Today’s delicious dish – Oven-Fried Chicken Strips
Although I love fried chicken and often order it when we eat out, I rarely cook it at home. I don’t like the mess of frying and I don’t like dealing with the oil afterwards. I realize it can be used again for frying, but I also realize that it’s important to make sure you don’t fry donuts in oil that previously fried onion rings or fish. Furthermore, used oil needs to be strained and kept at the proper temperature to be sure it doesn’t go rancid. That seems pretty complicated to me.
I much prefer oven frying. A generous amount of oil and butter goes in a rimmed sheet pan or baking dish. It is heated up, then the food bakes at a fairly high temperature. This method doesn’t provide a true “fried food” crispy crunch, but you do get food that tends toward what you’d expect from fried items.
This recipe will give you chicken that is tasty and moist, with a spicy coating. There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, and each has a purpose. The spice mix contributes salt, heat, and savory flavors to both the marinade and the dredge. The spicy, salty, acidic marinade tenderizes the meat and transports flavor inside it. The dredge provides multiple textures in the yummy coating on the chicken. Broiling the pieces at the end of cooking creates more crunch.
You can use fat-free or low-fat plain Greek yogurt in the marinade, and fat-free or whole milk. You will want to use Greek yogurt because it is thicker. I put into this recipe what I typically have in my refrigerator; you should do the same. Since most of the marinade ends up being drained away and discarded, there’s not a lot of difference in fat and calories of the finished product.
Because this recipe has a lot of steps and a fair amount of down time, I often double it. In that way, the time and work seem more worth it. And there’s never any disadvantage to having more delicious cooked food, as long as you’ve got a freezer. If you double the recipe, be sure you have another rimmed sheet pan large enough to handle the quantity. Also, you will be well-advised to rotate the pans between the top and bottom racks during baking, and especially at the broiling step.
Oven-Fried Chicken Strips
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 dashes cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon ground paprika
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes, crushed
- 1/2 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon Spice Mix (see above)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/3 cup plain panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- Remaining Spice Mix (see above)
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2.5 to 3 pounds total)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
Shake together or combine all ingredients for spice mix in a small jar or container.
Whisk together marinade ingredients.
Trim chicken breasts, then slice in half, into 2 long strips. Combine marinade and chicken strips in a bag or container and shake or turn until chicken is well-coated. Refrigerate overnight (or longer, up to 48 hours), shaking or turning a few times.
Turn on oven to 400 degrees.
Pour chicken and marinade into a colander and allow to drain.
Mix dredge ingredients and put in shallow dish or pie plate.
Place butter and olive oil on a large rimmed baking sheet and put in oven. Once butter has melted (about 3 minutes), remove from oven, then mix and spread grease over the surface of the pan.
Toss chicken, a couple of strips at a time, in dredge. Press to coat completely, and place on prepared pan.
Bake 15 minutes, then turn and bake another 15 minutes.
Turn on broiler and broil for about 3 minutes, until chicken strips are nicely browned. Turn chicken pieces and broil another 2 minutes.
Makes 8 chicken strips
Nutrition information (per chicken strip):
267 calories, 8 grams fat, 3.5 grams saturated fat, 39 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram sugars, .5 grams fiber, 92 milligrams cholesterol, 742 milligrams sodium
Cost per chicken strip: $1.56
Preparation time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Chilling time: at least overnight
What happens next?
Oven-Fried Chicken Strips can be saved in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They also freeze well. This chicken is a great leftover, served just as it is, hot or cold. It’s also delicious diced up and added to a nice green salad. One time I sliced a chicken strip and put it on a pizza with mushrooms and spinach – it was good that way too.
I noticed that these chicken strips are about the size of a small hoagie bun, and decided to make a special sandwich with them. I try to put aside 2 or more Oven-Fried Chicken Strips each time I make this recipe, so we can have a nice sandwich at another meal.
Another day’s delicious dish –
Chicken Strip Sandwiches
I have a friend who jokes that her husband wants to turn everything she cooks into a sandwich, even spaghetti. That is pretty funny to think about! I find it interesting to consider how many leftovers could easily become a sandwich. Oven-Fried Chicken Strips could almost have been intended to be in a sandwich from the beginning. They are a good size for it, and they are very tasty and tender, so it’s easy to bite the sandwich.
This recipe is easy, but fancy-tasting. The chicken strips are sliced in half longways, making two planks of chicken, then warmed up. In between these halves there will be a long slice of dill pickle, which complements the flavors in the chicken. Then there’s a simple creamy and tasty spread. The bun is toasted to contribute maximum texture to the sandwich.
If you don’t happen to have any leftover Oven-Fried Chicken Strips on hand, you can make this sandwich with any chicken strips you’ve got. You won’t have the same complex flavors, but you will still enjoy the interplay of the chicken, the pickle, the bun, and the spread. If you don’t have hoagie buns, or don’t want to buy them, you can use hot dog buns or slices of Texas toast cut in half.
Chicken Strip Sandwiches
- 2 Oven-Fried Chicken Strips
- 2 slices long-sliced dill pickles (like Sandwich Stuffers)
- 2 Tablespoons real mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons ketchup
- 2 hoagie buns
Turn on broiler to high.
Split chicken strips into 2 slabs by cutting them horizontally into a top and a bottom piece.
Remove 2 pickle slices from jar and rest on a paper towel to drain well.
Mix mayonnaise and ketchup to make a spread.
Gently open buns and broil in oven just until lightly browned. Remove from oven.
Warm chicken strip slabs by microwaving for 45 seconds.
Spread some mayonnaise and ketchup mixture on toasted sides of buns. Place a chicken strip on each bun, with half on each side of toasted bun, uncoated sides facing up.
Place a pickle slice on one of the chicken strip halves. Spread the remaining mayonnaise and ketchup mixture on the pickle slices.
Carefully close up sandwiches and serve.
Makes 2 sandwiches.
Nutrition information (per sandwich): 588 calories, 24.5 grams fat, 6.5 grams saturated fat, 44 grams protein, 48 grams carbohydrate, 5 gram sugars, 2 grams fiber, 102 milligrams cholesterol, 1391 milligrams sodium
Cost per sandwich: $2.35
Preparation time: 15 minutes