Confession: Not more than a few months ago, I survived on a steady diet of Velveeta shells, Lean Cuisine, Wegman’s sushi, and Subway. I don’t have a dishwasher in my apartment, and I have limited counter space, so I just couldn’t wrap my head around the lengthy process of buying groceries, finding recipes, cooking them, and then having to clean everything up.
This was my very first attempt at cooking something that isn’t just boiled pasta, and I must say that it came out quite delicious. Here’s what I made:
Coconut Pecan Crusted Chicken
1 1/2 cups plain fat-free yogurt
2/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
2/3 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, (I used leftover candied pecans!)
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut in 1-inch wide strips
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Put yogurt in a small bowl, and set aside. In a shallow pie plate, combine coconut, panko and pecans.
- (I pounded out the chicken with a mallet to make it really thin!)
- Dip chicken strips in yogurt to cover, then roll in panko mixture. Place strips on an oil-sprayed baking sheet. Spray top of chicken. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350, and bake 15 more minutes. Check that coating browns but does not burn. If desired, broil 2 minutes for an even crunchier top.
This recipe was easy and I loved that the chicken is coated in nonfat yogurt instead of something fattier. I even touched and cut raw chicken all by myself which has been a fear of mine for many years.
The sweet potato fries were a bit of a struggle just because I have never actually handled a raw sweet potato before, and therefore had no idea how difficult it would be to cut them. This recipe is supposed to be for 6, but I coated half the amount of potato in the full amount of seasoning…
Baked Balsamic Sweet Potato Fries
3 large sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup lite Balsamic Vinigarette
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
cracked black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (We actually cooked ours’ at 450 degrees with the chicken for 15 minutes, then turned it down to 375).
- Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Mix sweet potato wedges, Balsamic dressing, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder together in a bowl until sweet potatoes are evenly coated. Season with black pepper.
- Arrange potato wedges on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, then flip potatoes over; continue baking until easily pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes more.
- Sprinkle sweet potato fries with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese to serve