So, you’ve followed my instructions and now are in possession of some incredibly juicy chicken which is just ready to be utilised in an incredible, delicious recipe.

Where do you start? You could just grill it; but you’ve put so much effort in, that would be a waste.

I found myself in a similar conundrum when I brined my chicken last time. I just felt like I wanted more than my usual grilled chicken and rice fare. So I started thinking about how I could make a similar dish, just with more flair.

What I really wanted was to deep fry the chicken, put on my PJs and sit playing Xbox while gradually getting fatter; alas, that wasn’t really an option as I like to stay healthy. But that did get me thinking, could I make an inherently unhealthy meal healthy? Don’t see why not. I am developing some mad skills recently.

After a little bit of tinkering and tailoring the meal, I came up with the idea of battering it in cereal. I did want to use Honey Nut Cornflakes, but that was going against the idea of it being healthy (next time, when I care less, that is definitely going to happen). I scoured my cupboards and found a bag of crisped rice (not the branded stuff) which, in all honesty, I have no recollection of buying. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that it came with the house!

Now I knew what I was doing with the chicken, I had to come up with something to turn it into an actual meal. As much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t bring myself to sit eating chicken strips by the fistful, no matter how healthy they were.

I knew I would want something that would act as both a part of the meal and function as a condiment in which I could dunk my nuggets (erm… phrasing?) and obviously, BBQ sauce was the way to go. But how? The answer was elegantly simple. Beans. I would make my own BBQ beans.

Everything else just fell into place deliciously.

Here we go then, how to make healthy crispy chicken and BBQ baked beans.

Crispy Rice Coated Chicken

Ingredients

2 Decent Sized Chicken Breasts (brined and cut into strips)

Flour (I used bread flour, but if you’re gluten-free then feel free to use almond flour or whatever you want)

2 Large Eggs (beaten and lightly seasoned)

“Crisped Rice” Cereal (you might as well just get the own brand stuff. Also, don’t try to crush these by hand. It takes forever. Chuck them in the blender)

Paprika

Salt

Black Pepper

Coconut Oil

Method

When you’re battering chicken, the order goes:

Dry-Wet-Dry-Wet

So set your stall up to that effect. I had mine set up so the chicken was on my left, then it went:

Bowl of flour-eggs-crispy rice and paprika

So it basically became a production line. Anyway, to continue…

  1. Preheat the oven to… Gas mark 5? Seriously, stop hoping I’m going to be more exact
  2. Put the oil in a pan and set it to a low heat to warm up while you prepare. We’re not deep drying here, so you only need a few millimetres of oil in the bottom of the pan
  3. Pat your strips dry with kitchen roll
  4. Batter the chicken one by one to avoid mess
  5. Drop it in the flour and roll it around, pick it up, give it a tap to get rid of excess flour
  6. Drop it in the egg. Don’t worry about getting your hands messy, it’s going to happen. Just make sure the strip is covered in egg. Pick it up and let the excess egg drop off
  7. Drop it in the rice crispy mixed with paprika, salt and pepper. Remove excess
  8. Turn the heat up in the pan to about mid-high. When it starts to sizzle, we are ready to rock and roll
  9. Lightly place the chicken strips in the oil (remember to lay them away from you because hot oil hurts, a lot)
  10. Don’t overcrowd the pan. You can probably do these 5 at a time
  11. After about 5 minutes, turn them over so they get a good crisp on both sides
  12. Once both sides are crispy, take them out and lay them on kitchen roll
  13. Keep going until all of the chicken strips are crispy on the outside
  14. Lightly dab them all over with kitchen roll to get rid of the oil
  15. Lay the chicken strips out on a baking tray and bake them until they’re cooked all the way through

As you can see, lightly frying and then baking the chicken strips means that they don’t get nearly as greasy but still stay crispy and delicious. And, because you obviously brined your chicken beforehand, they will be juicy too.

BBQ Beans

Once you’ve made these once you will honestly wonder why you ever bought them in a tin. They’re easy, delicious and adaptable to your own preferences.

Ingredients

Red Kidney Beans (you can buy these precooked or prepare them beforehand) I used about 200g

1 Red Onion

2 Cloves Garlic

Spirit Vinegar (2 teaspoons)

Concentrated Tomato Puree

Dried Chilli Flakes

Paprika

Harissa powder

Black Treacle

Worcester Sauce

Salt

Black Pepper

Dried Ginger

Olive Oil

Method

  1. Blend the onion, garlic and spices until it is essentially a paste
  2. Fry it in a saucepan on a medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring constantly
  3. Drop the beans in and stir them around so they’re fully coated
  4. Stir in the spirit vinegar, tomato paste and Worcester sauce
  5. Spoon in the treacle, stirring continuously
  6. Season to taste
  7. Leave on a low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir it every couple of minutes so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan

I served the chicken and beans with spiralized sweet potato chips and sliced avocado. But they would be equally as delicious in a wrap or just with rice.

Enjoy! If you have any serving suggestions, feel free to drop me a comment here or over on my Facebook.

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