I’m not someone who really craves fried food. I’m lucky that way. In fact, I often dislike it; the way the grease coats the inside of my mouth freaks me out. But I do understand the concept’s appeal — biting into something crunchy to discover something juicy or soft or gooey inside. I’m a sucker for a good textural contrast. And there’s also the whole issue of my other half, who is unabashedly passionate about fried food, and especially fried chicken.
Enter my oven-fried chicken recipe (second from top). The first time I served it to him, he told me he’d be happy to eat it over the “real thing” any day. (He still occasionally orders fried chicken when we go out, but he’s never asked me to make it at home since.) This week, when he brought home chicken breasts and organic cornflakes from our local co-op, I immediately knew the score.
Since I was already going to be breading and baking, I thought back to the homemade tater tots recipe that the HubPages user creamsoda pointed to in 5 of Your Favorite Junk Foods Made Over! Since (as my partner tells me) it’ll be a cold day in Hell before I actually follow a recipe — including recipes I myself created — I had to make a few changes. In contrast to the original instructions, I left the skins on the potatoes, salted and peppered them as I mashed, and to lower the fat content even further, I used baked potato chips rather than the traditional kind. The results held promise, and I’ll definitely make them again, but I’ll tweak them a little further. As you can see in the photo, I was lazy and made them rather large this time… about as big as the tenders I cut from our chicken breasts. The ratio of crunch to mash wasn’t quite right, so I’ll suck up the extra work and make them smaller next time, which will require more chips for coating. We also had to eat the tots with ketchup, as they weren’t quite salty enough for my taste. I would also mix in some lightly sauteed onions for a little additional texture and flavor. Here’s what I’ll do next time, and if you’re itching to try them, this is what I’d suggest you do as well:
Healthy Homemade Tater Tots
Note: Since the quantities depend on many variable factors (such as potato size and how big you roll the tots), measurements are approximate.
- 10-12 small white potatoes
- 2-3 Tbsp skim milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup white flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3-4 cups crushed baked potato chips
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Cover potatoes with water in a stock pot and boil 20 minutes, or until just fork-tender. Meanwhile, lightly sauté diced onion in a frying pan over medium-high heat, until they start to turn golden brown on the edges, but aren’t getting soft and mushy. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Add salt, pepper, and just enough milk to facilitate mashing. Stir in the onions. Let this mixture cool while you prepare to batter the tots.
Put flour, beaten eggs, and crushed chips in three separate bowls, followed by a cookie sheet that you’ve sprayed lightly with cooking spray (as shown at right). Scoop potato mixture by teaspoonfuls, and use your hands to mold small cylinders. Roll gently in flour to coat, then dip in eggs, being sure to allow excess to drip off, before coating in crushed chips. Place your finished tot on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. (Put on some good music; this can be tedious.)
When all your tots are ready, bake for 10 minutes, then rotate onto their sides so they have a chance to turn golden all over. Another 5-10 minutes, and you’re ready to plate. Watch out, they’re super hot in the middle!
Since I wanted everything to come out at the same time, instead of doing large chicken pieces for 40 minutes, as I usually would, I cut the chicken into tenders, as you can see in the top photo, and cooked them along with the tots. I used the same flour and egg to bread them, using cornflakes mixed with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper for the final layer rather than chips. Rounding out the meal and taking advantage of the hot oven, we also did some broccoli in the same way we make roasted cauliflower. Voilà. Delicious, low-fat comfort food for a rainy Thursday night.