Cheddar Crusted Chicken Fingers.Once upon a time I did not cook chicken every.single.day.
Once upon a time I was also single.
I don’t even remember what that was like. That can’t be promising three years in, right?
This is only the oh, I don’t know, sixth chicken finger recipe I’ve shared? I have a premonition that once children enter this picture, I won’t have a difficult time adjusting to the culinary palate of a toddler.
Just a hunch.
Would you liked a snippet into my everyday life? Probably not… but I’m going to tell you anyway.
A few weeks ago when I made those snickerchipdoodle cookies? Mr. How Sweet curiously took a bite and asked what was inside.
“Toffee,” I responded.
“I hate coffee!” And with that he spit out the cookie into the trash.
“No… TOFFEE. Not coffee. What the heck is wrong with you?!”
“Isn’t toffee coffee?” he asked.
“Um, no. It’s not coffee. Why would you think it is coffee? And I seriously can’t believe you just spit out that cookie. You should eat it out of the trash.” With that, I walked into the family room and turned on the only show to make his ears bleed: The Kardashians. But then I was confused. So, I ran back into the kitchen, where he was perched above the sink with his Diet Coke. I’m shocked he hasn’t figured out a way to permanently glue a full can to his hand.
“Wait… so you liked the cookie… you thought it tasted good… but the minute you “thought” there was coffee inside, you spit it out – EVEN THOUGH YOU LIKED THE TASTE?! God forbid you step or, ahem, stumble outside the box. You have issues! Aren’t you almost forty years old?!”
“Uh. Mmmgh Hhhmmgh,” he managed to murmur in between bites.
Ugh. Hopeless. This culinary situation is seriously hopeless.
So, the next day I caved. I made him chicken fingers, but added cheese since I can’t let anything be. Well, that… and because I wanted to make sure he knew I was no longer catering to his “only-give-me-plain-crap!” demands. I know when my stuff is good.
I did win a small battle on Sunday though with the green chili cheeseburgers we ate. He would have never tried something like that before, but I made them look pa-retty darn irresistible.
You win some, you lose some, eh?
Cheddar Crusted Chicken Fingers
[from all those other crazy chicken fingers]
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
3 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup seasoned regular bread crumbs
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 ounces of cheddar, freshly & finely grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
2-4 hours before serving (or even overnight), add chicken to a baking dish and cover with buttermilk. Let soak.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, flour, salt (quantity should be adjusted to taste given the amount of salty cheese), pepper, mustard and paprika and stir with a spoon. Fold in cheese. Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray.
Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk (it should have a think layer of milk around it), and dredge through the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Lay on the wire rack and repeat. Before baking, hit each chicken tender with a spray of non-stick spray or mist of olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then gently flip using kitchen tongs and spray the other side. Bake for 10-12 minutes more, then remove from oven and serve with dips of choice. the dip above is nothing special – just a bacon ranch dressing that I spiced up with chili powder.
Note: many of you has asked where I get my wire/cooling racks that fit on my baking sheets. I use these Calphalon ones that happen to fit perfectly on the jellyroll pans. Love them!
Uh, totally unrelated, but did I hear a rumor that Boyz II Men are back?! Don’t even toy with me, world. The only thing more heart wrenching would be if you told me that Felicity is coming back on the air.