Who doesn’t love fried chicken? And who wouldn’t love a healthier (and less messy) way than deep-frying to prepare this American favorite? An overnight bath in buttermilk helps tenderize the meat, which is then baked and served hot for dinner. Cold leftovers can be packed up for school lunch the next day. This recipe is adapted from "Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children", by Ann Cooper and Lisa Holmes (Collins, 2006).
The night before: Mix buttermilk with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Marinate chicken in the buttermilk mixture overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day: Combine the bread crumbs, flour, cornmeal, chili powder, paprika, and remaining salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well.
Remove chicken from the marinade and roll in the breadcrumb mixture. If it’s very wet, place chicken on a cooling rack set over a cookie sheet and allow to dry in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours. (See Note, below.)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken directly on a cookie sheet and bake 30 to 45 minutes, to an internal temperature of 165 degrees (check a few pieces with an instant-read thermometer).
If you allow the bread crumb coating to dry in the refrigerator be careful that it doesn't get overly dry. If it does, just spray with water before putting it in the oven.