Thursday, April 14, 2011

Crunchy Saltine Chicken Tenders

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips, seasoned and dusted with flour, dipped into beaten egg, and rolled into well crushed saltine crackers - a southern favorite!

Crunchy Saltine Chicken Tenders

I guess we all have a go-to chicken strip recipe since you can really stretch out a chicken breast by cutting it into strips. Two or three large chicken breasts literally will make a huge platter of strips. When made at home with whole chicken breasts purchased on sale, they are economical and a super thumbs-up kid favorite (even for us big kids)!

Crunchy chicken tenders can be done in a number of ways - coated with plain self rising flour, or dusted and then rolled in panko bread crumbs, corn flake cereal, and even potato chips - but I think my most favorite way to cook them is this one. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into tenders and seasoned, lightly dusted in flour and then dipped in beaten egg and rolled in crushed up saltine crackers. My mama used to love to use finely crushed crackers and cracker meal, so it's old school I guess, but then so am I!

I love using my deep fryer, which cooks them quickly and evenly and doesn't leave them greasy. I've also baked them first, then flash fried them, which cuts down on fat absorption but adds another step that a lot of folks don't care to deal with.

You can also still use the cracker coating but change this up a bit by flattening the breast for a chicken fried chicken, or by cutting them into larger tenders or planks. Add variety by using your favorite seasonings or adding different herbs to the flour.

Serve these tenders with a glass of iced tea, a nice mixed garden salad, and the always fabulous Mississippi Comeback Sauce, the lovely spicy honey mustard dipping sauce I just featured, or a dressed up store-bought barbecue sauce, or homemade marinara dipping sauce.

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Recipe: Crunchy Saltine Chicken Tenders

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 35 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 sleeves saltine crackers, crushed (about 4 cups, Nabisco Original recommended)
  • Cooking oil, for frying

Cut chicken breasts into strips and season both sides lightly with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Cajun seasoning. Dredge each piece into the flour to coat lightly; shake off excess. Dip each strip into the egg, then roll in the crushed saltines, pressing crumbs into the strips; set aside.

Heat 1 inch oil in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat or preheat deep fryer to 375 degrees. Carefully slide the tenders in the oil, frying until browned and cooked through, turning at least once.

Serve with Mississippi Comeback Sauce, barbecue sauce, spicy honey mustard, homemade marinara, jalapeno dipping sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce, a nice side salad, and a glass of southern iced tea.

Variations: Also works well with pork chops and a firm white fish - catfish, grouper, haddock, cod, halibut and swordfish are good options. May also substitute panko bread crumbs, crushed corn flake cereal, pretzels or potato chips for the saltines. A couple of additional coating suggestions from our Facebook readers - try cheesy crackers like Hot and Spicy Cheez-its or Goldfish crackers, coat them with crushed French fried onions (like French's), or try a combination of saltines, goldfish cracker, and a little Parmesan cheese for a change! May also cut the tenders into nuggets.

Tailgate Tip: Cut chicken into thin strips and fry as above. Thread chicken on wooden skewers for an easy handle. Serve cold, or toss on grill over indirect heat, just to warm through if desired. Serve with one of the above dipping sauces.


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Posted by on April 14, 2011

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