In our protected pocket of middle-class America, it’s hard to believe that one in six Americans (!) is struggling with hunger. But unfortunately, according to the USDA, that is exactly the case.
What’s even harder to believe is that we can do anything to help when we’re just small people with small budgets ourselves. Because of this, most cities have food banks and other charities set up that try to provide meals to people who need them—here in Nashville, we have Second Harvest, for example—but, even still, the needs are big.
Sometimes when we’re at our local superstore stocking up on paper products, we might grab some of the cheap and ripe avocados as we go. Recently, we decided to see what else we might find, and walked away with organic spring mix and mangoes alongside our discount avocado finds.
At home, we chopped the ripe mangoes and avocados, tossed them with finely chopped spring mix and a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice, and salted everything to taste.
It was the perfect sweet and creamy mixture to enjoy our breaded chicken pieces with—the same breaded chicken pieces Tim made me for the first time a few weeks ago, when I was craving fried chicken.
Ah! They’re so good! Baked instead of deep-fried in oil, they’re a healthier take on a classic recipe that provides all of the satisfying crunch and flavor that you’re looking for.
Recipes like these are a testament to simple pleasures, and simple choices that can make a big difference, whether in the simple course of a day or in another person’s life.
When you’re enjoying something delicious at home, like this recipe, it’s important to remember those in need, who might not know where their next meal is coming from.
I encourage you to reach out to local organizations in your area to help fight hunger in America.
One quick note for when you make this at home: We almost always end up with extra flour mixture when we bread something like chicken.
If you want to avoid this, you could lower the total quantity of flour in the same proportions indicated below. But keep in mind that this may make that last piece of chicken a little bit more difficult to coat. Not a huge price to pay in light of an effort to cut down on waste, though!
Oven-Baked “Fried” Chicken with Mango Avocado Salad
2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil, or cooking oil spray
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons olive oil
For the Egg Mixture:
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Flour Mixture:
1 cup all-purpose einkorn flour (or other all-purpose flour)
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground chipotle chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
For the Breadcrumbs:
1 cup toasted breadcrumbs (we toasted einkorn sourdough bread and blitzed it in the food processor)
1 tablespoon all-purpose seasoning (I used a salt-free blend of herbs and spices)
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Dressing:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic or champagne vinegar
Salt, to taste
For the Salad:
4 cups finely chopped salad greens
4 mangos, cubed (about 2 cups)
2 avocados, cubed (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade (cut into thin ribbons)
Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a rimmed baking sheet with coconut oil. We added about 2 tablespoons of solid coconut oil to the pan and stuck it in the oven for just a few minutes while it was preheating, to melt the oil.
Next, create a chicken assembly line, with four main stations:
1. Chicken: Cut chicken into strips, aiming for similar thickness and size among all of them, and place them on a plate.
2. Egg Mixture: Crack the eggs into a wide bowl, and add the salt and pepper; whisk together.
3. Flour Mixture: Place the flour and spices on another plate or in a wide, shallow bowl; stir together.
4. Breadcrumbs: Place the toasted breadcrumbs and seasonings on a plate or in wide bowl; stir together.
Begin the dredging process. Working with one or a few pieces of chicken at a time, coat each one in flour, dip in the eggs, and dredge in breadcrumbs. Make sure each piece is really thoroughly coated in the breadcrumb mixture. Place the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet, and drizzle the top of each with olive oil.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, using kitchen tongs to turn each piece about halfway through cooking.
Meanwhile, make the salad. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl, and season with salt to taste. Combine the greens, fruit, and basil in a large salad bowl, drizzle the dressing on top, and toss to combine. Serve the chicken on top of a bed of salad. If you like, you can dress each portion individually to taste rather than tossing the salad with the dressing.
Photos by Shanna Mallon, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Last updated: December 28, 2019 at 6:28 am. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.