Cornflake-crusted chicken tenders

Get cooking with kids: Part 3

Originally appeared in the March 15, 2012 edition of the Southside Times.

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Often, the crispy chicken tenders encountered on the appetizer menu are the same ones appearing in the kids section.  No big deal, really, unless you consider 1) the cooking method, and 2) the (pre-frozen) product itself—the former, more often than not, being deep frying; and the latter, by and large, containing more breading than actual nourishing protein.

Aside from the actual craft of culinary arts, I’m reluctant to flex too much didactic muscle in these little conversations, and I’m downright squeamish when it comes to overtly telling people what (or what not) to feed their kids.  Yet—save for financial constraints—it truly takes very few adjustments to deviate from ingrained pejorative food choices.  Sure, some of it has to do with portion control; but it also has to do with manipulation of technique and being downright crafty with your ingredients.  This week’s recipe is a worthwhile example.

With regards to the aforementioned cooing method, these tenders are baked—the elimination of deep-fat frying, it goes without saying, is a good thing for kids—while the breading has been traded out for crushed cornflakes.  I would have come up with a more inventive title, but “Cereal fingers” just didn’t have the same ring to it.

Cornflake-crusted chicken tenders

Serves 3 – 4

  • 1 pound free-range chicken breast tenders
  • As needed, kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large, free-range eggs, whisked till smooth
  • 4 cups cornflake cereal, crushed in a large, plastic freezer bag
  • As needed, dipping sauce(s) of choice

1.  Preheat conventional oven to 400 degrees.  Place a portion of aluminum foil on a sheetpan, and apply a light coating of nonstick cooking spray.  Using three medium-sized bowls or dishes, set up a three-step breading station: first container combine flour and cornstarch, incorporating together evenly; in the next container add whisked eggs; and in the third dish, pour in crushed cornflakes.

2.  In small batches, place chicken tenders in flour mixture.  Shaking off excess flour, add tenders into egg, and then place in crushed cornflakes, pressing the meat into the cereal.  Gently place the crusted tenders on foiled-lined sheetpans.  Once all tenders are on sheeptan, place in 400 degree oven.

3.  Cook tenders for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and chicken is firm when pressed.  Remove from oven; serve with dipping sauces of choice.

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