As a kid I always used to order some kind of chicken strip as my go-to dinner out meal. Whether it was “clucks and fries” at Red Robin or popcorn chicken at KFC, those crispy, tender chicken fingers were my fav, accompanied most often with honey mustard dressing. Now that I’m not a child, they still taste delicious, but in a less fried and more home baked kind of way. So whether you’re a kid, an adult, an adult with kids or an adult who’s still a kid at heart, you’ll love this simple homemade chicken strip recipe.
The key to these chicken fingers are the breadcrumbs. Kind of like how the crust makes or breaks a pizza (in my opinion), the breading must be crispy and delicious in order for these to taste their best. You can easily buy breadcrumbs at the store, but that’s not how we do it here. If you can make something from scratch, you do it, and breadcrumbs are the easiest.
My mom taught the correct order in which to coat the chicken to make sure the breading stays on. Your coating won’t stick if you just roll the chicken in breadcrumbs. You need a binding agent. Cue the eggs and flour!
I like to use the same spices I put in the breadcrumbs into the flour mixture as well to bump up the flavor. Here’s the proper coating technique: Chicken > Flour > Egg > Breadcrumbs.
Tip: To make this process go quicker, use your hands! I don’t like touching meat (I’m also one of those people who doesn’t like it when my food touches on my plate…), so I first used two forks to go through the breading process, but after 10 minutes I was annoyed and dove in with my freshly cleaned hands.
Chet and I like to eat these with homemade french fries and a simple green salad. This time in particular I diced the chicken strips and threw them on top of a mound of lettuce for a ranchy-crispy-healthy big salad dinner (channeling Elaine). And I definitely didn’t skimp on the fries.
I’ve always been a mustard lover. Mustards of all shapes, sizes and spice levels make me a happy person. Mainly because when I made this recipe I was already over-the-top starving (eating for two here!) I didn’t make myself the usual honey mustard dipping sauce that I love so much. But just because I failed and went for ketchup doesn’t mean you have to. Here is an amazing honey mustard recipe from Wellness Mama that will have you licking the bowl clean.
What to Bring to the Store
To reduce your packaging waste for this recipe, the only items you might need to bring to the store with you are a few reusable spice jars to stock up on some of the ingredients. The bulk spice aisle at your local grocery store will probably provide you with Ziploc bags to use, so if you must, use those, but keep bringing them back to stock up on other spices!
As always, bring your reusable grocery bags!
Waste Meter- 4!
This recipe gets a 4 out of 5 on the waste meter because there is little you need to recycle or compost and only one item needs to be tossed. Meat is one of those tricky foods that more often than not comes in a packaging you have to throw out. You’ll need to throw away the styrofoam (unless marked recyclable), plastic wrapping and that white pad thing that sits under the meat. Here’s a breakdown of what to do:
Recycle (or Reuse): Bread bag (reuse for pet waste), egg carton
Compost: Egg shells
Trash: Chicken packaging
- 4 slices of your favorite bread (I used whole wheat)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried italian herb blend (or 1/2 tsp dried oregano and 1/2 tsp dried basil)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 small or 1 large chicken breast, cut into strips
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp italian herb blend
- Set your oven to low broil. Lay the bread out onto a baking sheet. Broil 1-2 minutes on both sides, or until toasted. Spread butter, italian herb blend, garlic powder and salt evenly over the bread. Broil another 1-2 minutes until crispy (dark brown).
- Place all four pieces of bread into a blender or food processor (it might help to rip them up a little bit). Blend on low, mixing until it turns to crumbs. Set aside in a bowl or tupperware for later.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a silicone mat onto a baking sheet, or grease the baking sheet if you don't have a mat.
- In a medium bowl, mix the flour, paprika, salt, pepper and italian herb blend. In a separate small bowl, beat the two eggs. Grab your bowl of bread crumbs.
- In this order, take each strip of chicken and first coat in the flour mixture, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Place onto your baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through, rotating halfway through. The cook time may vary depending on how thick you slice your chicken, so watch to not overcook if you've sliced them smaller.