Southern-Style Specials

Well, as the weather starts to change in Southern California – from 80º+ to the mid-60s – so does the menu at the Diner.

We started off the week with Texas Chili on the menu, perfect for watching Sunday Night Football. This is a chunky, beefy chili which we added beans too – white and chili. I just need some beans in my chili.

Next was my first attempt at chicken fried. I have always read “chicken fried steak” on menus and been very confused by that. What is it? Chicken or steak? So now with Paula Deen’s help I have figured it out. It’s a flat steak coated and fried like chicken.

Paula’s recipe was actually Chicken Fried Chicken, which sounded much better to me. I got all ready to fix the chicken breasts when I thought “HH does not prefer a big chicken breast on his plate.” Chicken breast incorporated in pieces, or stuff is okay but not just the breast. So I stopped and put the menu on hold for a night.

The next morning I went out, got some chicken thighs and proceeded with Chicken Fried Chicken that Night.

Part of my on-going anxiety of fried chicken is that I am NEVER going to do it as well as HH’s Mom or sister, they have been fixing it forever and I have not.

Paula’s recipe called for a coating that includes soaking in buttermilk and egg and then dipping in flour and crumbled saltine crackers.

I started with the thighs, then the breasts. The thighs turned out marginal – just barely cooked through and the outside over cooked. The boneless breasts, on the other hand, turned out great! A quick fry on either side to golden, and because they were pounded out they cooked fast and remained moist.

HH tasted both, and liked the breasts! Since they are coated and fried, it makes the big hunk of chicken breast okay!

Maybe MY fried chicken will be the Chicken Fried Chicken boneless breasts. Maybe I don’t have to do fried chicken like HH’s Mom and sister. Maybe he can look forward to having their fried chicken occasionally, and when we have fried chicken at the Diner, it’s Chicken Fried Chicken. I can do that!

Here’s Paula’s Recipe:

Chicken Fried Chicken
Paul Deen Magazine – July/August 2010
2/3 cup whole buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 sleeves saltine crackers, crushed
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp seasoned salt
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2” thickness
Vegetable oil for frying

In a shallow dish, wisk together buttermilk and eggs.

In a separate shallow dish, combine crushed crackers, flour and seasoned salt.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack over baking sheet.

Dip chicken in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip off. Dredge in cracker mixture to coast. Place chicken on prepared cooling rack, and let stand for 20 minutes to set crust. (Try not to freak out about having the raw chicken sit out for 20 minutes; I didn’t like it but no one got sick, so it’s okay.)

In a large skillet, pour oil to a depth of ½”. Heat oil over medium-high heat at 360º.

Fry chicken, in batches if necessary, for 4 – 6 minutes per side or until chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Set chicken on a clean cooling rack, and keep warm.



  1. That looks really good. I think I will try that. Another way to get chicken instead of beef on the table for GUB. (my grandkids nickname for "Great Uncle Bill". My sister is GAC.

  2. Although I have a hard time with fried because of the oil, this is only a few minutes on either side not 45 - 60 minutes. So not NEARLY as much oil being absorbed, yet still delicious!

  3. Just thinking how you would journal the ravioli process--filling, pasta, rolling and finally making the gravy (not sauce) to cover.

    Anytime you want to cover the process, let me know.

  4. Wow! I had a invitation from LL also, now from Chef Don! I need to figure out how to make this work, if not this year - next!