The words chicken strips (or nuggets or fingers) can elicit different — almost Pavlovian — reactions. Different, often, in kids and adults.
Many kids are like, “ooooh, chicken fingers, yes bring them on!”
Many adults feel like this is the parenting/kid food of defeat. The shameful fallback, whether at a restaurant or at home. “My eat eats only chicken nuggets,” we might lament to one another (I have surely heard this phrase sighed a whole lot of times.
Real chicken breast pieces with a flavorful panko crust and a sweet and tangy dipping sauce.Tweet This
Chicken Nuggets: A Reality
But take heart! First of all, having a box of frozen chicken nuggets in the freezer is hardly shameful, it’s downright smart! I once wrote an article where I had to test and taste and compare over 50 kind of frozen and refrigerated chicken nuggets. Yes, it was pretty much as terrifying as it sounds, but there are some good ones out there. Bell & Evans was the winner, back then, and they are still high on the list of deliciousness.
So, no shame in having a box of nuggets/fingers/tenders on hand. No shame at all. But no, we don’t want to feed our children a steady diet of packaged chicken nuggets.
But a homemade chicken finger, here and there is a thing of joy. Real chicken breasts, nicely sliced with a flavorful panko-crust and a sweet and tangy dipping sauce? I surely see no reason for mea culpas here.
Mixing the Panko bread crumbs with a bit of olive oil allows them to form a crispy fried-tasting crust in the oven. And yes, these are baked, so less oil.
For a chance of pace, you can switch up the dipping sauce. This Sriracha Sauce would be excellent.
Other Highly Kid-Pleasing Foods:
- English Muffin Pizzas
- One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
- Meatball Subs
- The Ultimate BLT Grilled Cheese
- Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers
- Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas
Crispy Chicken Strips with Apricot Mustard Dipping Sauce
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce or to taste
- 1 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut crosswise into 1-inch thick strips
- 1 cup apricot or orange preserves
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a wire cooling rack into a rimmed baking sheet.
- Place the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Whisk together the eggs and Sriracha in a second shallow bowl. Combine the panko and olive oil in a third bowl.
- Working in small batches, toss the chicken strips in the flour, shake off any excess, dip them in the egg mixture, shake off any extra, and roll them in the panko. Shake off any excess, then place the strips at least 1 inch apart on the wire rack. (It’s possible you may need to bake these in two batches.)
- Bake until the chicken strips are golden brown and cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, place the preserves in a small saucepan or skillet. Heat over low heat until melted, then stir in the mustard and thyme. Transfer the sauce to a small bowl, transfer the chicken strips to a serving platter and serve hot.
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