by Michel Van Devender

It’s a new week and we’re coming off of a beautiful May weekend. The weather in Charlotte has been a little on the cooler side with zero humidity… highs in the 70s and lows in the high 50s, low 60s, perfect in my opinion. We try to savor every moment of the mild spring weather as it usually turns hot and humid quickly here in the south.

I haven’t posted many recipes lately. Honestly, I feel like I lost my cooking mojo during the pandemic. We did have our April birthday palooza cake baking blitz, but otherwise, my love for cooking has been on a hiatus. I’m trapped in a motivation lull. With everyone home more (perhaps too much), I’ve gotten lost in the kitchen grind of breakfast, lunch and dinner, breakfast, lunch and dinner, breakfast, lunch and dinner… add in the snacks and all of the clean up and you get the idea. Cooking and food prep has turned into a total grind and sucked the joy out of what I usually enjoy. And if one more person asks me, “What’s for dinner?” – like I’m the primary and only food source, I may seriously move. So, I’ve taken a much needed break from my head chef position in the Van Devender house. In an effort to keep everyone fed, we’ve tried Hungry Root, Blue Apron and The Green Chef. And by the way, those get old fast. We’ve gotten more take out. We’ve gotten more precooked meals. We’ve eaten more convenience foods and thrown together meals. My husband has stepped up on the cooking front. We’ve made it work, and it’s all good. 

My youngest son has been requesting these chicken sandwiches for months now. We used to make them pretty frequently to satisfy our fried chicken sandwich cravings (and that’s a serious thing in our house). His cute little face got to me, and I finally had to say yes! This is a recipe from the Food Babe and is her cleaner version of the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich. They can be made gluten and/or dairy free. These get five stars in our house and hope they will be a winner for you too. Crossing my fingers for a big beam of renewed inspiration and creativity in our kitchen, or maybe it will just come in the form of special requests from cute little faces!



Serves: 6
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


  • 3 chicken breasts, split (2 lbs.)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice
  • 1 cup pickle juice
  • 12 pickle slices
  • 3 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 cup flour of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • olive oil or coconut oil
  • 4 hamburger buns of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Split chicken breasts in half and pound each with meat mallet.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt, pepper and paprika (1/2 teaspoon spread out over the 6).
  3. Add pickle juice and marinade in refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  5. Generously spray or coat wire rack of cooking pan with olive oil or coconut oil.
  6. Place pickle slices in vinegar and allow to sit while preparing  chicken.
  7. In shallow dish, combine and stir flour, powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon paprika, dry mustard and baking soda. Set aside.
  8. In another shallow dish, whisk together egg and almond milk.
  9. Remove chicken from marinade.
  10. Dip one piece of chicken at a time in milk bath, ensuring both sides are wet.
  11. Dredge each piece of chicken in flour mixture, coating both sides. Place chicken pieces on wire rack with pan on bottom.
  12. Spray both sides of flour coated chicken with olive or coconut oil.
  13. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Turn each piece of chicken and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Chicken should be completely cooked and crispy after 25-30 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
  15. While chicken rests, butter buns and toast in the oven for 3-5 minutes.
  16. Take buns out of oven and place a piece of chicken on each.
  17. Top with pickles, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato or any other toppings you like.
  18. Enjoy!


We like to serve with broccoli or some other vegetable. Regular or sweet potato fries are a nice addition too. In true Chick-fil-A style, we also sometimes make coleslaw as a side.

The cute little face... He finally got his homemade chicken sandwich!

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