Pssst: 8 very "adult" ways to eat chicken fingers for dinner

The recipe for the best chicken fingers on earth? According to Amanda Hesser in A New Way to Dinner, it belongs to her co-author, Merrill Stubbs.

Merrill makes her chicken fingers with thighs (as opposed to the less-flavorful breasts), seasons them with oregano and Parmesan, and cooks them in the oven on a baking sheet of foaming, browning butter (a neater alternative to frying that doesn't sacrifice the flavor).

Chicken Fingers
Chicken Fingers by Merrill Stubbs

While chicken fingers can't be dinner every night (but, Mom!), they can be repurposed into a number of meals that are different (and delicious) enough that you won't mind—or even know!—that you're repeating.

Make a double batch at the beginning of the week...

Chicken Fingers By Merrill Stubbs

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs (panko works well)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise into 1-inch strips and pounded gently until about 1/3-inch thick

...and eat as many as you'd like! Then store the cooled chicken fingers (you'll have about two dozen) in an airtight container in the fridge.

Then, for the next four days, turn them into something new like this:

  • (Almost instant!) Chicken Parmesan. Layer the cooked tenders with tomato sauce, sliced mozzarella cheese, and herbs (or even pesto). Ta-da!
  • All hail chicken Caesar. Warm the chicken tenders (Merrill reheats them on a baking sheet, uncovered, in a 300° F oven), then slice them into strips and serve over a Caesar salad (or any salad that needs some bulking up, for that matter). Pro move: Sprinkle the tenders with finely grated Parmesan before you rewarm them. (You could also make this a sandwich! Keep reading.)
  • Open your own sandwich shop. With chicken tenders in the fridge, you're more than halfway to...
Green Goddess Chicken Sandwiches
Green Goddess Chicken Sandwiches by foxeslovelemons

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken, Caponata, and Pesto Sandwich
Parmesan-Crusted Chicken, Caponata, and Pesto Sandwich by sdebrango
  • Chicken ramen(ish). Make soup with miso paste and chicken stock (and vegetables or various seaweeds, if you have them!). Boil ramen noodles (or udon, or rice noodles) in a separate pot, then spoon your broth over top. Add chunks of cubed chicken tenders as a garnish.
  • Piccata it. Remember when we said you can picatta anything? We meant it. Warm the chicken in the oven. Meanwhile, sauté onions in some oil on the stovetop, then add chicken stock, lemon juice, and a splash of white wine. Add lots of capers, let it bubble and reduce (add a spoonful of flour if you want it to be thicker!), then ladle over the chicken. Might as well have some pasta with this, too!
  • Chinese chicken salad. At Joan's on Third in Los Angeles, the Chinese chicken salad is made with breaded chicken. Yours can be, too!
  • Chicken enchiladas.Start with this guideline, using chopped chicken fingers as the protein in your filling.
  • Very easy chicken Milanese. Warm your chicken in a sauté pan with a little olive, then spritz with lemon juice and top with arugula tossed with salt, pepper, and another squeeze of lemon.
How to Make Enchiladas without a Recipe
How to Make Enchiladas without a Recipe by Amanda Sims

How to Piccata Anything
How to Piccata Anything by Marian Bull

What's your favorite kids' food to serve to adults? Tell us in the comments!

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