Summer is suddenly upon us here, at least for a couple days until spring reasserts itself, and I’m starting early on my annual bid for air conditioning. I love a sunny day as much as the next guy, but a hot house is looooow on my list of good things. Let’s see, wheerrrrre is it, maybe a little lower…
Oh wait, it isn’t even ON the list, I remember. Hot house = hot mama. I know, isn’t that supposed to be a good thing? Not in my world, most days. But I’m trying to hang on to memories of the bitter cold of Ontario that felt like it would never end, and it’s making the heat not as bad, at least for now :)
So despite the internal temperature of my house, I’m back in the kitchen with a vengeance, all inspired by the fresh new blog, and I can’t wait to share some new must-make creations with you. One such recipe is these baked chicken fingers, aka chicken strips.
I’ve always raised a skeptical eyebrow at baked chicken strips, thinking they couldn’t really be as delicious and crunchy as their deep-fried counterparts. These babies from Easy Everyday Gluten Free Cooking proved me allll wrong. Chicken strips have now become something I can think of as simple and healthy dinner option, and they can even be made ahead, frozen, and baked from frozen, like your favourite box brand.
The secret, I think, is the cornmeal – so smart! It stays nice and crunchy and has a perfect fine texture to thoroughly coat the whole piece of chicken. It also means these chicken fingers reheated well, both the next day from the fridge and if baked from frozen. The recipe makes a lot, so we had enough to freeze some for another day, or you could easily double the recipe if you plan to stock the freezer.
This gluten free cookbook is full of great everyday ideas for gluten free cooking, just as the title suggests ;) I’m thankful not to need to cook gluten free, but two of my sisters do and I love having more recipes in my repertoire to serve them. This cookbook has 250 recipes, many of which don’t require any special ingredients, and many using common gluten free substitution combinations such as tapioca starch, xantham gum, and sorghum flour.
I love the inclusion of basic recipes such as meatballs, pizza crust, sweet and sour sauce, granola, and a flour mix for pancakes and waffles, coupled with the variety of everything from quinoa-stuffed peppers to rhubarb pistachio muffins. It’s called cooking, but the cookbook also includes plenty of baking, from loaves and muffins to desserts, so all your bases are covered in one place. I wish, as I always do, for more pictures, but each recipe has little side notes I love that help convince me it’s worth trying anyway.
These crispy chicken fingers are easily made gluten free, and just as good with a few alterations if you don’t have gluten free options handy – I made them with “regular” ingredients as well and my kids preferred when I omitted the pecans and simply replaced them with more bread crumbs, so I’ve included both options in the recipe. As with any chicken strips, don’t forget the sauce! Honey mustard, plum, sweet and sour, or straight-up ketchup or mayo, strip dipping is fun :)
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb/500 g)
- 1⁄3 cup brown rice flour (I used cornstarch)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup Gluten Free bread crumbs (I used panko bread crumbs)
- 2⁄3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (optional - if omitting, add additional ⅔ cup bread crumbs in their place)
- 1⁄2 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly greased foil.
- Cut each breast into strips 3⁄4-inch (2 cm) wide. Pat dry with paper towel to help coat adhere.
- Place the flour in a shallow dish or pie plate. In a second shallow dish or pie plate, whisk together eggs, water and Dijon mustard.
- In a large plastic bag, combine bread crumbs, pecans (if using), cornmeal, salt and pepper.
- Coat chicken strips, a few at a time, first in flour, then in egg mixture. Shake in bread crumb mixture. Place in a single layer ½ inch apart on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until coating is golden brown and crispy and chicken is cooked through.
Discard leftover crumb mixture and the plastic bag — it is not safe to re-use either when raw chicken is involved.
Excerpted from Easy Everyday Gluten-Free Cooking by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt © 2013 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.
*Disclosure: I received a copy of this cookbook from the publisher for review. I was not otherwise compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own.