Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cooking Light with Rachael Ray: Buffalo Popcorn Chicken Bites

Just say the words "buffalo chicken" to me, and say no more. I love everything buffalo style; from dips to salads and entrees to sandwiches. To me, hot sauce paired with blue cheese is just a match made in heaven. My Hubby & I love buffalo chicken bites from almost any menu, so when I told Rudy that we were going to have a home-made, lean version of our favorite bar food, he was reeeeally excited to see how they turned out. As inspiration, I used Rachael Ray's recipe for Buffalo Popcorn Chicken Bites and as usual, she gave me a great place to start. Simple ingredients and easy directions; my kind of recipe.

Tell me what you all think about these healthy Buffalo Popcorn Chicken Bites~!

BUFFALO POPCORN CHICKEN BITES
SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups Heart Smart Bisquick Pancake Mix; divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 8-12 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup Marie's Lite Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon course black pepper
  • Cut celery and carrot sticks
  • Fat Free cooking spray
DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a wide mixing bowl combine 1-1/2 cups of the Heart Smart Bisquick mix, 1 cup water and about 6 teaspoons hot sauce. Place the remaining plain 1/2 cup pancake mix in another wide mixing bowl. Arrange the batter and the bowl of plain pancake mix near the prepared baking sheet you plan on using; some sort of assembly line.

Toss the chicken pieces in 2 teaspoons of hot sauce then toss in the plain pancake mix, coat evenly and shake off excess. The plain dry pancake mix will help the batter stick to the chicken pieces. Add some of chicken to the batter, in batches. Using a fork, toss the bites in the batter. Remove the first batch from the batter, shaking off the excess batter as you carefully add them to the prepared baking sheet. Leave a little space in between so the bite don't cook together (like cookies if they are too close).

Bake each batch for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with refrigerated, good quality creamy blue cheese  prepared dressing(Marie's Lite) with chopped scallions and black pepper stirred into it for dipping. Garnish platter with celery and carrot sticks.

RESULTS

I wasn't sure about baking these instead of frying; worried about how they would look and taste. But as you can see, they turned out pretty good! It was a great lesson to learn for future "fried food" make-overs. And the taste? It was wonderful! The only recommendation from the tasting panel (or my husband's friends over watching the Master's this past Sunday) was that the Buffalo Bites could have been a little spicier. This is why the ingredients list suggests 8-12 teaspoons. I used 8 on Sunday, but next time I will throw in a few more teaspoons. Hey, they asked for it!

Making a comparison on nutritional facts was tough on this one. The original recipe calls for vegetable oil for frying, but it doesn't give an exact amount. Plus, it isn't like you take in all the oil used for cooking as you would if the oil were in a cake or dressing. Same with the batter. You will have leftover batter too; which makes doing an accurate analysis tough. So, the best I could do was to find nutritional facts on "fried boneless buffalo wings" and use those as our estimate of what the recipe looked like before. For both the before and after, only the nutritional facts for the Popcorn Bite itself is figured, not the dressing. I will leave your dip up to you. Any store bought brand will have accurate facts on the back, so just check the label first.

An average serving of 6 fried boneless buffalo wings looks like this, nutritionally speaking...

BEFORE: 528 calories; 36g fat; 18g carbohydrate; 30g protein (from http://www.fatsecret.com/)

And after...
NUTRITION FACTS (per serving w/out dressing): 233.3 calories; 3.76g fat; 27.36g carbohydrate;  23.93g protein;  1.3g fiber


Baking this fun tailgating treat instead of frying it allows you to keep all the flavor, and forget all the guilt! Enjoy!





4 comments:

  1. As a someone who was born, raised and still lives in Buffalo NY (home of the buffalo chicken wing) I have to say these look fantastic!!! And now that the Buffalo Sabres are in the playoffs I will have to make these for one of our hockey game parties! Great job!

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  2. Looks so good I could eat them right off the screen! I mean, they look perfect- how did you do it! LOL! great recipe and thanks for sharing

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  3. I made these last night, and they turned out wonderful!! I added more hot sauce, and some Cayenne pepper for some more heat :) These were amazing!

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  4. Just thought I would share that since I have made these, my husband request me to make these every couple of days :) They are great.

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