Here's a recipe for homemade chicken strips shared with us many years ago by our friend Enola Gay. It's since become a mainstay in our family. These aren't like the deep-fried ones you see in grocery store delis, but they're delicious (and frankly healthier).
Preheat the oven to about 400F. I start with a three-pound bag of boneless skinless chicken breasts. I can get these at Winco for $6, or $2/lb.
These come frozen, so I defrost them by soaking the bag in hot water for an hour or so.
The recipe uses crushed saltine crackers. Since stale crackers are fine, it's a nifty way to use up old crackers that might otherwise go to waste. Because we always know we'll make this recipe, we hang on to every spare scrap of stale cracker that accumulates over time.
This is in addition to whatever fresh cracker's we'll need. I usually start with four packets.
I crush the crackers inside a plastic bag to keep things easier.
I start with two or three packages of crackers (crushed) but generally have to crush more later on.
The coating consists of a bunch of mayonnaise. How much will depend on how much chicken you start with. I generally start with about a pint.
Then add a generous dollop of mustard, to taste. You can use spicy mustard if you want -- this just gives the chicken a bit of zing.
Mix it together.
Cut the chicken into whatever sized pieces you wish. The kids prefer smaller pieces (more surface area) because they like the coating. Discard the fat.
As I cut, I plop the chicken into the mayo/mustard mix.
When everything is cut up, give the chicken a good stir to thoroughly coat it.
Get a couple of cookie sheets ready, and set up "stations" -- coated chicken, cracker crumbs, cookie sheets. Then one by one take a piece of chicken out of the coating...
...thoroughly coat it with cracker crumbs...
...and arrange it on the cookie sheet. This is clearly the messiest part of the recipe. Don't plan to answer the phone at this stage.
I usually run out of cracker crumbs about 2/3 of the way through, so I have the kids crush some more and pour them into the bowl.
Use up all the crumbs. Extra crumbs can be sprinkled over the chicken before baking. Don't try to save any unused cracker crumbs because there may be bits of raw chicken or mayo mixed in.
Three pounds of chicken fills two cookie sheets to capacity. Try not to layer the chicken -- it cooks best (meaning, crunchiest) if it's all flat.
Baking time is variable depending on how hot your oven is. I start checking the chicken after about 25 minutes. Personally we like it at the medium-browned stage. Some people prefer it lighter, some darker. Your choice, as long as the chicken itself is thoroughly cooked through.
Older Daughter prefers her chicken plain. Don likes to eat it with some ranch dressing. Younger Daughter and I like to use a bit of hot peppers to add extra zing.
Hot peppers make the chicken really really zingy but really really good.
Also serve with the vegetable of your choice, my preference being steamed broccoli. A delicious dinner! And thanks to Enola Gay for sharing this awesome recipe.