Cornflake Chicken

Growing up with divorced parents definitely presented its challenges from time to time,  but it also had its perks.  It meant pretty much two of everything - two houses, two beds, two places for my stuff, two routines and two sets of rules.  But my favorite aspect was that I had two opportunities to spend quality time with each parent in a way that maybe I wouldn't have been able to experience if the situation had been different.   

My two siblings and I went over to my dad's on Tuesdays for dinner, Thursdays for dinner and to spend the night, and then one night each weekend for dinner and another sleepover.  Lucky for me, my parents lived just about 5 minutes away from each other, making it easy to bounce back and forth.  

Dad lived in a great condo on the second floor, that I can still picture perfectly to this day, though he hasn't lived there in about 15+ years. It always felt cozy, and it was always a fun time when we would go over there.  

Some nights, we would enjoy dinners on the couch on our fold up tray tables while watching our favorite TV shows.  Other nights, we'd sit around the kitchen table to eat.  It always felt like an extra special treat when our grandparents - Grammy and Poppop - would join us for dinner. 

One night, dad introduced us to Cornflake Chicken.  Being the picky eaters my siblings and I were at the time, our taste buds craved simplicity and didn't like heavily seasoned foods.  Though his memory is a bit hazy on the subject, he likes to think that Grammy taught him how to make this chicken and thank goodness she did because I LOVED it!  It had a great crunch, tasted delicious and reminded me of a fun twist on chicken fingers.  We'd eat it with lots of white rice and gravy (my favorite - even still to this day!) and sometimes a green veggie made a guest appearance.  

I took this recipe with me to college, introduced my roommates to it (who also loved it!) and chose it as my "family meal" to cook for our class of 40+ students when I was completing my required semester in our five-star, student-run restaurant at the University of Delaware for my hospitality degree. 

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While I absolutely love this recipe, having Celiac sometimes makes it difficult to find a one-to-one substitution for certain ingredients that I need.  Before my new lifestyle kicked in, I could never have imagined that there would be some sort of wheat lingering in my beloved "Cornflake Crumbs", which the original recipe calls for.  But don't let the name fool you - there is malt flavoring hiding in there!  

I went on a search for a gluten free cornflake cereal and it proved much harder than I could have imagined, but I did it!  I wasn't able to find the "crumbs" I was used to, but quickly realized that I could use a regular cornflake and turn it into crumbs myself.  All I needed was a towel to protect my new granite counters, a zip top bag that was tightly sealed, and a small saucepan to get crushing on those cornflakes.  

It was totally worth the extra arm workout and every bit as delicious as I remembered.  Just remember, you never need to flake out of a recipe because you can't find the perfect gluten-free substitute.  With a little extra determination, you can always make it work!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 ½ cups of cornflakes, crushed into crumbs
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbps garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp milk 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Crush the cornflake cereal until it takes on a "crumby" consistency.  You can pulse them in a food processor, or place them into a tightly sealed zip-top bag and whack them with a pan or rolling pin - the possibilities are endless!
  3. Transfer the crumbs to a mixing bowl.  Generously season them with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix to incorporate.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and milk together, then season with some salt and pepper. 
  5. Dip the chicken in the eggs, shaking off any excess liquid.  
  6. Drop the chicken into the cornflake mixture.  Make sure both sides of the chicken are fully coated.  
  7. Place the chicken in a single layer onto a baking sheet or glass tray. 
  8. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 
  9. Enjoy!