Did any of you grow up eating Shake 'N Bake chicken, or was that just me? The flavoured bread crumb coating made dinner a little extra special back in those days, and I recall thinking it was like eating fried chicken made right in our very own oven. What I also remember were the leftovers, and how we all fought for the right to eat the remaining crispy-skinned chicken pieces the next day.
History is repeating itself in my kitchen, and I'm making fake fried chicken for my big boys now. Only instead of using the packaged product I grew up with, I'm making my own coating with a few basic pantry staples that always seem to be hanging out in my cupboard.
When I asked about your dinner dilemmas, one reader said she needs meals that will taste just as good for the first person who eats them as they will for the last, which might be two hours later. On Friday nights, this is my predicament, too.
Certain teenagers I know aren’t famous for their organizational skills, and I’m never sure who’s going to be around for dinner come Friday, when social plans take priority over everything else. But if I make a chicken dish that tastes just as good at room temperature as it does when served piping hot and straight out of the oven, I don't have to worry about who will or won't be here, and when those people will eat. I call this new way of dining ‘self-serve from the kitchen counter’ and it’s how I’ll be doing dinner on Friday nights from now on.
Fake Fried Chicken
- 2 cups breadcrumbs or panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
- 3 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked or sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 2 ½ lbs. chicken drumsticks
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. In a large Ziploc plastic bag, combine all of the ingredients, except the chicken. Seal the bag and shake well, until the crumbs looks like wet sand.
3. Using tongs, take chicken, two or three pieces at a time, and drop into the Ziploc bag. Seal and shake until chicken is evenly covered in breadcrumb mixture. Remove, shaking off excess, and arrange on a rack set over the foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.
4. Cook, turning once, for 40 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Serve warm or at room temperature.