Game day! …er, uh, more like food day!
Game day food day is my favorite kind of day. You know what I mean – those Sunday afternoons, sitting around in comfies, snacking on everything under the sun because “we’re watching the game.” For 12 hundred hours. I don’t know about the rest of the football-loving world, but this epic snacking-while-watching behavior is a core part of Midwestern culture. And being a Minnesota born and raised girl with a love of SNACKZ I guess can embrace that. 👅 I’m just so cultured, you know?
As is usually the case when I rebound back to everyone’s fave white meat, I feel the need to let you all know that there are only a few ways that I like to handle a chicken situation.
Number 1: coated in tomato butter sauce and nestled into a pile of pasta.
Number 2: shredded in a creamy chicken wild rice soup – which is conveniently also great for game day.
Number 3: swimming in a lemon butter sauce with capers.
Number 4: rolled up and stuffed with a creamy spinach ricotta mixture.
But today I introduce to you Number 5 on the list of Ways That I Eat Chicken:
Spicy Popcorn Chicken Bites. 👇
What does this even mean? Popcorn? Bites? Chicken huh? Say what?
Lezz break it down. This is cross between a chicken strip 👏 and a piece of popcorn chicken 👏. And it’s a little spicy, if you want it to be.
How to choose, really? I mean, chicken strips have that awesome chicken that just pulls apart so perfectly for you, but the popcorn chicken has the adorably clever tiny-popper size, the great coating that is a little more substantial that the chicken strip, and most importantly: the ability to dip more frequently.
These Spicy Popcorn Chicken Bites have the best of both – you still have the pull-apart texture of regular chicken strips, but you also get the one-and-done pop-in-mouth functionality of the popcorn chicken.
Better yet: we’re baking these little guys. Normally I’m not a big fan of baked chicken things that are supposed to resemble FRIED chicken things. It’s just… no. That generally does not lead anywhere fast.
But today I’m doing just that because 1) I like to break my own rules, and 2) with the introduction of some Kettle Brand Chips, we get just enough natural oil and crispiness to make the chicken feel and taste borderline fried. Friends, one thing I LOVE about Kettle Brand: their chips are made without MSG or preservatives. Hallelujah. Do you know how hard it is to find flavored chips without MSG? Thank you, Kettle Brand! So with the addition of these fabulously textured chips, the breading stays on the chicken really nicely and it truly resembles the texture and of the best fried popcorn chicken.
Hi, Kettle Chips! 👋
The flour and chips make something of a crust that the chicken gets breaded in, and then suddenly you find yourself staring at a pan full of these glorious little things and wondering if you will actually have any left to share with your football friends when this is all said and done.
Of course, for me, there’s always the sauce.
This sauce that you see pictured here is going to sound really weird when I describe it, but here goes: it’s this honey mustard sauce (made in 5 minutes YAAAS) and a little bit of ketchup. Combined. Oh my gosh, I’m definitely four years old. But it’s so weirdly good and you should try it if you might have an inner four year old that needs to be dealt with sometimes.
Popcorn chicken bites!
We are living in exciting times. 😍
- 3 cups Kettle Brand Chips - I used Buffalo Bleu flavor
- 1½ cups flour
- a pinch of cayenne - about ¼ teaspoon to start, more for additional spiciness (or omit if you don't want them to be spicy)
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup half and half (milk works, too)
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- olive oil, salt, and pepper
- honey mustard dipping sauce
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Crush the chips in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add 1 cup flour and cayenne and pulse again until incorporated into an even crumb-like mixture.
- Place remaining ½ cup flour in a shallow dish.
- Whisk eggs and half and half together in a shallow dish.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Rub a baking sheet with olive oil to coat or place a wire rack on the baking sheet if you have one.
- Set up an assembly line of sorts: flour, egg mixture, kettle chip mixture. Dip each chicken piece in each bowl, moving through the assembly line and making sure it gets coated at each step - starting with flour, then egg, then crumbs. Place on the baking sheet.
- Bake chicken for 5 minutes, flip if needed, and bake another 5 minutes. I found my total time varied but generally ended up between 12-18 minutes to get the right amount of crisping and browning. These go perfectly with the honey mustard dipping sauce!
Thank you to Kettle Brand Chips for sponsoring this post!