This meal was a favorite in college. My friend Danie introduced me to these delicious and easy chicken tenders during sophomore year (I can't believe it was that long ago!). We would make this together when we didn't want to eat in the dinning halls and we were sick of fast food (oh, college).
She inherited the recipe from her mom Lynn who is an excellent cook, and it has since become a staple in my own family. My brother loves these, especially when we use the extra-spicy pepper sauce. I've been telling Danie for a while that I would make these for the blog, and today seemed like an excellent day to do that! As it is freezing in St. Louis, I welcomed the spicy food with pleasure. I adapted the recipe a bit this time to try something new. Typically we would pan-fry these using about 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. But I decided to deep fry them this time. Since I had so much success with frying the toasted ravioli, I thought why not do it again?
Spicy Chicken Tenders with Apple and Celery Salad (print recipe)
For the Chicken:
1 lb. chicken tenderloins, or breast meat cut into strips or cubes
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika (more if you like)
Frank’s Hot Sauce
Canola oil for frying
Honey for drizzling
For the Salad:
3-4 apples, peeled and cubed
4 stalks celery, chopped
Start by heating your oil in a large cast iron or heavy pot. The oil will need to be at 350 degrees for the perfect frying temperature.
While the oil is heating up, prepare your salad. Combine the apple cubes, celery slices, and ranch dressing. Top with freshly cracked black pepper. Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
Marinate the chicken with the Frank’s Hot Sauce for 5-10 minutes. Prepare the coating by combining the flour, salt, and paprika. Coat the marinated chicken with the flour mixture (using a plastic bag works nicely).
Once the oil reaches 350 degrees drop a couple pieces of chicken in a time. The exact frying time will differ depending on the size of your chicken. Mine took about 3-5 minutes. If you are pan frying the time will be longer as well. Place fried chicken on a plate with a paper towel to soak up excess oil. If you are frying a lot of chicken (more than 1 lb.), make sure to change out your oil for best results.
Plate up your meal, drizzle the chicken with honey, and you've got yourself a quick and delicious meal!
Honestly, who doesn't like fried chicken? And with the added bit of spice coupled with the sweetness of the honey...WOW. This is comfort food at its finest. Sure, we shouldn't eat fried food all the time. But when you are in dire need of comfort food, I say go for it! Also, I love this salad. I know the idea of apples and ranch might see a bit strange at first, but for some reason, it really works. I hope you find this meal as comforting and delicious as I did.
Thanks Danie for sharing this recipe with me all those years ago (and give Lynn a big thanks too!).