This recipe is adapted from the one on page 265 of The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. I made the original recipe for years because it was such a family favorite. When we gave up gluten, adapting this recipe was one of my highest priorities. I tried a lot of different versions, and this is the one we’ve stuck with since 2008.
I make it with cornflake crumbs because I found a store-brand version of cornflakes at a local store that is sweetened with sugar instead of malt (which contains gluten). I’ve also made it with Rice Chex or Corn Chex crumbs and they taste good used alone or in combination with one another. Cornflakes are not whole grain, but Rice Chex and Corn Chex are mostly whole grain. I use brown rice flour, for flavor and nutrition, although I have to white rice flour and it works well too. I’ve also used blends of gluten-free flour and while they work, they cost more and plain brown rice flour seems to taste the best to me. If you’re not avoiding gluten then whole wheat flour works fine too.
The original recipe was made with 1/4-cup of salt. I’ve reduced it to 1-tablespoon so it will fit into the DASH diet, and to be honest, the flavor was barely affected. To make up for the lack of salt I added a lot more seasonings. My family prefers it this way. The finished chicken is a little spicy, but we like that. If you prefer a more mild flavor, reduce the black pepper to 1-tablespoon and the ground red pepper to 1-teaspoon. The vegetable oil may seem like an odd addition, but we’ve found that it makes the coating stick to the chicken better and makes the cooked chicken more tender.
I usually use Shaky Bake to coat boneless, skinless chicken breasts. My local Walmart sells large packages of chicken breasts for between $2 and $2.20 a pound. The breasts are usually large, often weighing in at a pound a piece, and they have globules of fat attached. I cut off the fat with a sharp knife and then cut the breasts into serving-size pieces or strips. It’s easiest to cut when still partially frozen, but cutting it when thawed is not too much extra trouble.
If you find a sale on chicken thighs or legs, they are also good cooked this way, as are that old budget-favorite–chicken leg quarters. If you’re watching your fat and cholesterol, then be sure to remove the skin before use. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are divine coated with Shaky Bake.
This recipe is low in fat, low in sodium, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, convenient, and family friendly. It uses WIC-friendly cold cereal. Plus it tastes pretty darn good.
Gluten Free Shake-and-Bake-Style Coating Mix
- 4 cups cornflake crumbs or Rice or Corn Chex crumbs
- 4 cups brown rice flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground red pepper
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
First make the cornflake or Chex crumbs. I process them in my foodprocessor about a 2-cups at a time. The crumbs from each batch are poured into a measuring cup and I keep going until I have a full 4-cups. After making the crumbs set them aside.
In a large bowl combine the crumbs with the remaining ingredients. Mix together the cereal, flour and seasonings first, then dribble in the oil. Stir with a fork so the oil is evenly distributed. Transfer the mixture to a resealable container. Makes about 8-1/2 cups.
If you prefer an herb flavor then reduce the black pepper to 1-tablespoon and the cayenne to 1-teaspoon. Add 1 tablespoon each Italian Seasoning and Poultry Seasoning. Proceed as directed.
Per 1/2-cup: 248 Calories; 5g Fat (16.3% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 48g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 601mg Sodium.
Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 1 Fat.
Shaky Bake Chicken
- 2/3 cup homemade Shaky Bake
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Nonstick Spray
First cut your chicken breasts into smaller pieces. You can make strips or chunks or pretty cutlets. Breasts are pretty easy to cut with a sharp knife and good cutting board. Wash the knife and board with soapy bleach water when you’re done.
Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Measure 2/3-cup of shake and bake and put it into a clean empty bag. Rice cake bags, or empty waxed paper cereal bags both work well.
Place the chicken, a couple of pieces at a time, into the bag. Twist to seal and shake until the chicken is evenly coated. Place the coated chicken on the baking sheet. Continue until all of the chicken is evenly coated with the mix.
If you have any extra Shaky Bake it may be sprinkled over the chicken in the pan or it may be discarded. Do not save it because it is now contaminated with gooey chicken juices. Toss it out immediately.
Sometimes you may find you need a little more coating mix to cover all of your chicken. In this case set aside the bag. Wash your hands thoroughly. Measure out a little more coating mix with a clean utensil. Add it to the bag. Wash your hands again (to avoid cross contamination). Put the shake and bake mix away. Continue coating your chicken. This may seem a little controlling, but raw chicken juices are frisky beings who like to travel. The method described above will help you keep them in their place. If you do get chicken juices in the big tub of shaky bake, you have to toss it out. All of it. Which is a terrible waste of time and money, but it saves the family from getting salmonella, which is even a larger waste of time and money and can be especially trying to anyone with a sluggish immune system like diabetics. So the moral of this story is: Keep the big tub of shaky bake contamination free!
Bake the chicken at 400° for about 30 minutes. Boneless nuggets cook in about 15 minutes at 425°. These are very kid friendly and a quick and easy way to make enough nuggets for a sleepover or party of scouts or AWANA’s.
This coating mix can also be used for bone in chicken pieces, pork chops or turkey cutlets if desired. Chicken with the bones cooks in about 50 minutes. Pork Chops with bones cook in about 45 to 50 minutes. Boneless chops and turkey cutlets bake in about 30 minutes.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Assuming 6 servings for 2-pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and 2/3-cup coating mix.
Per Serving: 234 Calories; 5g Fat (19.7% calories from fat); 35g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 92mg Cholesterol; 214mg Sodium.
Percentage of Calories: 20% Fat; 19% Carbohydrate; 61% Protein
Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 4 1/2 Lean Meat.
Assuming 8 servings for 2-pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and 2/3-cup coating mix.
Per Serving: 175 Calories; 4g Fat (19.7% calories from fat); 26g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 69mg Cholesterol; 160mg Sodium.
Percentage of Calories: 20% Fat; 19% Carbohydrate; 61% Protein
Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 3 1/2 Lean Meat.
Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me. Proverbs 30:8