Friday, August 20, 2010

Baked Chicken Tenders and Basil Aioli

I love when you can take something that's typically not very healthy and turn it around. Chicken tenders are notorious for being high in calories and fat at fast-food restaurants. However, baking the chicken and substituting whole wheat breadcrumbs and flour (which adds complex carbohydrates and ups the fiber and protein to this dish) are great healthy fixes. This recipe could be great for families; I served the chicken tenders with aioli and marinara for dipping, whole wheat pasta and sauteed zucchini. Delicious! I've also served these tenders with a variety of sauces - barbeque, honey mustard (roughly a 2 to 1 ratio of mustard to honey and then adjust to taste), and buffalo wing sauce (roughly a ratio of 1 to 1 of hot sauce to butter and then add more hot sauce to increase heat to taste). There are so many possibilities out there!

The basil aioli ended up being a surprise hit! I used nonfat greek yogurt instead of mayo to make the recipe both higher in protein and lower in fat. It made it from an indulgent dip to a healthy (but indulgent-tasting) dip. It would be excellent to serve with crudites as well.

Baked Chicken Tenders

Taken From: Love & Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or breast tenders
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat panko breadcrumbs (you could also use store-bought whole wheat breadcrumbs OR grind up whole wheat bread in the food processor)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • Cooking spray
-Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with foil and lightly spraying with cooking spray. Set aside.
-In a small bowl or shallow dish, season the flour with salt and black pepper, and lightly beat the eggs in a second shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, combine panko breadcrumbs with basil, garlic, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
-If using chicken breasts, prepare by putting one breast in between two layers of plastic wrap. Pound to an even thickness of approximately 1/2″. Remove plastic and slice into strips.
-Dredge tenders in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess flour. Dip the floured chicken tenders into the egg and then coat the chicken tenders with the breadcrumb mixture. Arrange on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strips. Spray tenders on rack with cooking spray (this helps them crisp in the oven).
-Bake chicken tenders for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown, flipping once part way through the cook time.
-Serve with basil aioli (recipe below), marinara sauce or honey mustard.

Basil Aioli
A great substitute for ranch dressing! I'll also be using this recipe to serve with cut vegetables in the future.
Taken from: Love & Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (or you could use low-fat)
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
-Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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