This week, I thought I would share an all time favorite of both kids and adults. Chicken Tenders! This has also been a constant request by both my step-son and husband since they learned I make them. And I know we are doing the healthy eating thing but these little guys are healthy and good for the occasional treat, which you should allow yourself.
These chicken tenders aren’t your average fast food or restaurant style tenders loaded with breader and oil-soaked. Instead, their lightly breaded and fried in a mix of olive and canola oils (yes, I do make fried food occasionally. It’s so yummy and these are guilt free compared to the processed ones from the restaurants and freezer section of the stores) . I make them using chicken breasts and a whole wheat breader along with plenty of seasoning and spices to make them something special (don’t let the amount of spices scare you off, this is an easy recipe and you can change any of them up with ones you have).
I use a variety of seasonings for these and vary it up all the time, depending on the sauce I’m pairing it with. B-B-Q, honey mustard or just dipped in mashed potatoes (a weakness of mine) are all great pairings with these fun strips. I make a quick honey mustard dipping sauce by stirring together honey, Dijon mustard and olive oil mayo. I’m working on substituting yogurt for the mayo but just haven’t found the right combination for the right money mustard flavor yet, I’ll share when I do.
The biggest trick is not over cooking the chicken tenders because they will become tough. Instead, get the oil hot and fry them quick to avoid oil-logging them and over cooking. The thickness is also up to you as well and will affect the amount of cooking time. I tend to cut them at about a 1/4″ thick because it seems to be about the perfect thicknesses for ratio of breader. I really dislike when you get chicken tenders with more breader than chicken, it’s just not right.
You can double bread these, if you want more breading but you are adding extra calories. I do make more flour mix for this than needed because I hate to run out of breader before getting done. If you skip the soaking in milk, you can add the flour mix to a large bag, add the chicken and shake to coat but I’ve found the milk makes the chicken more tender.
While these little guys are fried, they are very low-fat compared to processed tenders and relatively healthy, so don’t feel guilty serving them up especially to your children who are at the age, they only eat chicken tenders. It’s okay to have a fried treat every now and then, just don’t over indulge. I pair with low-fat mashed potatoes and a veggie to finish off the meal.
Make extras and use them for lunch at work the next day by tossing them with greens for a salad or into a tortilla for a wrap. Or cut them into bite size pieces for game day.
1 1/2 chicken breasts, sliced about 1/4″ thick
1 1/3 cups of flour (all-purpose or whole wheat pastry, your choice)
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. sweet smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/3 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
3 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
milk, enough to cover sliced chicken in a bowl
canola and olive oils, enough for 1/4″ layer on bottom of pan
Slice your chicken breasts, place in a bowl and cover with milk. Set aside.
Mix together the flour and all the spices together in a bowl large enough for breading the chicken slices.
Add oil to a large skillet, over medium-high heat and bring up to simmering hot, almost smoking (you can test by dropping a couple of drops of water into the skillet. If it sizzles and pops, the oil is ready. If it sits, give it more time). Once oil is hot, dip slices of chicken in the breader, turning to completely coat. Place into the skillet. Don’t over crowd the skillet, allow room between the slices. Also use a splatter screen to keep the oil from splattering everywhere while cooking.
Cook to a golden brown on each side before removing to a platter lined with paper towels to absorb any extra oil.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauces.
More Recipes Using Chicken Tenders:
One of my favorite recipes: http://www.creative-culinary.com/2012/10/chicken-wrap-with-apple-and-dried-cranberries/