Spicy, skinny chicken nuggets!

If you’re like me, you’re kind of addicted to hot wings. I absolutely adore spicy food, and hot wings are no exception…spicy barbecue, mild or “so hot I can barely see straight,” I love them all. There’s just something about the crispy chicken skin, moist meat and spicy, blow-your-socks-off flavor that keeps me coming back for more. M and I have even found our favorite place to go for wings (and burgers!) It’s a great place on the Ave in the U District called Wing Central. I’d never had a burger so flavorful, or a hot wing so beautiful in all my life before we found that place. It’s glorious!

But, sometimes I get in the mood for hot wings when I’m not willing to splurge 800 calories to get the wing fix I want. That exact thing happened this morning, and I realized that I absolutely must come up with a way to enjoy them without throwing away more than half a days’ calories (as well as more than twice my daily sodium intake, my entire daily fat consumption, etc.) I wanted something delicious, crunchy, satisfactorily spicy, and something I could make quickly when I’m craving, without having to worry about how many calories it will kill for the day.

So, I stood there staring at a defrosting chicken breast for a while. It came to my attention early on that using egg wouldn’t keep the calories low at all…that left very few ideas. Thankfully, I found a quick replacement to that. The sauce was easy enough: hot sauce itself is generally very low-fat and low-calorie, so the only thing to watch would be the sodium amount. Most places and recipes mix butter in with the sauce, but I could definitely do without that…I did, however, want something creamier, something more rib-sticking, lip-smacking and finger-lickingly delicious than I’d had before. This was the ultimate challenge. I ended up with a mix of sauces and a small half teaspoon of sour cream (to give it a creamy, delicious taste.) I’ll miss the bleu cheese dressing…but not by much! You can toss them in the sauce like normal chicken wings, or dip them in, which is my favorite way.

As for the lack of nutritional information: I’ve decided that, because of a recent change of heart, I won’t be posting the caloric content here anymore. If you like, you can use the Livestrong MyPlate website to tally, which is where I entered them in before. It’s a great website! I’d urge everyone aiming to gain a healthier body to look it up.

Pheasant’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets

1 chicken breast (about 12 0z)

6 tbsp breadcrumbs (I like to mix Progresso breadcrumbs with craggy, homemade ones)

1 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp Frank’s Red Hot Wings (I used Hot Buffalo style)

2 tbsp Texas Pete Original (or any vinegar-based, 0 calorie hot sauce)

1/2 tsp reduced fat sour cream

1/8 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C.) Then, place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and mix them with your favorite spices; I used cayenne, garlic powder, black pepper, parsley and a little onion powder. I’d caution you to not use salt, because the hot sauce has a whole bunch of sodium in it already. Cut the chicken up into approximately 24 nuggets of more or less equal size. Then, in a bowl, toss them with the olive oil until they’re all very well-coated.

Dip the nuggets into the breadcrumbs, coating them well. Place them on a foil-lined, Pam’d baking sheet and then slide those puppies into the oven for 9 minutes; take them out, flip them all over and replace them in the oven for 4-5 more minutes. While the nuggets are baking, mix up your hot sauce. Place the sour cream in a small snack bowl and pour the Frank’s Red Hot over it. Mix them together until smooth, then add in Texas Pete and mix again until combined. If you’re using the liquid smoke, add it in along with the Texas Pete hot sauce.

Once the nuggets are done, take them out and let them sit for a bit. If you choose to toss them in the sauce, do this now. If not, serve ’em up and dip them to your heart’s content!

Now, these nuggets were fantastic! I had them with some baked potato wedges and peas…wow, they definitely hit the spot. If you start getting a craving for spicy and crispy, this is definitely the way to go!

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