Are you one of the many who love fried chicken from a certain fast food chain whose name sounds like Hicks Chalet? Well, if you love tender flavorful chicken covered in a slightly sweet, crispy coating, then you’ll love my chicken filet tenders — oh, and don’t forget the special sauce. It’s tangy, sweet and perfect for dipping. This dish has simply ingredients, but some that are a bit strange, like pickle juice and powdered sugar; however, they really make these tenders moist and flavorful. Make the sauce in advance or while the chicken is marinating and then the rest takes just minutes to put together. Not as quick as fast food, but definitely worth taking the time at home.

Belle’s Chicken Filet Tenders with Special Sauce

Sauce:

1⁄4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

Wet mixture:

1⁄2 cup dill pickle juice

1⁄2 cup whole milk

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder

16 chicken tenderloins, about 2 pounds

Dry mixture:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1⁄4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons chili powder

Dredge and Fry:

2 cups oil (canola or peanut)

1 egg

In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the sauce and chill. In a large zip-close plastic bag, mix together the wet ingredients. Place the chicken in the bag and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Mix together the dry ingredients and place in a shallow bowl. When the chicken is finished marinating, remove from the bag. Pour the remaining marinade into a large bowl and whisk in the egg. Heat the oil in a medium rimmed skillet to 325 degrees. Working in batches, dip each chicken tender into the egg mixture and then dredge in the flour mixture. Do this one more time and then fry until golden brown and chicken is now longer pink inside. About 5 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and keep warm while you fry the rest. Serve with the dipping sauce. (You can also air fry the chicken but it won’t be as crispy).

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of eight. She is a cookbook author and novelist. For more recipes and information, visit her website www.brendastanleybooks.com.