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 I have struggled with my weight my whole adult life, so I am always looking for ways to make delicious meals with less fat and calories. Like my site’s slogan says, “Love to eat, love to cook and trying to keep it healthy!” My latest endeavor was to make fried chicken and cheesy grits that wouldn’t add 10 inches to my hips! I believe I can declare success! The fried chicken was crispy and tasty and the cheesy grits also tasted fantastic and had a nice texture to them. We had some vegetables with this dinner too. I promise!!!

I’ve made oven fried chicken before, but I had never used buttermilk or panko before. I just happened to have some of each of these leftover from a previous recipe. The buttermilk marinade gave the chicken a nice tang and the panko mixed with spices gave it extra crunch and a whole lot more flavor, which I love on my fried chicken.

I am a California girl, born and bred, and did not grow up eating grits. I have to admit that I am NO grit expert. I know people in the south can be very particular about their grits. I have had shrimp and grits in a restaurant and I loved it! My daughter also made some one night and they were also very good. Normally, I would make mashed potatoes with fried chicken, but we had just had them the night before, so I thought I would try my hand at grits. What was I going to do about the fattening cheese though? Got to have that in cheesy grits! I happened to have some Laughing Cow cheese wedges on hand. I have cooked with these before and they melt very nicely, so with this and some fat free milk I was ready to go!!!

So if you’re craving some southern inspired food, but want to keep it as healthy as possible, give these two recipes a try!

Oven-fried Chicken

1 pound chicken

1 cup buttermilk
Salt and pepper
1 cup Pankow
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp Cajun Seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
Canola Oil Spray
Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Put chicken in a re-sealable bag and pour in buttermilk. Massage chicken in bag making sure all pieces are covered with buttermilk. Marinate chicken in fridge for 2-3 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour panko, flour, garlic salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and paprika in a shallow, flat container and mix well. Lay chicken, one piece at a time, in the panko and press to coat, turn over and repeat on the other side. Place chicken on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with non-stick spray. Spray all chicken pieces lightly with non-stick spray. Bake for 45 minute or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170.

 Cheesy Grits

1 cup quick cooking grits

3 Laughing Cow cheese wedges

3 1/2 cups fat free milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat milk over medium heat until it begins to bubble around the edges. Stir in cheese and melt. Whisk in grits until desired consistency, if too thick add a little more milk, if too thin a little more grits. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mine came out a creamy texture.