One of my goals for the new year is to post more frequently. When looking at what has been holding me back, I realized it is simply that I often think a recipe is too “basic” or “simple” to warrant a post. But now that I have a 19 year old son living in his own house at college, attempting to feed himself, I am reminded that everyone has to start somewhere. Basic techniques and recipes are only basic if you know how to do them. So I am adding a new category called “Easy Meals” which are simple enough for for anyone to try and delicious enough to serve your family and friends any night of the week.
A meal I made quite often for my son when he was growing up was chicken strips. I experimented alot with different methods for breading and cooking to come up with something that he would like and that could also be incorporated into other dishes that my husband and I would enjoy. The trick to these chicken strips is in the breading. I make my own bread crumbs from artisan stuffing cubes that I keep on hand and combine those with tortilla crumbs, parmesan cheese, chilli powder, salt & pepper.
The other key to my success is using a 3-step breading process, dip in flour/cornstarch mixture, then into egg mix, and finally into breading mix before taking a brief turn in a skillet with hot canola oil. This method prevents the chicken from absorbing much oil, so I use considerably less oil than most recipes you will see. The result is a crispy exterior with a tender moist interior.
Your kids will love these chicken strips just the way they are, packed in their lunchbox, tucked into a tortilla for a tasty wrap or even a salad full of fresh vegetables like this one.
Crispy Chicken Strip Salad – serves 4
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts – cut into 1/2″ strips
- 4 cups artisan bread cubes (stuffing mix)
- 1/2 cup tortilla crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tblsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 tblsp. cornstarch
- 2 eggs
- 2 tblsp. milk or water
- In a food processor, grind bread cubes until you have a coarse crumb – should resemble coarse sand. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to do this in several batches. Transfer to large shallow dish.
- Add tortilla crumbs, grated parmesan, chili powder, salt & pepper. Mix everything together and set aside.
- In seperate shallow dish, mix flour & cornstarch, set aside.
- In third shallow dish, whisk eggs & milk together to incorporate and set aside.
- Now, you are ready to set up your breading/cooking station. First, in a large heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat, heat enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the skillet by about 1/8″. The amount necessary will vary with the size of your skillet.
- On the counter next to your heating skillet, arrange the dishes in the order from furthest away to closest: chicken strips, flour mixture, egg wash, breading mix.
- Working in batches, prepare your chicken, by dredging in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then dippin in the egg mixture and finally coating with the bread crumb/tortilla mixture and placing gently in the hot oil. Do not over crowd the skillet, cooking on each side for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to platter lined with paper towels. Repeat the process until all chicken is cooked. Add more oil between batches if necessary, however I rarely have to add additional oil when cooking 1 1/2 lb. chicken.
Here is where you can get creative. You can simply serve with spicy mustard or ketchup for the kids or try them in these fresh salad.
- 1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bitesize pieces – several large leaves reserved
- 2 -3 belgium endive, sliced crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper cut into thin strips and then cut strips into bite size pieces about 1″ long
- 1 cup Sungold (yellow) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado, seeded and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonaisse
- 1/4 cup red salsa
- Several dashes tobasco sauce
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Crispy Chicken Strip cut into bite size pieces (see recipe above)
In large bowl, combine romaine lettuce, endive, bell pepper, tomatoes & avocado. Mix gently.
In small bowl, comine sour cream, mayonaisse, salsa, lime juice and tobasco. Mix well and add salt & pepper to taste.
To assemble, lay one large romaine leaf on each plate, so that the leaf “curls” up and forms a serving bowl. Mound some of the salad mixture onto each leaf, top with chicken strips and drizzle dressing over the top. Fan avocado slices on the side for a pretty presentation.