Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Faux-Fried Chicken Tenders

Hey Y'all!! I know I have been completely AWOL on here lately but I assure you, I have a great reason! If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twiiter you know that my band and I have been touring as the opening act for my dad, Toby Keith's, Shut Up & Hold On tour (also with Colt Ford)! We have been rocking out all over the country having a blast but to be honest, a tour bus just doesn't offer the same luxuries as my kitchen when it comes to offering up fresh recipes to share with y'all! I'm home for a few days so I wanted to make sure y'all know that I still care...and get a new recipe up for you to try while I'm out for the next few weeks. I hope you've been enjoying all of the GAC posts that have been going up. I still have cravings for the Triple Berry Crisp!

Side Note!
We only have a few weekends left on the tour but we would LOVE to see y'all if we are playing in your area. Click HERE to check out my tour schedule and sign up to win Tickets and Meet & Greets by clicking HERE!

On to the food!
I am always looking for a healthy or healthier alternative to some of my fave comfort foods, especially since the yummy catering on the road is no friend to a girls waistline. Tonight...I rocked my hubby's world with these faux-fried chicken strips. These are perfectly crisp on the outside, juicy and moist on the inside and bursting with flavor. In fact, my baby brother still claims after 9 years of eating them that I make the best baked chicken strips. And by "baby brother", I mean that he is 17 years old, stands at a wee 6ft 2inches tall and outweighs me by close to 100lbs. If they pass the test with him, I know you and yours will love them too!

20oz - chicken tender strips
1 cup flour
1 cup panko
1 crispy onions (French's style), finely crushed
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp hot sauce (I used Cholula)
1 tsp pepper, d
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp granulated garlic

Use a mallet to pound out any chicken strips that are thicker than the rest. You want to start with tenders that are all about the same thickness to ensure even cooking time. In one bowl combine: flour, panko, crushed crispy onions, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and the granulated garlic; mix well. In a separate bowl combine: buttermilk, hot sauce, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp salt; mix well. Place all chicken strips in the buttermilk and let sit for 10 minutes to absorb some of the flavor. In the mean time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prepare a wire rack by spraying it with cooking spray and placing it on top of a baking sheet or use a "pyramid" baking mat (like this one from Bed Bath and Beyond) on a baking sheet. Both of these methods ensure that heat and hair circulate under your chicken and help it stay crispy. 

Now we are ready to rock. One at a time, take a chicken strip out of the buttermilk and place it in the dry breading mixture. Spoon the breading mixture over the top of the strip as well and pat down into the pan with your hand. Let it rest 5-10 seconds to really grip the breading before moving it to the wire rack or pyramid mat. Continue until your rack or mat is full and the chicken is not touching. Spray the chicken with cooking spray (I use olive oil cooking spray but you use what you like or have on hand). Each strip doesn't need to be dripping wet but ensure that you have put a good coat on each peice without leaving dry powdery flour. This will ensure the chicken crisps up perfectly. Place in the oven and cook for 20 mins, remove from the oven and flip the chicken, spray with cooking spray and place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is light-medium golden brown and the internal temperature of chicken reads 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Serve with honey mustard or ketchup (my personal fave condiment for everything!) 

NOTE: If you like your chicken strips on the spicy side, you can double the hot sauce in the buttermilk and/or add a pinch of cayenne to the breading mixture.

Enjoy! XOXO~

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