Photos: Fatima Syed for inFATuated Eats

By: Fatima Syed

Fried chicken is one of those culinary delights which many of us associate with the weekend, whether served at your favourite Toronto dive bar on a Friday night, or at the family dinner table during a visit back home. After all, which busy Millennial has time to create a fried chicken feast after a gruelling day at the office, particularly when King West beckons with its endless gastronomical options? However, many of us have cut our dining and entertainment budgets now that January is upon us. The arrival of the New Year means that purse strings have tightened after the revelry of the holidays, whether your splurge this season was hosting the ultimate dinner party or buying bespoke gifts for your entire family. Also, January generally means that healthier menu options are at the forefront as we return to the gym, and fast food cravings are often shoved aside!

At inFATuated Eats, we are on a budget as well. Being a young entrepreneur means that the expense of eating out isn’t always a viable option, but I also do not want to miss out on my comfort food classics. This is where the entire concept for a Millennial-focused, entrepreneurial food blog category comes into play, as we strive to keep both money and time in mind for our busy (and always hungry) audience. Recently, I created my own at-home recipe for easy Oven Fried Chicken. The use of the oven eliminates the need for deep frying (read: bad for you!), and olive oil can easily replace greasy cooking oils. As the temperatures drop in the 6ix, why not bring the warmth of a Southern inspired feast to the True North and add a side of indulgent mashed potatoes? Look no further than this inFATuated Eats solution for chicken and potatoes, with a classy kick that can heat up January in Toronto and bring a smile to the faces of friends, colleagues or roommates as well.

Oven Fried Chicken

3 air-chilled chicken breasts, each cut in half

1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs

2 eggs

Sriracha sauce

1 cup of 2 percent milk

A sprinkle of chili flakes

Cooking oil (we used olive oil, you can use vegetable oil as well)

Start off by preparing an egg wash, by mixing the eggs, a generous squirt of Sriracha sauce, breadcrumbs and 2 percent milk in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to stir all the ingredients together into a silky batter. At this point, you can also add some chili flakes into the mixture. Next, take your chicken breasts, slice each breast in half, and coat the chicken breasts in the egg batter. Once your chicken breasts are evenly coated in the egg wash, fire up a non-stick frying pan and lightly heat up some oil. On medium heat, slowly pan fry the chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes each side. At this point, you’re not using the frying pan to fully cook the chicken- that’s the oven’s responsibility! What you’re trying to achieve is a light pan fry before jumping into creating your “oven fried” chicken.

Next, take a cookie sheet, baking dish or casserole dish. Place the chicken breasts evenly on the dish, ensuring that there is an even coating of batter on each side of the chicken breast. Sprinkle a few chili flakes on each chicken breast half for an extra kick, and be sure to sprinkle a few extra breadcrumbs as well to any areas that need some additional crumbs. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees, and bake the chicken breasts for approximately 20-25 minutes each side. Once your chicken is fully cooked (and your kitchen is filled with the beautiful aroma of “healthy” fried chicken), remove your dish from the oven and cool on a rack until it’s time to serve.

Mashed Potatoes

6-8 peeled white or Yukon Gold potatoes

1 chicken bouillon cube

2 percent milk

2 tbsp. of butter

1 tbsp. of garlic powder

1 tbsp. of dehydrated chives

Salt to taste

Start off by boiling your peeled potatoes in a large saucepan. Next, lightly mash with a fork, before adding your milk, butter and the chicken bouillon cube. Carefully stir the mashed potatoes, and feel free to use a whisk if this proves easier. Add the chives and garlic powder and use a spatula to mix everything together, for garlicky, creamy mashed potatoes with a slight chicken-infused flavour to complement your main dish. Decorate your completed mashed potato dish with extra chives, and add salt to taste.

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