Spicy Buffalo wings with a healthier spin

I love football, but I’m having a bit of a problem. Game days have sort of become my excuse to eat badly. Something about watching 250-pound men smashing into each other makes me want to eat nachos, cheese dip and my new favorite, Buffalo wings. (In the same boat? Try these healthier game-day eats instead: JoJo’s Party Mix and More Low-Cal Football Snacks)

Football is stressful! I need something to numb my nerves and with the Super Bowl coming up I’ve got to get a grip. So to freak myself out just a little more, I looked up the nutritional profile of some of the best wing joints in the area.




OK, so I’m freaked out. (And these places consider this to be an appetizer. I wonder what my entree might look like?) Anyway, I’m going to have to do something about this. I still want to stick with the “theme” of junk food, but not the calories. So for the big game, I’m going to make EatingWell’s Boneless Buffalo Wings. They’re not exactly “wings” per se (they’re made from chicken tenders), but that’s what makes them better for you.

Delicious Recipes to Try:
13 Crowd-Pleasing Super Bowl Recipes
Healthy Recipes to Satisfy Your Junk-Food Cravings
Healthier Chips and Dip Recipes
Black Bean Nacho Pizza & More Easy Pizza Recipes

They’re crispy because they’re fried in the oven, not a huge vat of oil. And the recipe includes vegetables—carrot and celery sticks for dipping in the blue cheese sauce, which is made with reduced-fat sour cream.

I’ll save an average of 711 calories, 58 grams of fat and 2,967 mg sodium by making this version instead of ordering them from a restaurant. Touchdown!

Boneless Buffalo Wings
Active time: 30 minutes | Total: 40 minutes | To make ahead: The chicken can marinate (Step 1) for up to 1 hour.

Even though boneless Buffalo wings are made with healthy white-meat chicken, they’re usually deep-fried and drenched in hot sauce laced with butter. The solution: chicken tenders are dredged in seasoned whole-wheat flour and cornmeal, pan-fried in only a small amount of oil and then drizzled with a tangy hot pepper sauce. With a fraction of the fat, calories and sodium, these boneless wings are reason enough to throw a party.

Spicy Blue Cheese Dip
2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Wings & Vegetables
3 tablespoons nonfat buttermilk (see Tip)
3 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot, divided
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, divided
2 pounds chicken tenders (see Ingredient Note)
6 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
6 tablespoons cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 cups carrot sticks
2 cups celery sticks

1. To prepare dip: Whisk sour cream, blue cheese, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. To prepare wings: Whisk buttermilk, 2 tablespoons hot sauce and 2 tablespoons vinegar in a large bowl until combined. Add chicken; toss to coat. Transfer to the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, whisk flour and cornmeal in a shallow dish. Whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon hot sauce and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.
4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and roll in the flour mixture until evenly coated. (Discard remaining marinade and flour mixture.) Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon cayenne.
5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken, placing each piece in a little oil. Cook until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and chicken, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Transfer to the platter. Drizzle the chicken with the reserved hot sauce mixture. Serve with carrots, celery and Spicy Blue Cheese Dip.

Makes 8 servings (2 “wings,” 1/2 cup vegetables & 2 tablespoons dip each).
Per serving: 256 calories; 10 g fat (4 g sat, 4 g mono); 83 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate; 31 g protein; 2 g fiber; 353 mg sodium; 248 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (120% daily value).

Tip: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.

Ingredient note: Chicken tenders, virtually fat-free, are a strip of rib meat typically found attached to the underside of the chicken breast, but they can also be purchased separately. Four 1-ounce tenders will yield a 3-ounce cooked portion. Tenders are perfect for quick stir-fries, chicken satay or kid-friendly breaded “chicken fingers.”

What's your favorite Super Bowl Snack?

EatingWell assistant editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.



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