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  • Writer's pictureTina

Foodie Friday: Buttermilk Chicken Tenders





The Bibbed Wonder and I have had what Oprah calls an "Ah-Ha Moment." We have realized we spend a significant amount of money on garbage food. We eat out for convenience most of the time. There are days when it is simply easier to pick up a pizza, grab a burger, or order a box of tacos than to try to throw something together at home. Most of the time, I have all the ingredients for pizza, tacos, or burgers, but the time and effort required to prepare them is a hindrance.


It's not as though we grab fast food every week, but we give in to our cravings and desire for easy over healthy several times a month. After going to a local sub-franchise, dropping thirty-five dollars on a mediocre lunch that gave us gastrointestinal discomfort that lasted for hours, and seeing our subs made by individuals who looked like they could benefit from a long soak in a tub with some good soap, we came to the agreement that our behavior needs to change.


First, there is the cleanliness issue—or perhaps lack of cleanliness. I have always been a bit germ-conscious, but COVID put me right over the edge with germ hyper-awareness. I always keep several bottles of hand sanitizer in my car and one in my purse. Whenever I leave a public establishment, I disinfect my hands... religiously. I keep Clorox wipes in my car and on my person to wipe down tables, seats, menus, etc. I've calmed down a bit with this practice because it embarrasses my kid, but I am not above giving a good wipe to a table at McDonald's if it looks like it needs one. I know this is my issue, and it's a bit over the top, but I own it. However, I can't control my brain when I obsess about all the germ-infested nightmares I imagine behind closed doors in restaurant kitchens. There have been too many restaurants shut down with fly infestations-aka maggots, for my personal comfort. There are several restaurants I simply can't go to because of these stories. Then there is the people factor. People do weird, gross, and unkind things to others for no reason. I imagine someone sneezing and not covering while preparing food. I also imagine people not washing their hands after using the restroom. Don't even get me started on buffets. I can't eat at a buffet for a lot of reasons. I know I'm weird.


Secondly, there is the unhealthy factor of fast food. When one considers that one sandwich contains enough calories, sodium, and fat of the recommended daily allowance for one month, it is not so tasty. The Bean is my greatest downfall when it comes to consuming fast food. She loves McDonald's french fries, and who am I to deny her something that makes her happy? However, when the bill is almost fifteen dollars for an order of fries and a milkshake, I think I should have told my girl no.


This leads me to the third and final factor: wasted money. Fifteen dollars here, twenty there, and forty for pizza to feed a crowd on a Friday night adds up quickly. What we spend on fast food monthly could purchase one plane ticket to Aruba. This is how I now think of money management: that could buy me X-Y-Z in Aruba. My poor husband cannot wrap his head around my money rationalization practices. I get no thrill from seeing my savings grow. I find no appeal to sticking to a budget. However, if my goal of moving to Aruba is mentioned, I become a money-saving tycoon. Okay, that might be a bit of a stretch, but I am motivated to be more responsible with money when I think about moving to Aruba.


Simply deciding to stop eating fast food does not magically eliminate one's cravings for fast food. I am not a fan of the Big Mac or Chalupa, but there are days when I feel that nothing would hit the spot quite like some deep-fried chicken tenders. Today, I will share my recipe for buttermilk-marinated chicken tenders. It's a bit healthier than what you will find in most fast food joints, more affordable, and tastes much better. The only drawback is that you can't pick it up from a window while in your car and will have to wash the dishes.


Buttermilk Chicken Tenders


1 lb. chicken tenderloins


Marinade:

1 1/2 cups of buttermilk

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt


Coating:

1 cup of flour

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. salt


3 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup of buttermilk

2 cups vegetable oil for frying


Directions:


Combine the marinade ingredients in a large Ziploc bag or lidded container. Add the chicken tenders and manipulate the chicken until the liquid covers them equally. Allow to marinate for four to twenty-four hours in the refrigerator.


Heat two cups of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.


Beat the eggs and milk together.


Blend the ingredients for the coating in a shallow, wide dish.


While the oil is heating, remove the chicken tenders from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Place the chicken tenders on a clean plate, dip them into the egg mixture, then dredge in the coating mixture.


Sprinkling a few drops of water in the oil will test its readiness. If it sizzles and pops, it's ready for frying the chicken.


Using tongs, gently place the chicken tenders into the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the chicken. Cover the skillet with a lid.


Fry for six to eight minutes per side. Carefully remove the cooked chicken from the oil using tongs. Place the chicken on a cookie sheet covered in two layers of paper towels. Cover the cooked chicken to keep warm.


Fry the chicken tenders in small batches until all are cooked.


Serve hot with a variety of dipping sauces. The Bean prefers ranch dressing. The Bibbed Wonder likes barbeque sauce for dipping, and I prefer honey. However, get creative and enjoy your unique dipping sauces.


I served this with a cucumber salad.


I hope you enjoy my healthier version of chicken tenders. On this rainy Friday, stay safe, be smart, eat healthier, keep your goals in mind, and for the love of all that's holy, wash your hands-especially when working with food.



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