It’s time to Sauce it Up for this week’s #SundaySupper. And with the addition of a lemony sauce, you can transform your kids’ favorite chicken fingers into a special occasion meal the whole family will love, yet is simple enough for a busy weeknight. I am sure you will all enjoy Mrs. A’s Skillet Lemon Chicken.
My mom is a good everyday cook. Granted, like I told you, she was from the “Cream of Whatever” recipe generation, so we often had her original version of Beef & Potato Skillet Supper or one of those casseroles with chicken and Stove Top Stuffing covered in Cream of Mushroom Soup. She made good spaghetti sauce, Rice-a-Roni was a staple, and Hamburger Helper sometimes made an appearance. But we always had something tasty, and never ended up in an endless rotation of cereal, Spaghetti-O’s and McDonalds. But for a special occasion, we never picked one of her recipes.
When it was my birthday, or when one of us was celebrating an achievement or occasion, more often than not, the request was for Lemon Chicken. And the recipe for Lemon Chicken? It came from a friend that she used to teach with. Well, actually from her friend’s Italian mom. There is not a drop of Italian blood in our family, but it was this meal that we wanted for celebratory dinners.
I hadn’t eaten it in ages, and was so excited to recreate it to share with my own family.
Lemon chicken starts with every kid’s favorite – chicken fingers. Maybe that is why it was a family favorite – it was kid food, just fancied up a bit.
I made mine with gluten free bread crumbs, and baked them, but feel free to use what you like, have on hand, or have the time and energy for – frozen chicken fingers (yup, the is what mom usually did), homemade fried or baked breaded chicken tenderloins, really even boneless, skinless breasts can be used if you want to keep it lighter, but it doesn’t absorb the flavor and help to thicken the sauce quite as well.
Mr’s A’s Lemon Chicken was baked in the oven, but I wanted to make it on the stove top, just to make it a little quicker and easier, in case your “special occasion” just happens to be any old Tuesday. I had to play around a bit, because the scrap of paper with the “recipe” didn’t have very exact measurements, but I like what I came up with. I did consider fancying it up with fresh herbs and maybe some white wine, but I wanted to stay true to the simplicity of the original, which really was all about the lemon flavor. The only other significant change I made was to switch from a flour-based roux to a cornstarch slurry for thickening, to make it gluten free.
I served it over brown rice, but we usually ate it over angel hair pasta or linguini. I mean, the recipe did come from an Italian mama. If you want to go the pasta route, you may want to double the sauce recipe so that you halve plenty to coat your noodles. Then be sure to sprinkle it with some parmesan cheese (which I forgot in the photos – sorry!).
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What was your favorite “special occasion” meal as a kid?
Mrs. A's Skillet Lemon Chicken
Transform everyday chicken fingers into a special occasion meal everyone will love with a simple lemony sauce that is easy enough for any night of the week.
For the Lemon Chicken
- Chicken Fingers (see recipe below, or use about 1-1 1/2 lbs of your favortie store bought or homemade breaded chicken fingers)
- 1/4 c (half a stick) unsalted butter
- 2 c low sodium chicken stock or broth
- 1 T cornstarch
- 1/2 t dried parsley
- 1/4 t dried oregano
- 1/3 c fresh lemon juice (about two lemons)
- salt and pepper
- Rice or pasta and parmesan cheese for serving (if you are using pasta, you may want to double the sauce recipe)
For the Chicken Fingers
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins (or breasts cut into thin strips)
- 1 egg
- salt & pepper
- 1 c Italian-flavored bread crumbs (I used gluten-free)
For the Lemon Chicken:
- Prepare the Chicken Fingers as per below, or according to package directions or your favorite recipe.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
- While the butter is melting, slurry the cornstarch in the chicken broth, the add to the skillet.
- Add the parsley, oregano, salt and pepper, cover and bring to a simmer.
- Add the lemon juice, then lay the chicken fingers in the sauce.
- Simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and thickened.
- Serve over rice or pasta, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
For the Chicken Fingers:
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet, and spray with oil or cooking spray.
- Crack egg into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and lightly beat with a fork.
- Add chicken to egg, and toss to coat completely.
- Place breadcrumb in a bowl, and, one at a time, coat the chicken tenderloins, and place on the rack.
- Once all of the chicken is coated, spray with oil or cooking spray.
- Bake chicken on rack for 10-12 minutes, depending on size, then flip and back for another 10-12 minutes.
I’ve got some more saucy recipes for you:
- Eggplant Parmgiana Pasta Casserole
- Almond Crusted Chicken with Cherry Balsamic Sauce
- Slow Cooker Tomato Veggie Sauce with Sausages
And here is more saucy goodness from the #SundaySupper contributors:
- Port Wine and Fig Sauce from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Jalepeno Cranberry Sauce from Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos
- Homemade Steak Sauce from Juanita’s Cocina
- Tomato Kasundi from What Smells So Good?
- Homemade Tartar Sauce from The Foodie Army Wife
- Creamy Dairyfree Mushroom Sauce from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Homemade Teriyaki Sauce from Curious Cuisiniere
- Red Wine Sauce | Molho de Vinho Tinto from Family Foodie
- Guava BBQ Sauce from Basic N Delicious
Pasta Sauces and Pastas with Sauce
- Chardonnay Seafood Sauce (with Linguine) from Country Girl in the Village
- Italian-Style Tomato Sauce from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Homemade Guiltless Alfredo Sauce from Momma’s Meals
- Sicilian Marinara Sauce from Growing Up Gabel
- Basil Pesto from Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Angel Hair Pasta with Neapolitan Sauce from Cookin’ Mimi
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta Sauce from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Lentil Marinara Pasta Sauce from Alida’s Kitchen
- Lamb Ragout from Maroc Mama
- Black Walnut Kale Pesto with Zucchini Spaghetti from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
Entreés with Sauces
- Pollo en Pipian Verde (Chicken in Green Pipian Sauce) from La Cocina de Leslie
- Chicken Tikka Masala from I Run For Wine
- Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Marsala Porcini Mushroom Sauce Over Creamy Polenta from La Bella Vita Cucina
- Garlic Mushrooms In Red Wine Sauce from Kudos Kitchen By Renee
- Jack Daniel’s Honey Barbecue Baked Wings from Chocolate Moosey
- Salmon with Homemade Caper Onion Mayonnaise from Food Lust People Love
- Chicken with Mushroom Demi-Glace from Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Mrs. A’s Skillet Lemon Chicken from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Philly Strip Steaks with Provolone Sauce and Caramelized Onions from The Texan New Yorker
- Sweet & Sour Garlic Chicken Wings from Big Bear’s Wife
- Banana Pudding Sauce from Killer Bunnies, Inc
- Raspberry Red Wine Sauce from Treats & Trinkets
- Pumpkin Applesauce from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Sauce from Daily Dish Recipes
- Slow Cooker Applesauce from Citronlimette
- Apple Cider Caramel Sauce from The Messy Baker
- Port Wine Cranberry Sauce from Webicurean
- Pumpkin Caramel Sauce from Noshing With The Nolands
Desserts with Sauces
- Sticky Toffee Pudding w/ Toffee Sauce from girlichef
- Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce (over Chocolate Rosemary Cake) from Gotta Get Baked
- Pear Tatin with Rum Caramel Sauce from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Iles Flottantes from Happy Baking Days
- Bananas Foster from MidLife Road Trip
- Baked Espresso Berry Pudding from The Urban Mrs
- Caramel Apple Sheet Cake from Pies and Plots