This Mother's Day, take Mom on a picnic

Gretchen McKay, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Entertaining

Serves 6.

— Gretchen McKay


PG tested

Chicken fingers are simple to make, transport well and are finger ready. In short, a perfect picnic food. I used gluten-free panko. This recipe includes honey-mustard sauce, but ranch dressing, barbecue or hot sauces and ketchup are equally good for dipping.

For chicken

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 pound chicken tenders

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten

2/3 cup panko-style breadcrumbs

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, parsley, chives or rosemary

Vegetable oil for frying

For honey mustard sauce

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the chicken, in large bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauce. Add chicken tenders and allow to soak for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make mustard sauce by whisking ingredients in a small bowl until well combined; set aside.

Add flour to one bowl and the beaten eggs to another. In third large bowl, combine breadcrumbs, grated cheese, salt, pepper and fresh herbs.

Remove chicken tenders from buttermilk and shake off excess liquid. Dredge one at a time in the flour, shaking off the excess until just a light coating remains. Next, dip the chicken in the egg mixture and turn to coat evenly, letting any excess egg drip off. Finally, dredge the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, turning a few times to coat well. Set breaded chicken on a plate and repeat until all of the chicken breasts are breaded.

In large Dutch oven or frying pan, heat 2 inches of oil on medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees. Fry the chicken in small batches until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels or cooling rack set over a baking sheet.

Serve warm or at room temperature with mustard dipping sauce.


— Gretchen McKay


PG tested

These ultra-fudgy brownies can be made three days ahead and don’t require any special ingredients, even though they’re gluten-free. Instant coffee deepens the flavor.

For swirl

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For brownies

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon instant coffee or espresso powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs, room temperature

Make swirl: Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese and sugar in bowl until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Make brownies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter baking pan and line with 2 overlapping layers of parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Butter parchment.

Whisk cornstarch, cocoa powder, coffee and salt in small bowl.

Combine chocolate and 6 tablespoons butter in large heatproof bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until butter and chocolate are melted and smooth. Remove from heat, then stir in sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, then whisk in cornstarch mixture until smooth.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Dollop cream cheese mixture over batter, then swirl into batter with a knife or spatula.

Bake brownies until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely. Using parchment overhang, transfer brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 pieces.

Makes 16 brownies.

— epicurious.com