Tortilla Chip Chicken

My Sister-in-law was over for dinner last night, so I wanted to make something quick and easy, so I could spend more time with her, and also tasty, so as to impress. And of course, cheap. Always trying to be cheap.

I had a bag of left-over tortilla chips (pronounced tore-TEA-ya, for you northerners) someone had brought to work. I took them home at the end of the day for our dinner. I bought boneless, skinless chicken thighs at the store for $1.49 per pound. Normally, I rarely purchase meat. Usually only if it’s on sale, for a dollar a pound or less. Meat is bad for you, and the environment, and I’ve always felt that since I don’t have the balls to look something in the eye and kill it myself, I don’t have the right to eat it. SO I try to cook meatless meals whenever possible. Okay, back to the recipe.

This is a great recipe to use up stale tortilla chips, or the tiny bits at the bottom of the bag. You can also use the bag to bread the chicken (like shake n’ bake). Crush up your tortilla chips to pieces about half the size of a dime. Add in some flour, about enough to coat the tortilla chips. Get your frying pan out, and pour in enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom. Use the smallest pan you can to save on clean up, and vegetable oil.

I cut my chicken into thin strips, like chicken tenders, so they cook faster. You don’t want the chips to get burnt with the chicken still raw inside. Crack one egg into a bowl, add about a half cup of milk (depending how much chicken you are making). Dip the chicken tenders into the milk mixture, then coat with the tortilla chips. You can do this by putting it into the tortilla chip bag and tossing everything around, or putting the chips into a bowl and dipping the chicken.

Lay the chicken gently into the frying pan. I keep mine turned to about medium heat. You can start the oil heating before you put any chicken in, but not too far in advance. You don’t want to set the house on fire, or have the oil explode, etc.

Cook until a dark golden brown, then flip to let the other side do the same. Cut open the first couple of pieces you pull out of the oil, to check and make sure they are done. Chicken should be white all the way through when thoroughly cooked. Have a plate with paper towels on it ready to set the cooked pieces of chicken on. Lift each one out carefully, and set on the towels to drain off the excess oil.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

Only make a little of the chip mixture and egg and milk mixture to begin with, so you don’t end up with a bunch left over. You cannot reuse any of it, and should throw any leftovers out immediately after you finish cooking.

Don’t put the plate with paper towels too close to the burner. If the paper towels catch fire, they are right next to a pan of hot oil! You could burn down your house, or at least your kitchen.

The paper towel of DOOM:

This is from when I was frying fish. I got the paper towel too close to my gas burner, meaning open flame. I managed to blow it out quickly, and save the delicious fish from destruction.

When breading anything for frying, use one hand to dip it in the wet mixture, and the other for the dry. This keeps you from getting dough hands.

This chicken is also very tasty when dipped in guacamole (pronounced G-wock-ah- MOLE-ee for you northerners). Guacamole is very easy to make yourself, and my favorite recipe is here.

Another note on kitchen fires: DO NOT pour water on a grease fire, or anywhere near one. It causes the grease or oil to fly everywhere, because oil and water naturally repel each other. Keep an open box of baking soda where you can reach it easily from your stove. If a tiny fire starts, or even a big one, throw baking soda on it. This will kill the fire quickly without destroying your kitchen. Happy cooking!

Mythbusters did a whole episode on how dangerous grease fires are. The first 30 seconds of this clip is a montage of all the craziness they created with just hot grease and water.

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September 9, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Cooking.

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