Cooking in the Time of COVID: Southern fried chicken

Wisdom Warner , UTSA Writing Program & Honors College Cooking and Writing Class

Welcome to Cooking in the Time of COVID!

This column is produced by students in UTSA’s Writing Program and Honors College course Cook, Eat, Write, and Repeat. This column includes recipes, cultural and nutritional facts, and tips and tricks for cooking. Our recipes are ethnic and simple for college students cooking on a budget or in a time crunch. All recipes have been kitchen tested and include substitutes for students with special dietary needs. 

Our cooking information can be found on several platforms; feel free to check out our Instagram page @cook_eat_write_repeat, read about us in the Honors College’s Monday Messages emails and view our step-by-step instructional videos for our recipes on The Paisano website under multimedia. This column will be coming out with new content each week, so look for updates every Tuesday and Friday.


Southern Fried Chicken – Recipe provided by UTSA Honors College student Wisdom Warner

Origin: The Scottish were hooked on frying chicken since the Middle Ages because they had a preference for food that had been cooked in fat rather than boiled like the English did. Additionally, fried food was cheaper and quicker to make; chickens were also easier to catch and cooked faster than other meats such as beef.

How it came to be: The stereotype that African Americans love fried chicken does not make sense knowing that the dish originated from Scotland. African Americans integrated fried chicken into their lives when Scottish immigrants came to the U.S. The stereotype most likely came to be between the 18th and 19th centuries when African American slaves relied on fried chicken for nourishment. Frying chicken allowed slaves to use as much of their chicken leftovers as they could before they’d have to butcher another. Lastly, since most of slavery occurred in the South, the particular method of frying food mostly took place in the South as well.

Interesting Facts: Fried chicken used to be reserved for special occasions by African Americans due to the length of time it took to make and the relative scarcity of spring chickens. The dish became far more commonplace after World War II when the modern broiler industry, invented in the 1920s, took off alongside chicken factories in the 1960s.

LaToya’s Southern Oven Fried Chicken (Gluten-Free Option included)

Dish History: This dish comes from a small city called Danville, Virginia. My best friend, LaToya Tarpley-Hubbard, would always make me this chicken. After she was murdered, I wanted to keep her memory alive by introducing her southern fried chicken to others, just with a healthier twist. Latoya’s chicken will forever be a part of my main dishes.

Prep Time: 10 minutes   Cook Time: 20 minutes   Total Time: 30 minutes   Servings: 2


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of salt (Lawry’s Seasoning Salt can be an alternative)
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups of Frosted Flakes for a sweet taste or Ritz Crackers for a savory taste, crushed 
  • Gluten-Free Option:
  • Cheerios or multigrain rice crackers 
  • 1 ½ cups of whole-grain or all-purpose flour
  •  Almond flour
  • Spray can of avocado, canola or olive oil 


  1. Pour flour in one bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs. In a third bowl, combine frosted flakes, garlic, salt and black pepper.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with salt.
  3. Dip chicken tenders into flour, then into eggs; roll in frosted flake mixture to coat.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F and spray oil on a baking pan.
  5. Arrange chicken strips onto the baking pan and spray oil on top of the chicken. Bake for 20 minutes or until nicely golden.
  6. Serve immediately with a side dish and dipping sauce of your choice.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Put aluminum foil onto the baking pan for easy cleanup.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken (165°F). 
  • If the chicken tenders start to look dry while cooking, spray a little oil on them to add moisture.
LaToya’s Oven Fried Chicken prepared with roasted vegetables

Check out this recipe for the roasted vegetables pictured with LaToya’s Oven Fried Chicken 

Prep Time: 10 minutes   Cook Time: 35-40 minutes   Total time: 50 minutes   Servings: 3-4


  • ½ head of cauliflower
  • 1 sweet potato
  • ½ red onion 
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: fresh rosemary or thyme 


  1. Set oven temperature to 450°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil. 
  3. Cut all veggies into bite-sized pieces and place into a big bowl or Ziplock bag. The onion can be cut to the width of your finger to have a bigger bite. 
  4. Add olive oil, salt, pepper and additional herbs (if using) and toss to coat. 
  5. Transfer veggies onto the baking sheet, making sure the veggies are arranged in a single layer for even roasting.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, stir veggies around and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until veggies are tender. Check periodically as cooking times may vary depending on how small the veggies are cut.

Veggies can be substituted with other veggies you have on hand or may like better (Brussels sprouts, bell pepper, carrots, mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus, etc. — get colorful!)

Tips and Tricks:

  • Pre-cut veggies beforehand. 
  • Make more and use leftovers for other dishes and meals.
  • Frozen veggies may be used. Make sure to spray them with olive oil.
Photo courtesy of UTSA Writing Program & Honors College cooking and writing class

If you loved this recipe, be sure to check out the step-by-step video provided by The Paisano’s Multimedia team.