Mashing up new ingredients into something familiar but slightly different is a great way to show kids how fun cooking can be. As a parent, this is a priority of mine in the kitchen.
These Goldfish Chicken Tenders are a perfect example.
4-INGREDIENT CHICKEN TENDERS!
We seem to have a never-ending supply of Goldfish cheese crackers at our house. I find them everywhere. In the car. In the couch. On the floor. One time I time found a Goldfish cracker in my shower. So finding a few cups of the super crispy, cheesy crackers to use on some chicken tenders was not hard. (I did not, however, repurpose the ones I found throughout the house.)
All the other things you need for this recipe are basic pantry staples—flour, eggs, and of course, chicken tenders. While you could fry these, I prefer to bake them. The crackers get really crispy and form a satisfying crust, and cleanup is much easier if you bake them.
If you don’t have an endless supply of Goldfish crackers in your house, like I do, you can also substitute crushed Cheez-Its, Ritz crackers, or any crispy cracker you have in your pantry.
KIDS LOVE COLORS
If you make brightly colored food, it’s much more likely your kids will be into it. They love color!
These bright orange chicken tenders were a total delight to my kids. They had never seen anything like it and therefore loved them. I suspect the presence of Goldfish helped, too, but I can’t be sure.
COOKING THE BEST CHICKEN TENDERS
There are a few tips I can give you to cooking great chicken tenders.
- First, try to cut the chicken into even strips. They don’t have to be identical, but if you can try to get them the same thickness at least, they will cook evenly and not dry out.
- Second, involve your kids in the process of smashing up the crackers. Put them in a zip-top plastic bag and let them pound away with their little fists of fury. Or you can just crush them well in the bag, using a rolling pin or kitchen mallet. You want some inconsistency in texture; we aren’t going for Goldfish flour here!
- Third, take the time to bread the chicken tenders well. A dip in seasoned flour will help the egg and crust adhere to the chicken. And then really press on the crackers (or whatever your crust of choice is). Some crust will probably fall off while it bakes, so go heavy with it!
HOW TO REHEAT LEFTOVER CHICKEN TENDERS
If you have leftovers and need to reheat them, please, oh please, do not put these in the microwave. They will turn into a sad, soggy orange heap.
The fastest way to reheat them is in a skillet over low heat with a little oil. That will warm them through and preserve the crispy crust.
If you are reheating a large batch, you can bake them a second time in the oven for about 8 minutes at 350°F. until they are warmed through and crispy again.
THE DAD ADD: MAKE A SANDWICH!
These Goldfish Chicken Tenders make a surprisingly delicious sandwich. As in, I will probably only eat them in sandwich form if/when I make them for my family again.
I just loaded them up on a soft sub roll with a smear of mayonnaise, some shredded iceberg lettuce, and some banana peppers. The lettuce and peppers give some nice crunch and acidity to the sandwich. So delicious!
THE REPORT CARD
My kids thought these were an absolute hoot. My four-year old kept saying, “Why they Goldfish on my chicken?!” Meanwhile, my two-year old, whose vocabulary is limited, just kept saying, “It orange. It orange.”
Yes. It orange.
And they scarfed these down!
Possibly the most interesting report came from my wife, who was very skeptical that these would be good. She tried one, squinted directly at me, pondered various other chicken tenders I’ve made over the years, tried another bite . . . tried another bite . . . tried another bite . . . never admitted that she liked them . . . tried another bite. AND SO ON.
MORE BREADED CHICKEN RECIPES TO TRY!
- Baked Chicken Parmesan
- Herbed Chicken Tenders with Tomato Sauce
- Sesame Chicken Fingers with Spicy Orange Dipping Sauce
- Chicken Piccata
- Chicken Parmesan
- Nonstick spray, for sheet pan
- 2 cups Goldfish cheese crackers, well crushed
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 2 pounds chicken breast, sliced into strips about 2-inches long and 1/2-inch thick
DAD ADD: Goldfish Chicken Sandwich
- 1 6-inch sub roll
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
- 3 to 4 Goldfish chicken tenders
- Pickled banana peppers