Occassionally, we go to Chili’s for a family dinner out. It’s one of the few places that can get the food on the table quick enough to avoid one of Landon’s evening meltdowns. Their food is pretty good too, actually, it’s VERY good but as everyone knows this is not a place to go if you’re watching your calorie intake. There are only a few items on the menu that you can order and call it “healthy”. Even the salads you must modify the ingredients eliminating dressings or crunchy toppings to decrease the risk that it will put you into cardiac arrest in the parking lot.

My daughter, every time we go, orders the Crispy Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers. And every time we go, I beg her not to order them….but then what’s the fun in going out to dinner. So, she compromises and only eats half the order boxing the other 830 calories to take home. Yes, I said it….half the order is 830 calories!!! The entire order of Chili’s Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers has approximately 1660 calories, 75 grams of fat, 196 grams of carbs and 53 grams of protein! At least there’s a ton of protein. Oh…and I forgot to mention, those stats are for the chicken alone. It doesn’t include the sides it comes with. How can a restaurant, in good conscience, serve such a meal? My guess…..it’s ridiculously tasty so people keep ordering it.

To try to give Katie her fix of the crispy chicken with spicy, sticky, sweet goodness it’s drenched in, I attempted to recreate the recipe but with several changes to keep it healthy. I thought my version turned out amazing! The family agreed!

Kellie’s Crispy Baked Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers

Honey-Chipotle Sauce

1/2 cup Cider Vinegar

1/2 cup Honey

2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce chopped

2 tablespoons Adobo Sauce

Chicken Crispers

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips

1 1/2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs

1 cup Flour

2 Eggs

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon Mexican Chili Powder

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Pepper

Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, honey, peppers and adobo sauce. Stir until well blended and bring to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn heat down to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the mixture becomes the consistency of syrup. (You should be able to coat the back of a spoon with it.)

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and water. In a third bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and chili powder together. In a fourth…and final bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper.

Begin dipping the chicken strips, one at a time, into the flour mixture, the egg mixture, and then the panko mixture. (Tip: Use tongs so your fingers don’t become coated with the ingredients). Place each chicken strip on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray being sure they are not touching each other, if they are crowded on the sheet they will not get crispy. Once all the strips are breaded, spray the chicken with cooking spray. This step will aid in browning and will help keep the bread crumbs crispy. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes turning all the chicken over halfway through the cooking time.

When done, remove from the oven and drizzle the Honey-Chipotle Sauce over the strips.

You can serve this with a Ranch dressing on the side, I used Wegman’s Yogurt Ranch as a dipping sauce but to be honest, it didn’t need to be dipped in anything. It was amazing just as it was.