Goodbye beef, hello chicken! This is good, really good. After three days of cooking flour- and crumb-coated chicken breasts in every conceivable (healthy) fashion, I pictured myself sitting in a greasy-spoon diner as I sampled the delightful results of the final taste test of this recipe. Perfectly coated and loaded with flavor, the only thing missing is 75 percent of the fat and sodium and more than half the usual carbs and calories. While devouring a serving of this dish, my son Stephen asked me not once, but twice, "Are you sure this is healthy?"
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover the chicken breasts in plastic wrap and gently pound to 1/2-inch thickness. Set aside.
Place 2 tablespoons of flour in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk together the egg white, buttermilk, and baking soda. In a third shallow bowl, mix the cornflake crumbs with 4 tablespoons flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and thyme.
Coat each chicken breast with flour, dip into egg mixture, allowing excess egg to drip off, and roll in crumbs. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook until undersides are golden brown. Spray top with cooking spray and turn. Cook two minutes and transfer pan to oven for 5-6 minutes or until cooked through.
While chicken is baking prepare Cream Gravy.
In a small saucepan cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning until crisp. Remove the bacon, mince, and set aside.
Add flour to the pan and slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of broth, stirring until smooth. Add the remaining broth and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Finely crush thyme into the gravy with your fingers. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, whisking occasionally until gravy thickens.
Whisk in the nonfat half-and-half and the minced cooked bacon and simmer 1 more minute. Adjust salt to taste and serve 1/4 cup over each "steak."