How to make a 5 year old happy

We love Chick Fil-A especially their chicken strips. Golden brown with just the right amount sweetness and crunch makes them great. In fact, if Gabriel had his way we would eat Chickalay as he calls it every day for lunch and dinner. Reality says that it would get tiring for the rest of us and oh, Chick-Fil-A is CLOSED on Sunday. Have you ever tried to explain to a five year old why his favorite place to eat is closed on Sunday? It is not the easiest thing especially when they’re at the “why” stage. Thanks to some tweaking, testing and lots of willing volunteers, I have come up with a pretty close replica of Chick Fil-A’s world famous chicken strips. They’re pretty tasty if I do say so myself. It does make quite a bit so there’ll be leftovers but I can’t guarantee that.

Almost Chick Fil-A Strips

4 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloin strips


1 1/4  cup dill pickle juice (regular dill pickle not Kosher or Garlic Dill)

1 ½ cup whole milk

Egg Wash

2 eggs

½ c whole milk

¼ teaspoon paprika

Coating Mixture

2 cups all purpose flour

½ cup plain breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon dried basil (crush between fingers while adding to bowl)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon paprika

Vegetable Oil for frying

Mix marinade ingredients in a large plastic or glass bowl. Do not use a metal or stainless steel bowl as the pickle juice will react causing the strips to taste bad. Add chicken strips and let marinade for about 30 minutes. You can do longer if you want to but I wouldn’t go over an hour marinating. Once done marinating, drain and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes in strainer. Meanwhile combine coating mixture in a deep shallow bowl and egg wash in a separate large bowl. Pour about 2 inches of oil into a large skillet and heat to medium.

Place the drained strips into the bowl with the egg wash mixture. Take a strip let drain and toss in costing mixture to coat thoroughly.

(Here is where another person in the kitchen is going to be a huge help. One person can do the egg wash and coating step, while a second person can man the skillet. I did the egg wash and coating, and Uriah just grabbed the coated strips from the bowl.)

Once you see tiny bubbles around the edges of the oil, you’re ready to make your first test strip. My first strip I cooked for about 5 minutes on each side and it wasn’t quite ready. So we decided that about 6 minutes per side worked for us. It just depends on how big your strips are.

Once you figure out how long on each side you need to cook your chicken strips on, egg wash and coat about 4 strips at a time. Fry until golden brown and then turn over to fry to golden brown on the other side. When finished, place on paper towel lined baking sheet to drain. strips-for-blogWe served ours with French fries for a kid friendly meal that everyone enjoyed. Gabriel was one happy little boy. His response “Chickalay! Daddy got Chickalay for us!”

Until next time

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