Dreaming of Summer and Indian Lake

February 24th, 2009

Indian Lake is a scene
You should make with your little one
Keep it in mind if you’re looking to find
a place in the summer sun — The Cowsill’s Lyrics
Growing up in Southwestern Michigan was magical in so many ways. This part of the state has beautiful lakes, apple orchards, and tree-lined back roads, where as teenagers we got into all kinds of mischief. As children, one of the things my brother and I enjoyed was going to Indian Lake with our parents. We would pack our towels and blankets and a change of clothes and head out in Dad’s jeep for a day of fun. Indian Lake was probably only 15 miles from our home, but it seemed to take forever to get there. The entrance was marked by a large totem pole and we wound down a hill to the lake. The shore of the lake had a large expanse of lawn and we would claim our spot with the blanket and spend the day swimming and playing on the swings. But the highlight of the day was dinner in the lodge. After changing into dry clothes, we would enter the dining room and find a table overlooking the lake and study the menu. There really wasn’t any need to do that because we always got the same thing – Chicken in a Basket – a simple meal of fried chicken and french fries served in a red plastic basket. It was our favorite food and the perfect end to a warm summer day.
My Mother and Grandmother made delicious fried chicken, but over the years Mom got tired of dealing with the mess it made in the kitchen. One of her specialties then became oven fried chicken strips. This recipe is loved to this day by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren alike. It is a simple recipe and I have seen it on other blogs and in magazines, but it reminds me of Mom and Dad and the special days of youthful innocence on Indian Lake.


3 Boneless Chicken Breasts
6 to 8 Tbls Butter, melted
1 to 1 1/2 cups dried beadcrumbs ( I used Panko crumbs )
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each chicken breast into approximately 6 strips. Dip each strip into melted butter in one bowl and then the dried breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese mixture in another bowl. Place the strips, well spaced on a baking sheet. To set the crumbs, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for at least one half hour. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, turning once until the strips are golden brown. Serve with dipping sauce of your choice.

7 responses to “Dreaming of Summer and Indian Lake”

  1. Aren’t panko bread crumbs wonderful? So much easier than making your own bread crumbs. I asked my 96 year old father-in-law if he still made his own crumbs and he said, “No, I panko now.” So, now we panko too.

  2. Penny says:

    You are right, Sam. They are crunchier too.

  3. Kristen K says:

    Penny – we made these last week, and Michael said the dinner brought back a lot of memories. I’ve added your blog to my sources of inspiration each week for our dinner menus! Thanks so much, and keep up the great work!

  4. Penny says:

    Kristen- Thank YOU! You are the best DIL I could ever hope for. Love to my Best Son and Rachel Roo! Miss you guys.

  5. I’ll admit when I made these it was with Italian breadcrumbs instead of the Panko… I didn’t know the difference. They were good but I knew something was missing. I’m going to make these again with the right ones!

    Love and Miss you too… come visit!

  6. Penny says:

    Maybe we can make them together over Easter. Rachel could help us roll them in Panko.
    Love, Mom

  7. Kristen K says:

    We’re making them again tonight – this time with Panko! We can definitely do them again at Easter… we’re really looking forward to seeing you guys soon!

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