Olive oil cooking spray, for spraying the baking sheet and chicken
1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
1 pinch kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 cups plain popped popcorn (recipe below)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup buttermilk, or milk
2 large eggs
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a large releasable plastic bag, combine the chicken, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. Seal and then shake and massage the bag so all the chicken pieces get coated with the seasoning. Set aside.
Popcorn recipe below. You can also use a popcorn popper.Add the popcorn to a separate large resealable plastic bag. Close the bag and, using a rolling pin, crush the popcorn into small pieces.
Set up your breading station using 3 pie pans. In the first pan, add the flour. In the second pan, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs. In the third pan, combine the popcorn, panko and paprika and stir to combine.
Working in batches, dredge the chicken pieces first in the flour, then in the buttermilk mixture and finally in the popcorn breading mixture, pressing the chicken into the breading mixture to make sure it gets completely coated. Place on the prepared baking sheet in 1 even layer. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray.
Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, flipping each piece halfway through. Serve immediately.
Paper Bag Popcorn Method:
Measure 1/4 cup popcorn kernels into a lunchbox-sized brown paper bag.
Loosely fold just the very top of the bag.
Microwave until there are more than 3 seconds between popping sounds. About 2.5 minutes. Stay near the microwave. Allow the bag to sit in the microwave for 1 minute.
Adult only: Remove bag carefully and enjoy!