Crispy Un-Fried Chicken and Popcorn Cauliflower

I’m actually a bit torn about this chicken recipe. Not that it isn’t good- because it is- but because it seemed like kind of a hassle. And, honestly, the place I got it (an unsolicited “trial issue” of Cook’s Country) was a bit pretentious for me, stating “no self-respecting fried chicken lover would dream of using anything other than bone-in chicken parts.” Well, I’m sorry to disappoint the cooks but, having grown up on a farm and actually killing, plucking and taking apart entire chickens I’m well over anything having to do with chicken bones. I used boneless chicken breasts- I actually cut them into strips (gasp!)- and all was well.

But Caelan loved these, eating three strips, so this recipe will be appearing on my table again. Along with these simple and tasty popcorn cauliflowers, which both girls ate greedily. I suppose it’s because they love popcorn…

Crispy Un-Fried Chicken & Popcorn Cauliflower

Crispy Un-Fried Chicken
Serves 8

2 c buttermilk
2 T Dijon mustard
2 1/4 t salt
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1 1/2 t black pepper
1 t hot pepper sauce (I omitted this)
8 (split bone in) chicken breasts, 10 to 12 ounces each, skin removed, ribs trimmed with kitchen shears
2 1/2 c corn flakes (crushed. To do this place in a plastic bag and let the kids play steamroller over it with a rolling pin)
3/4 c fresh bread crumbs
1/2 t ground poultry seasoning (I omitted this)
1/2 t paprika
1/8 t cayenne pepper
2 T vegetable oil

Whisk buttermilk, mustard, 2 t salt, 1 t garlic powder, 1 t black pepper & hot sauce in a large bowl. Add chicken, turn to coat well, cover & refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.

Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat to 400 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil, set wire rack on sheet and coat with baking spray. (I used the broiler pan)

Gently toss corn flakes, bread crumbs, 1/2 t garlic powder, 1/2 t black pepper, 1/4 t salt, poultry seasoning, paprika and cayenne in shallow dish until combined. Drizzle oil over crumbs and toss until well coated. Dredge chicken, one piece at a time, in crumb mixture; firmly press crumbs into all sides of chicken. Place chicken on prepared rack, leaving 1/2 inch of space between pieces. Bake 35-45 minutes until chicken is deep golden brown, juices run clear and thickest part of the chicken breast (away from the bone) reaches 160 degrees.

Spice it up: increase the hot pepper sauce to 1T, replace salt in crumb mixture with 1/2 t chili powder and increase cayenne to 1/4 t.

This chicken reheats really well. Just heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake a few minutes. Or serve it cold.

Popcorn Cauliflower

Cut a head of cauliflower into small florets (about 3 c). Toss with 2T olive oil and 1/4 t pepper (I also added some garlic salt). Roast at 450 degrees, uncovered, until lightly browned stirring once or twice; about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese & serve.

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