Chicken tenders have a bad wrap as "kid food" in my opinion, and should really have a place at the family dinner table more often. I mean, sure, the kind you pull out of a box from the freezer isn't really my favorite, but fresh ones made at home? What's not to love?? They're delicious! And life is so much easier when I can just give the kids what they want, so when I found this recipe a few years back I knew it was a keeper, and I've been making it ever since.
This recipe is the closest I've come to resembling the flavor and texture you find at many restaurants. The secret is that you soak them in buttermilk for about 20 minutes prior to breading, and the "breading" is actually just flour mixed with seasonings and some of the buttermilk - no breadcrumbs are actually used and it makes for a much tastier coating (in my - and my kids - opinion).
I usually serve them with a veggie and rice (or seen here with steamed sweet potatoes and a simple spinach salad) to make them more appealing to the adults at the table and to feel more like a proper meal rather than fast food. These are chicken tenders the whole family can get excited about.
K I D D U T I E S : (kids can do any or all)
Mix flour and spices
Coat chicken tenders with flour mixture
Help fry chicken (closely supervised, 6+)
I N G R E D I E N T S :
1lb chicken breast tenders
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp white vinegar)
1 cup flour
2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
I N S T R U C T I O N S :
Place chicken in a large bowl and cover with buttermilk - let sit for 20-30 minutes.
On a large plate, sift flour, seasoning salt, salt and pepper together.
Once chicken is done soaking, take about 1/4 cup buttermilk from the bowl and add it to the flour mixture, stirring just a little bit with a fork so small clumps form (you don't want it to turn into a full-on dough ball).
Coat each chicken piece, one or two at a time, with the flour/buttermilk mixture, making sure some lumps stick to each piece (I use my hands to gently press down on the chicken into the flour, then flip and press gently again).
Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large pan until nice and hot (drop a small piece of the breading into the pan - if it immediately starts sizzling, it's ready). Put 3-4 chicken pieces in your pan at a time and cook about 3-4 minutes per side until golden and crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and cook the remaining chicken. Serve immediately.