Or, Chicken McWoodenNickels?
We called it Chicken McMom growing up.
No one has figured out how Wooden Nickels gave birth to a child who loves to cook, but folks, that’s exactly what happened. Wooden Nickels does not love to cook. She never has. That’s okay. I bear no scars or deep resentment because of this. I still ate a homemade dinner every night of my childhood life. In fact, I have a handful of recipes that come straight from those family dinners up my sleeve. Chicken McMom is one of those recipes.
There were two chicken dishes I adored growing up. One was called “Chicken McBarney.” That was none other than the recipe you get on the back of a can of Campbell’s Cream of Broccoli Soup. Don’t knock it, foodies, once you throw in some fresh broccoli, it’s darn good. It took it’s name because of a similar dish we had eaten at a birthday party for my uncle Barney.
Chicken McMom, on the other hand, is none other than homemade Chicken McNuggets. It’s probably not too different from any of the other breaded chicken recipes out there, except that I ate this exact one throughout my childhood so it instantly beats the pants off its competition. Take that, Ina.
If you’re new in the kitchen or if you love dipping things in ketchup, I recommend using chicken tenders as they cook faster, and you’ll worry less about when/if they’re done. Also they are dunkable. If you know your way around the kitchen or if you prefer more elegant fare, go for regular chicken breasts. There’s a little more guesswork in terms of cooking time, but it will be worth it when you plate your finished product elegantly over a salad.
- 1 lb. (or thereabouts) boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 1 lb. chicken tenders
- 1/2 C flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 C breadcrumbs (Wooden Nickels always used seasoned Italian breadcrumbs, but I’ve been known to reach for whatever’s in my pantry.)
- vegetable, or other flavorless oil
Pour flour onto plate. Crack eggs, and beat in shallow bowl. Pour breadcrumbs onto plate. Pick up chicken breasts, one at a time, and dip in flour mixture, coating evenly. It might take some wiggling around. If you’re raw chicken averse, you can use tongs to do this, but it won’t work quite as well as getting in there and doing the dirty work yourself. Next, dunk the floured chicken in an egg bath, coating completely. Finally, take your chicken breast to breadcrumb town. I usually put the chicken down, smush it around, flip it over, and dump even more crumbs all over the top. Go big or go home, I always say. Repeat with each chicken breast until all are finished, and your fingers are an eggy, bread-crumby mess. I like to do this step with one hand so the other is free to take pictures, or answer the phone if need be.
Coat bottom of large skillet with a thin layer of oil (3T?). Place chicken in pan, and cook, without touching, till bottom is golden brown. The amount of time it will take till the chicken is done depends entirely on how thick it is. Flip chicken and cook till other side is golden brown. If you’re using chicken tenders, cook about 3 minutes per side. The first two dozen times I made this recipe, I simply cut into a piece of chicken and checked to see whether it was still pink. Don’t feel bad if that’s you this time around.
Serve over a simple green salad, or with plenty of ketchup.