How do you define comfort food? Is it a heaping bowl of buttery mashed potatoes? Or a big steamy pot of chicken noodle soup? If anyone were to ask me this question, I would mention something that’s probably on the kids menu at most restaurants. You’d most likely roll your eyes and write me off as someone who eats Happy Meals at least once a week. Why does “kiddie food” get such a bad rap? Chicken strips, mac and cheese, and PB&Js are delicious. There’s no reason why child-free adults like myself should be denied these simple pleasures. But fear not my friends, I have a solution. Today I present to you the most elegant chicken strips that you will ever try,and they even have a classy name to prove it. And if classy chicken wasn’t enough, I went ahead and made fancy homemade ranch to make you feel better about all of the dipping and slathering that’s about to happen.
These chicken strips are a cinch to make thanks to the tenderizing effects of buttermilk. The buttermilk also eliminates the need for any egg and flour dredging. Just remove the chicken from the buttermilk and roll in cracker crumbs.
- 6 chicken breasts, pounded thin
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
- 1 1/2 sleeves of RItz Reduced Sodium Crackers
1. Slice chicken breasts into strips and place in a large zip loc bag. Mix garlic powder, paprika, and buttermilk together. Pour buttermilk over chicken and reseal the bag. Marinate the chicken for an hour.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with nonstick aluminum foil. Working in batches, crush crackers in a food processor until they resemble crumbs. You don’t want the crumbs to be too fine. It’s okay if there are some large chunks.
3. When the chicken is finished marinating, roll it in the cracker crumbs. You want a thick cracker coating. After the chicken has been coated, place it on the foil-lined cookie sheet in a single layer and bake for 25 minutes.
4. The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees and the cracker crust is crispy.
While the chicken is baking, whip up this ranch dressing. It’s incredibly easy to prepare and it tastes about a million times better than the scary store bought stuff.
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
- 1 cup real mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup light sour cream
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chives
- a dash of Tabasco
- freshly ground pepper
- kosher salt, to taste
1. Mince the garlic with a knife and then sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon of salt onto the garlic. With a fork, mash the garlic and salt into a thick paste.
2. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients except for the buttermilk. Stir. Add buttermilk until you’ve reach the desired consistency. Taste and season as necessary. Chill for a couple hours before serving. Thin with more buttermilk when it comes out of the fridge if you wish.