“I can’t believe I can’t eat gluten, it’s in everything! I’m from the South, how can I give up fried chicken?!” The woman behind me in line impatiently tossed her beautifully braided hair impatiently over her shoulder, lamenting her newly discovered dietary issues to a sympathetic friend. Since the friend had no solution, I had to chime in.
“If you’re interested, I know a way to make gluten free fried chicken that will also save you some money.”
“Girl, if that’s true, I’m gonna hug you!”
Well, I got my hug, and no it wasn’t awkward at all 🙂
We go through about one large bag of tortilla chips a month. I also use them sometimes when making taco soup for cooking classes or demonstrations. I always end up with a bunch of chips in the bottom of the bag that are too small for nachos. Sometimes we’ll sprinkle them on taco salad, but once they go stale they’re not so good for that either.
That’s how I came up with my favorite way to use up leftover tortilla chips. Fried chicken strips!!! Even if the chips are stale, by grinding them up in a food processor, and then frying them, you breathe life back into a previously disappointing crunchless chip. (No food processor, no problem! Just put them all in one bag and stomp around on them until finely crushed.)
Even better, because the chips I use are just made with corn, oil and salt, they’re a naturally gluten free coating for your chicken.
I like to make chicken strips rather than big pieces of fried chicken. Using a chicken breast that’s thinly pounded means one breast is enough to feed two people. Also, the bigger your chicken pieces are, the longer you have to fry them, which means absorbing a lot more oil. By making chicken strips I only have to fry them a couple minutes on each side, a much healthier option than the big pieces of deep fried chicken.
If you’re not concerned about making this gluten free, you can use flour instead of cornstarch to coat the chicken before the egg.
One way to make this chicken fun for the whole family is to offer a variety of dipping sauces. I like mixing ketchup and mustard, Eric likes ranch dressing. One of our exchange students likes salsa, another likes honey mustard. This way everyone gets to make their main dish unique to their tastes, and it doesn’t really cost any extra time or money because it’s things I already have in my fridge.
So fried chicken is a great way to use crushed up tortilla chips, what ideas do you have to use food that might otherwise be thrown away?
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3/4 cup corn starch
- 1 TBS kosher salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 egg
- 3 TBS water
- 2 cups finely crushed tortilla chips
- 4 TBS canola oil, divided
- Place chicken breasts one at a time into a ziploc bag and pound evenly until 1/4 inch thick. Slice chicken into 1 inch wide strips.
- Place cornstarch in a bowl and mix in kosher salt, chili powder and pepper.
- In another bowl, whisk together the egg and water.
- Place tortilla chips in a third bowl.
- Heat 2 TBS canola oil in a skillet on medium high and turn your oven to warm.
- Dredge chicken strips in corn starch mix, then the egg wash, then tortilla chips making sure it’s well coated.
- When oil is hot, fry coated chicken 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
- Place chicken on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining chicken.
- Continue frying remaining chicken, replacing oil as needed.
Approximate cost/serving: The coating practically feels free because I would have thrown the crumbs away, but if I factor the cost by ounces it’s about $1 worth of chips. I got 16 chicken breasts for $8 at Sam’s Club. The cost of making 3 breasts worth of chicken strips was about $3.85, for six servings that’s just 64 cents a serving!
Gluten Free: Yes! No changes necessary!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 305Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 1163mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 21g
Nutrition information is an estimate only.