Sometimes it’s OK to fall in love with a dish.

But when that dish happens to be your doctor’s biggest “no-no” . . . then you have a slight problem. Fried chicken is perhaps my favorite all-time comfort food, and like every health-conscious person out there, I’m inclined to pass on it when it’s offered to me — except on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

That’s the one day I allow myself to indulge into this magnificent fried comfort food instead of going out and shopping. But once a year is just not enough. So I decided to lock myself in the kitchen and twist up this recipe into a healthier alternative with a guiltless appeal (but with the same guilt-full flavor).

What I came up with was a skinless, oven-fried chicken that tastes even better than those buckets of chicken sold in the state of Kentucky (my lawyers have asked me to refrain from dissing fast-food restaurants!). So finally my doctor is happy, my taste buds are happy, and I can finally shop on Black Friday with non-greasy fingers!

What you need:

1 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

3 tablespoons water

Kosher salt or table salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 chicken thighs, skin removed

Non-stick cooking spray

2 cups panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, paprika, garlic powder and chili powder. Thin this with a little water, one tablespoon at a time, until you get the consistency of heavy cream, and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces and coat them well with the flavored mayonnaise.

Lightly coat a non-stick baking sheet with the cooking spray. Pour the panko bread crumbs onto a plate. Toss the chicken thighs in the crumbs one at a time and completely coat them. Place the chicken onto the baking sheet and spray them with cooking spray.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping them over halfway through, until the chicken is browned and cooked through.

George Duran is a chef and entertainer. He is the author of "Take This Dish and Twist It" and host of the Food Network's "Ham on the Street" and "Secret Life of…" Learn more at www.georgeduran.com.