This meal is a snap to put together, in fact I put it together in less than 30 minutes with two babies crawling on me and before I picked my older daughter up from school. By getting all the prep work done before pick up I was able to cook it up in a snap!
Here is what I did:
About 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon honey
Cajun seasoning (or hot sauce)
Pour buttermilk into a plastic food storage container (I love these, but you can use a 9×13 glass dish or whatever you like). You want it to be about 1-2 inches deep so it covers you chicken completely when you add it. To the buttermilk add 1 big tablespoon of honey, about 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and about 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning. You can add more if you like spicier chicken. Stir this up until the honey is mostly dissolved. Add your chicken strips, seal the lid and give a good shake so all the pieces are coated.
You can allow this to sit overnight, but allow at least 30 minutes. Prepping before after-school pick up allowed this to sit about 3 hours in the fridge.
Next you need the flour mixture:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Add all the ingredients together. You will find that the cornstarch is the secret weapon to keep your fried chicken nice and crispy! Place your lid on and give it a good shake to mix it all up. Carefully open your lid and taste it. Yes, stick your finger in the flour and take a little taste. Its the only way to truly know if you have added enough or too much seasoning! Add more seasoning as you see fit, if you feel it is too salty or spicy, add a little more flour. Now your friend chicken is prepped and waiting patiently for you to return home.
In the mean time, we still have some side dishes to get ready before running out the door. First up:
Buttered Green Beans
I would like to make a note, we love our green beans cooked to death. The more caramelized, soft and buttery they are the faster they disappear. If you prefer a crisper bean, I would wait to start cooking them until you have chicken frying, but feel free to prep them ahead of time!
For our family of three and a half I used about a pound of green beans from our garden, trimmed and cut them into about 2 inch pieces. You can use frozen beans with this method also and they turn out great. If they thaw before you cook them, they will cook faster so keep an eye on them!
To your pound of green beans add about 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 3 Tablespoons butter and a splash of water. Now your beans are ready to wait.
Finally I prepped potatoes for good old mashed potatoes.
1 medium russet potato per person plus 1 extra for good measure
Peel, I use a Rada vegetable peeler
rinse the dirt off and cut into about 2 inch pieces. Cover with cold water and add about 2-3 teaspoons of salt. I use a little less salt than when I am boiling them right away as they seem to absorb more salt sitting.
When you are home from whatever activities filled the space between prepping your meal and eating it here is how I make it all come together.
In a medium cast iron pan (or any deep sided pan you have) add enough vegetable or other neutral oil to come only about 1/3 the way up the side. You want enough space so as the oil gets hot it can splatter IN the pan not on you! Turn your burner on to about medium heat. At this time also turn on your potatoes to medium high and your beans to medium low. Make sure both the potatoes and beans are covered.
Now the chicken. Since you were super smart and used the handy food storage containers all you need to add is a cooling rack and you have your frying station set up! The cooling rack is ideal because it keeps the flour coating from getting gummy while it waits its turn to enter the fryer.
I like to double dip my chicken so it has an extra crispy coating. I simply take a few strips at a time out of their buttermilk bath and lay them in the flour. I then snap the lid on, give it a couple shakes and pull the strips out with a fork an rest on the rack. When all the strips are done I repeat and let them sit until my oil is ready. You can tell the oil is ready by sprinkling a drop or two of water (get your fingers damp and flick them at the pan) if it bubbles the oil is ready
Add a few pieces at a time and allow to brown. This will take anywhere from 3-4 minutes depending on how thick your strips are and how hot your oil is. This is also a good time to set something like this up in your oven to keep the strips warm and crispy while the others cook:
I use a cookie sheet and pretty much any oven proof rack I have, this one happens to be for a roast I believe, but I have only ever used it for holding fried things. You should also give your beans a stir, and take the lid off. If you feel like they are cooking too much add a little water and turn the heat down. Back to the chicken
Now that your first side is golden and delicious, flip them over and give the other side another 3-4 minutes. Then move to your oven rack. I set my oven to 170’F, just enough to keep them warm. I usually cook more strips than this at a time, I just wanted you to be able to see what they should look like.
Once you get your second batch of chicken frying, your potatoes should be close to being done. Check them with a fork, if it stick through easily turn them off and drain them. If they need a couple more minutes check them again when you pull this round of chicken out.
When I drain my potatoes I put them back into their pot and add just enough milk that I can see it around them. And I use my hand mixer to do the mashing. They should look something like this:
You may need to add a little more milk to get the right fluffiness, just add small amounts at a time while you are mixing.
In the meantime the last of your chicken should be about done frying and ready to serve. How handy is that, everything is done about the same time! I always add a little extra butter to the beans and give it another stir before serving.
TADA! All of your prepping paid off and all your meal components are done at the same time! I hope you enjoy!