Honey Kix and Panko Breaded Chicken -Anti Chef
Any other moms or dads out there just love the feeling of cooking for five or six hours to create a big fancy pants meal only to have your little angel(s) give you the high hat? Okay, how about ...has anyone ever felt like just feeding your kid cereal until they turned into it? No? ...hmm, can anyone tell me the fundamental gastronomic differences between a Dorito and a Coke? No again? What about between kids cereal and chicken/seafood breader...? Ahh, getting warmer now...pretty much no difference at all. You may find a few extra or omitted spices based on which of the two we are talking about, but other than that there is no huge difference in the contents of your kids cereal box and one of those packages of pre-mixed chicken or seafood breader you buy at the grocery store. Most cereals are made almost completely of corn, or corn meal...and most any cook who has worked in a tourist trap of a beach town like mine will more than likely confess to having prepared at least one fried offering that has been breaded in some sort of pulverized breakfast staple. Or have none of you ever heard of Cap'n Crunch Shrimp, or Fried Ice Cream...yep, that's just corn flakes on there folks, smashed up corn flakes. (they were probably going bad to start with, after some kid-less hack surfer/restaurant manager that didn't know shite brought them in in case any kids wanted them) The truth is, LOTS of cooks crush up LOTS of stuff to "crust" something with, and that idea strikes people for the strangest of reasons...that strange urge to coat something perfectly nice in something which would seem at first completely wrong. Stupid, stupid, busy humans.
In this case found myself with WAY TOO MUCH Kix cereal in the pantry...kid tested, mother approved... and WIC friendly. If I could have given it out by the flung handful for Halloween I would have, but we live on a busy road where no one tricks or treats...and to throw it around blindly is just wasteful, so....Honey Kix and Panko Breaded Chicken. Lately, my kid won't go anywhere near chicken unless it is in some mechanically separated, reassembled and fried form. I figured if I could find a way to get her to eat some nice, organic, hormone and hate free chicken breast without having to go to the trouble of setting up (and breaking down) my counter top fryer then it would be well worth the experiment. Before I give you the skinny on the breader, I want to stress...this is ONLY good as a kids thing. I tried to do it all fancy as a dinner for me and the wife (as the pictures will show) but it was just a peculiar sort of sweet. Maybe with a nice honey barbecue sauce or something that would either go well with, or contrast with the sweetness of the cereal...but as a kids finger food, good for dipping in honey, or honey mustard, or whatever....this is cool, and better for them than fried chicken nuggets.
Step One: Wash The Chicken:
Most folks don't realize just how filthy those chickens' tiddies can be after being trapped for hours, or days in that plastic, shrink-wrapped Styrofoam hell they're packaged in. All of those good old bacteria that come along with the meat are laying there, all over the surface just waiting for you, so wash your breasts. Just run them under cold water for a few moments and rub off any schmutz they may have accumulated whilst bound, then just pat the clean breasts dry with some paper toweling. If they are large, I like to cut them into two pieces which will cook quicker and are kid friendly.
Step Two: Breader:
In a food processor, pulse about two cups of cereal until you achieve the texture of lumpy corn meal -- or a little smaller pieces than the panko. Add the panko and continue pulsing to blend, transfer to a large zip lock bag. (gallon size works great)
Cook: Preheat Oven to 400 degrees:
Moisten the chicken pieces with water, then toss them a couple at a time into the Kix and Panko mixture to coat. Place the breaded pieces in a 13x9 inch baking dish, do not grease or spray it. Bake the chicken, after shaking it, in the center of the oven for around 20 to 25 minutes. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees. Discard any unused breader and the bag.
In closing, please remember...handling chicken like a careless jackass will sicken you and/or the ones you love. Always wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water after handling ANY raw meat, and be sure to wash, clean and disinfect all food preparation surfaces the meat may have come in contact with. And don't do anything stupid when handling raw meat...for example, don't photograph your kid's cereal box, which he or she may like to play with, next to raw chicken. I am a trained rule breaker. Do as I say.