GINNA PARSONS: Chicken sticks: Better late than never

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, my husband and I batted around ideas for dinner. He had a hankering for Chicken Parmesan, but we serve that over pasta and we’d just had lasagna the night before.
I threw out grilled kielbasa and homemade potato skins, but that didn’t appeal to him. Son Patrick suggested Buffalo Wild Wings, but we quickly shot his idea down. We’d all just eaten out on Friday night.
About 2 o’clock, I pulled down an Ina Garten cookbook, “Barefoot Contessa Family Style,” and thumbed through it. I found just the thing: Parmesan Chicken Sticks. This recipe combined the Parmesan Chicken taste Charlie was looking for with the finger-food idea I was going for and, it was chicken, which Patrick wanted.
Sunday afternoon grew into Sunday evening and still no one had made a move toward the grocery store. So about 5:30, we loaded up and headed for – you guessed it – Buffalo Wild Wings.
But come Monday night, the chicken skewers were back on the menu.
Ina’s recipe calls for cutting three or four chicken breast halves into strips, but I found it easier just to go ahead and use tenders. Once you cut the little white tendon off each one, you’re in business.
I didn’t have any small children at my house, but Ina says these are popular with the younger set. You just might want to substitute popsicle sticks for the skewers so they don’t hurt themselves.

Parmesan Chicken Sticks
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
11⁄2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Unsalted butter
Olive oil
Lay the chicken breasts on a cutting board and slice each diagonally into four or five large strips.
Combine flour, salt and pepper on a dinner plate. Beat the eggs with water on a second plate. Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese on a third plate.
Dredge chicken strips on both sides in the flour mixture, then dip both sides into egg mixture and roll in the bread crumb mixture, pressing lightly to coat.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook the chicken strips on medium-low heat for about 3 minutes on each side, until just cooked through. Don’t crowd the pan. Add more butter and oil and cook remaining chicken strips. Serve each strip on a skewer or popsicle stick.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.