing and I am copying the recipe now! What a fantastic meal! It looks so fabulous for being baked. Perfect!