Family Friendly Chicken Strips

As passionate cooks go, home based or otherwise, there is one thing in the world that irks us all beyond comparison….meal rejection.

Unfortunately, in my house, this happens a lot. Not that my food is anything but extraordinary and made with so much love it hurts, just that some people around here don’t appreciate the same things I do.

It irks me to no end to think that I have spawned from my own loins, a chef’s worst nightmare: the picky eater; however, I know I’m not alone in this.

This month on Simple Bites, we addressed this common dinnertime dilemma head on and many, many parents chimed in.

You’ll find many a solution to the picky eater in these links. Don’t skip the comments either, as they are full of wisdom from parents who have been there.

A Clever Compromise

No mother who knows food rejection wants to spend 60+ minutes in the kitchen fixing something she knows won’t be eaten. What I can do is offer foods I know will be eaten and try to make those meals simple and quick.

My compromise? Healthy chicken strips the whole family will love.

Always a childhood favorite, chicken strips are usually given a bad rap. Not only are they among the most popular choices on restaurants “children’s menu” (read: deep fried, brown food), but when they are offered at home, they are unappetizing and unhealthy, having been reheated from frozen lumps found in the grocer’s freezer.

Chicken strips are a fast, healthy meal if done correctly, and I will show you a kid tested recipe even my picky, non-meat eating child will try.

Buttermilk Chicken Strips

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Course: Main Dishes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 352kcal


  • 1 lb chicken fillets
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup corn flakes crushed into fine crumbs
  • 1 cup panko or bread crumbs


  • In a small bowl, mix buttermilk, salt, pepper and paprika. Add in fillets and marinate for at least 30 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Mix corn flakes and panko (try crushing them together a bit in a mortar or in a plastic bag with your palm to make flakes smaller) together on a plate, season with salt & pepper (and any other herbs or spices you may want).
  • Place or or two pieces of chicken at a time on plate, thoroughly coating each piece in crumbs.
  • For best results, bake on a greased metal cooling rack set atop a baking sheet. This allows the hot air to crisp all sides of the strips, instead of just one side. If you cannot get this set up, simply spray a baking sheet with baking spray and place strips directly on sheet
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
  • Serve alongside a nice salad for a light, yet filling dinner... but don't forget the dip!


Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 280mg | Potassium: 314mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 385IU | Vitamin C: 1.5mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 3.6mg

Honey Mustard Dip

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Course: Condiments
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 65kcal


  • 1/3 cup low fat Hellman's Mayo
  • 1-2 Tablespoons liquid honey depending on taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard (we use heaping Tablespoons)


  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Serve in individual ramekins alongside chicken strips.


Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 224mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Do you have a go-to quick and easy meal that is loved by all? Please share!

About Elizabeth

On her blog, Guilty Kitchen, Elizabeth writes about the joys of local food, buying sustainable and feeling much too guilty after indulging in too many rich desserts.

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  1. Great toddler food! I love the addition of the corn flakes, going to try this soon. Thanks!

  2. I bought buttermilk just so I could make this recipe, Elizabeth. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  3. were gonna have to try these, and whatever that salad in the back it looks yummy too lol

  4. I don’t have kids, but I’m thinking this would work for my husband and I. 🙂 Neither of us is especially picky, but grocery store “chicken” nuggets are a guilty indulgence. Do you suppose these could be frozen and reheated easily, after being baked? He loves to make a plate of nuggets while watching TV.

    One thing I miss about cooking from scratch is the convenience foods…and this affects my hubby more than me, as he doesn’t cook much and doesn’t know what to do with himself if I don’t make food. Do you have any resources for some other easy, reheatable, relatively healthy snacks/meals?
    .-= Nikki Moore’s last blog: "Indian Stew" =-.

    • I do know that once cooked, these chicken strips can be frozen and reheated (in the oven!) with stellar results. I wouldn’t recommend the microwave though, unless your husband doesn’t mind soggy bottomed strips.

      As for resources for healthy snacks and easy foods, I always plug these links: (just type in what you are looking for and you WILL find a recipe somewhere) (loads of user submitted recipes)

      Other than that I wouldn’t even know where to begin!
      .-= Elizabeth’s last blog: Fresh Fruit Salsa =-.

      • Thanks, Elizabeth! There are so many…I’m sure to find something. Thanks for the tip on microwaving too. I wonder if there is a good microwaving rack someplace, so stuff doesn’t get soggy? *mind wanders thinking about microwave racks*
        .-= Nikki Moore’s last blog: "Indian Stew" =-.

  5. I’ve done a slightly spicier version and even my toddler chows down. So good and crispy. It’s funny to see the kid type meals making their way around the food blogs lately.

  6. Brace yourself, I have a lot to say on the subject of picky eaters.

    When my kids tell me they do or do not eat mushrooms (or whatever) and I just ignore them.

    I cook and serve food that I think is delicious. Asparagus, artichokes, edamame, slow cooked broccoli what-ever. When my kids have fussy friends over, they are offered white bread and we get the good stuff, like we’re in the yummy food club and they aren’t.

    Sadly my husband is a bit of a fuss pot (which is a bit sad) but I largely ignore him too.
    .-= londonmom1’s last blog: Some dirty words =-.

  7. I can say we’ve not had chicken strips in our house. Maybe because the chief cook (me) isn’t a fan? These do look tempting, and I love a buttermilk marinade.

    Following up on all the previous posts, with the fickleness of kids, our go to meals often change. It used to be steak and roasted potatoes, then it was my mac and cheese. Now we know the kids will be happy if we go out for sashimi and edamame.
    .-= Cheryl Arkison’s last blog: Scotch and … =-.

  8. Robin Bird says

    This looks like a real winner. One comment though on the Picky eater topic. WHile I am sure it is frustrating and only factual that you report that your child or any child is “picky” I really wish there was a better way to phrase it. As with all children labeling once they hear it and you reaffirm it with a name it does become stuck. I find it hard to believe that if we were all given a choice of what we want to eat, without all the nutrition wisdom we have acquired, we would choose such well balanced meals. Perhaps you could look into this labeling and instead find a more neutral ground and label it not yet matured eating choices or something far more catchy. Picky does have a negative wrap and even “selective” does as well. As our children grow we all want to educated them on better choices so perhaps a focus on growing their taste buds is a better way to look at it. There has been research on the fact that we develop tastes as we grow and even grow out of some as we age. I know my mother really wanted spicy fattening foods as she aged through a battle of cancer, but realized she better stick to the basics for nutrition sake and digestive warfare sake as well. 🙂 Much like a child wants only “white” food or sweets. Sorry to rant, but I am honestly only well intentioned and your site is so far reaching and well informed that perhaps you can start something larger with this new attitude and really do some changes in parents thinking instead of just a quick label to picky. I remember as a child having my preferences, ie no tuna fish sandwiches and still to this day do not like them. Am I picky, far from it I love all food, but choose not to eat that one thing, far from picky.

  9. For my one year old son I often make quesadillas. For lunch he’ll have a ham and cheese quesadilla or if we’re having a salad I will chop it all up and make that into a quesadilla. It’s amazing how many things you can turn into quesadillas. 🙂 He’s still having trouble eating with a spoon so this way I can turn some of those more difficult meals to eat into finger foods. I also find that he will eat things in this form far better then if it was all chopped up laying in front of him.. such as all the veggies in the salad. 🙂

  10. Eggs are our go-to meal for picky and non-picky eaters alike!
    .-= Jan (Family Bites)’s last blog: The "Parisian Picnic" – Nine Yummy Things to Platter Up =-.

  11. These look yummy! I actually made chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese tonight (I had never made nuggets before) and my daughter kept sighing blissfully and saying, “Delicious, Mama. Delicious…” It was nice to hear such high praise! 🙂 I will definitely try these soon!
    .-= Katie ~ Simple Organic’s last blog: How to Make and Use Cloth Wipes =-.

  12. Ashley, with CWDkids says

    THANK YOU! I cannot wait to try this recipe out with my picky eaters.

    Have a great weekend:)

    Ashley, with CWDkids

  13. Oh, I had one of those. Child lived on bread and noodles for a good 13 years. We gave up feeding her; watching her scrape all the wonderful home-grown veggies out of the lasagna and just eat the noodles just made bunny rabbits cry, let alone the cook.

    You can use your chicken finger breading to make fishsticks that are edible to adults. Call them fish sticks so the kid can’t figure out that they’re real food. You have to use a dense, easily-boneable fish like salmon, tuna, or tilapia.
    .-= Xan’s last blog: How to eat sustainably =-.

  14. I have an odd question… where did you get the oven-safe rack? I have cooling racks, but I’m pretty sure they can’t go in the oven.

    .-= Angela Smith’s last blog: Beware of Promotional Periods… and the value of sleeping on it! =-.

  15. I’ve been looking at my first box of panko bread crumbs (really, my first one) wondering what to try with them. Since chicken strips are a favorite with my kids it looks like I’ve found a winner here. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= [email protected]’s last blog: The Power Wheels Harley Davidson Rocks! =-.

  16. Thank you! These are delicious and were a hit with my 18-month-old and 35-year-old kids :). But how did you get yours so golden brown? Mine were light brown pale, even when the chicken was a bit over done.

    Thanks again!

  17. We love it with honey.
    Why not to add some grounded flaxseed at the corn flake and panko. Very healthy.

  18. Hi, I live overseas and I don’t have access to panko bread. Can you give me an idea of what an appropriate substitution would be? Thanks a lot!

  19. You can use regular bread crumbs just as well. Or better yet make your own by whizzing day old dry bread in the food processor. the coarser the better for these chicken strips.

  20. I seen above that you can freeze these once they are made. To clarify. Would I thaw them and then bake for 8-10 minutes?
    I’m excited to try them. I thought I’d make a batch for now and one for the freezer. Thanks so much!

  21. Pretty bland, but good w bbq sauce. Mine took way longer to cook than just 8-10 minutes. More like 25-30 min.

  22. I just made these and my picky toddler who lives off of secretly supplemented foods, (pumpkin pancakes, sneaky veggie muffins, ect) just ate them with hardly any hesitation! I’m so happy to have a new food in our small repertoire. One that doesn’t take all day to make or me being sneaky! Thank you!

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