EDITOR'S NOTE: Meet executive chef Michael Davis, a man with a passion for good food and great cooking techniques. As an occasional guest blogger for Diet-to-Go, Chef Davis will teach us what we should be eating and tell us how it should be cooked so we can match his expertise in our very own kitchen.
I'm going to share a great recipe for delicious oven-baked chicken, but first I want to chew the fat about fats.
Fats are necessary in our bodies to help with the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins need some fat present to allow them to absorb into our bodies.
A diet too low in fat will lead to a deficiency in these vitamins. Diets void of fats have actually been linked to strokes.
Well, this is exciting news for all of us fat lovers. How can you not love fats?
Fats add mouth feel to your foods which in turn gives you a certain satisfaction. Fats break down slower so you feel full longer -- and that's surely another satisfaction. The flavor of fats is quite appealing too.
Pork chops, steaks and even chicken all have great flavor in part because of their fat.
The difference between fats is determined by the chain of amino acids a food holds. The amino acid chains are like a chain-link fence.
When this chain link is completely intact it is a saturated fat. A monounsatured fat has one link or bond missing; a polyunsaturated fat has several.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have hydrogen added to the compound, thus making them also solid at room temperature. An example of this would be margarine. These hydrogenated or trans fats should be avoided by looking at the fat portion of the ingredient label.
The FDA requires that these facts advertised if a food contains more than a half-gram of trans fats.
If this article had audio you would hear a sudden screeching of tires due to the sudden stop in the direction that this blog was going.
The bottom line: We need to exercise caution when choosing our fats.
Yes, a certain amount of saturated fats are okay. But that amount should be limited to about 1/3 of our total fat intake for the day. The other 2/3 of our fat intake should be divided up between polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
We can pretty much predict where saturated fats come from: Meats, chicken, dairy and oils that are hard at room temperature. Coconut oil and palm oil are saturated but aren't deemed bad for us.
It may not be quite as obvious where the other fats are concerned.
Monounsaturated fats can be found in avocados and olives (green olives are best), seeds and legumes, macadamia nuts, hazlenuts, pecans, almonds, almond butter, cashew butter, pistachios, acorns, beechnuts, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, pickled herring, sablefish and halibut. As far as oils are concerned, stick with canola, peanut and olive.
Polyunsaturated fats may be found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, trout, and fresh tuna. Other sources include flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, and pumpkin seeds. Then there are the oils: sesame, safflower, soybean, corn, and sunflower seed.
Check out my recipe for Oven-Fried Chicken with baked sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli.
Oven Fried Chicken
1 whole chicken cut into 1/8's, or use chicken parts
1.5 cup bread crumbs, seasoned
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
2 sweet potatoes, cut into wedges or baked whole
1 head of broccoli cut into florets
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Combine bread crumbs and flaxseed
3. In a bowl or gallon-size zippered bag, coat chicken pieces in crumb mixtures
4. Place chicken on a shallow pan or cookie sheet
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-35 minutes (best judged by internal temperature of 165 degrees)
6. Cook potato wedges in same oven as chicken until tender
7. Cook broccoli in simmering water for 5-7 minutes until desired doneness
Executive Chef Michael Davis believes that a creative innovation of wholesome foods is the best approach to eating. Foods unadulterated by chemicals, layered in flavors with a picturesque presentation is at the heart of his cooking. For more information, check out Michael's website, thechefscookingschool.com