Herbed Chicken Bites / CM

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HERBED CHICKEN BITES
breast and thigh meat from one chicken (3 lbs)
1/2 cup fine bread or cracker crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
dash ground pepper
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. Skin and bone chicken meat, using a sharp knife and a plastic cutting board.

a. To remove bone from breast meat, place chicken breast skin side up on cutting board. Remove skin. Working on one side of the breast, insert the tip of a sharp knife between the bony area and the meat. Gently separate the meat from the bone on one side of the center breastbone. Then detach the breast from the breastbone.

b. To remove bone from thigh meat, slit skin and pull off, using your fingers and a knife. Make one cut through meat to the bone from one end of thigh bone to the other end. Insert tip of sharp knife into the cut and gradually work around the bone separating the meat away from the bone.

2. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces.

3. Combine cracker crumbs, cheese, and seasonings in a medium bowl.

4. Dip chicken pieces in melted butter, then roll them in cracker mixture.

5. Arrange chicken bites in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet.

6. Bake at 400F until golden brown and fork-tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Cooks Note: Half butter and half olive oil may be used for dipping the chicken pieces before baking. Chicken pieces may be seasoned very lightly with salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder and paprika for extra flavor.

Makes 4 Servings.

Nutrition (per serving, prepared with butter and bread crumbs): 318 calories, 155 calories from fat, 17.5g total fat, 115.4mg cholesterol, 283.4mg sodium, 304.8mg potassium, 10.2g carbohydrates, <1G fiber, <1g sugar, 28.6g protein

Notes About Purchasing Chicken:

When you prepare a recipe such as Herbed Chicken Bites, the breast and thighs are the only pieces of chicken which are meaty enough to yield bite-size nuggets of meat. You can buy a package of chicken breasts or chicken thighs for convenience, but this will add to the cost of the dish. You can also buy a whole chicken and use the remaining pieces for a second meal such as oven-baked chicken, chicken noodle soup, or chicken salad.

A whole chicken is 69% meat and 31% bone, chicken breast is 83% meat and 17% bone, and chicken thighs are 77% meat and 23% bone.

To figure out which is the most economical way to purchase chicken, you can divide the price per pound of chicken (as purchased) by the proportion of meat the pieces contain.

Here's an example of how to work this out: If whole chicken is .99 cents per pound, chicken breasts are $1.89 per pound and chicken thighs are $1.55 per pound, which is the best buy when making Herbed Chicken Bites?

.99 cents/lb. whole chicken = $1.43/lb. of chicken meat when whole chicken is purchased .69 (proportion of meat to bone)

$1.89/lb. chicken breast = $2.28/lb. of chicken meat when chicken breast is purchased .83 (proportion of meat to bone)

$1.55/lb chicken thigh = $2.01/lb. of chicken meat when chicken thigh is purchased .77 (proportion of meat to bone)

In this example, the best buy per pound of meat is the whole chicken. However, it is only a good buy if you have the time to be able to cut up the chicken, and if you use the remaining chicken as part of a second meal.

Portions of this document reprinted, with permission, from Foods of the Pacific NorthWest, V. Hillers

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