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“I get to have a little taste of home, even though I’m miles away.”

As a leader, mentor, and life-long learner, Erin Rifkin takes pride in helping others become their best selves. She didn’t cook a lot growing up in Georgia, but Erin has mastered this family recipe, Southern fried chicken sandwiches and coleslaw. Watch her make her favorite dish from back home.

Erin Rifkin has many fond memories of her childhood and family while growing up in Georgia. She admits that she didn’t cook much when she was younger, but she was inspired to learn how to cook as an adult. After moving to Seattle, Erin has continued to cook some of her favorite Southern meals to remind her of home and family gatherings. Today, Erin leads the Developer Relations team at Microsoft and provides training, resources, and experiences to customers around the world. She is passionate about mentorship and shares her personal advice with others to help them shape their own career journeys.

Southern fried chicken sandwich and coleslaw
2-4 servings

For the coleslaw:
1 bag shredded tricolor cabbage (or 1/2 head cabbage, cored and shredded)
2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and grated
1 green pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced (you can use ½ green pepper if you aren’t a big pepper fan)
1 Tbsp grated or finely diced onion
1 c mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
6 Tbsp granulated sugar (or substitute Splenda)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
White pepper to taste
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp celery seeds (whole or ground)

For the fried chicken sandwich:
2 chicken breasts
1/2 c dill pickle juice
2 eggs
1/2 c panko
1/2 c bread crumbs
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp celery seeds (whole or ground)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Spray oil
Butter for buns
2 brioche buns
Dill pickle chips
Mayonnaise, ketchup, or condiments of your choice

1. To make the coleslaw, place the cabbage, carrots, green pepper, and onion into a large bowl, and set it aside. Note: When I use packaged cabbage, I chop it a little finer.

2. In another bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, and toss well to combine. Note: You may have more dressing than you need, so use as much or as little as you like to coat the coleslaw. Cover the coleslaw, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours so that the flavors meld. Stir again before serving.

3. To make the fried chicken sandwiches, trim off any fat from the chicken breasts. If the chicken breasts are massive, you may want to slice them in half horizontally or pound them flat. Place the chicken in a zip top bag or a dish, and cover it with the pickle juice. Let this marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

4. Crack the eggs into a shallow bowl, and whisk them. In another shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, panko, and seasonings.

5. Dip the chicken into the egg and then into the bread crumb mixture, shaking off any excess. Place it on a dish or a cutting board. Spray both sides of the chicken with oil.

6. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Place the chicken into the air fryer, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until the chicken is cooked through or has an internal temperature of 165°F.

7. While the chicken cooks, butter the buns, and toast them in a pan on the stove top. Then assemble the sandwiches, using pickles and whatever condiments you like.

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