Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken - sweetheatchefs.com

With my new-found mission to a better healthier lifestyle, that rules out my love of frying and eating fried foods. After all , that is what got me where I was. Moderation is key, but having a good defense is the best offense! Meaning, I need a ton of good go to recipes that feel indulgent but aren’t. That way I can trick my body (and mind) into thinking I am eating things I shouldn’t be but am able to without regret and guilt. I initially founded this recipe with my daughter Jasmine as we were in final competition mode on the Rachael Ray vs. Guy Fieri cooking show. Our mission, was to cook the best chicken cutlet, which we did cuz we WON! Any who, that version was pan-fried and this one is low-calorie baked chicken tenders. Same great taste, without that pesky guilt I was talking about earlier 😀 Click here for the original version of the deliciousness!

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken 4

This version was obviously thought up since I am now eating healthier, but also was inspired by a secret ingredient swap. Some blogger pals got paired up and had to send the other one something that represented their state. I received this jar of golden deliciousness! Sweet & Spicy Stone Ground Mustard. As soon as I saw the jar I opened it, smelled it tasted it, smelled it tasted it and fell in ~love~

This jar came from Mishmawshandotherthings.

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken 3

INGREDIENTS

8 chicken tenderloin breasts
1/4 cup golden deliciousness aka Raye’s Sweet & Spicy Stone Ground Mustard
2 cups pretzels, ground semi fine (salted or non salted per your preference) I use the matchstick kind and pulse them in the food processor until I get the consistency I like.
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
salt/pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS –  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  1. Using a sheet pan, line the bottom with foil, and top with a bakers wire cooling rack. Spray rack with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl add mustard and chicken. Mix together so chicken is well coated. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor pulse the pretzels and Parmesan cheese until desired consistency. I like mine chunkier to be able to taste the pretzels. Add pepper to taste (and salt if using unsalted pretzels)
  4. Add the pretzel coating to a bowl and take 1 chicken strip at a time and coat with it.
  5. Place the pretzel crusted chicken tender on the baking rack and repeat until all chicken is coated. Be sure to discard leftover mustard and pretzel mixture as you can’t re-use it do to be contaminated with raw chicken.
  6. Drizzle olive oil over the tops of the chicken strips. You can use non stick spray for this too.
  7. Bake chicken for 15 – 20 minutes or until cooked through. You will want to turn chicken over 1/2 way through and drizzle with olive oil to crisp both sides.
  8. Serve with Honey Mustard Dipper Sauce and sliced scallions!

Baked Pretzel Crusted Chicken - sweetheatchefs.com

 

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Crunchy Quinoa Chicken Strips

Quin, who? Quinoa! I know, it’s a weird word, but a delicious whole grain which is really considered a SEED! At any rate, I try to get my family to eat different foods to heighten their pallets, if they know about it, likely they won’t try it! If I tell them about it AFTER they have tried it sometimes the result is better. But most importantly if I disguise it or hide it, they never know and I know they are getting good nutrition and their pallets are being exposed to new foods. Quinoa is a bland grain which is good because you can add to it whatever you want sweet or savory. It is very versatile this way. In order to disguise it using my trickery methods for my family I decide to encrust in on some chicken strips. Yet, that wasn’t enough nutrition for me in this meal. I had to take it 1 step further. Normally when you make any type of cutlets you dip in flour dip in egg, then dip in breading. I decided to add some pureed veggies to my egg mixture instead of just using an egg. Remember the ends of asparagus you throw away? I keep them in the freezer for experimentation… experimentation’s such as this! I used them to create a pesto that will go on top of the finished dish and can be used in helping the quinoa stick to the chicken. Getting those extra nutrients into my kids bellahs!  Yes it is doable…and here is how!

PESTO INGREDIENTS
½ c fresh basil
2 cloves minced garlic cloves
¼ c olive oil, good quality (may require more depending on consistency, add more or less as needed)
2 asparagus stem bundles
Juice of ½ a lime plus zest
1 handful frozen peas
¼ c parmesan cheese
¼ c. toasted whole pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste

PESTO DIRECTIONS
Mix all ingredients together in a food processor until a smooth consistency. Taste test before continuing, you may need to add more olive oil or salt and pepper.

CHICKEN INGREDIENTS
4 chicken breast halves, sliced into strips and pounded thin
1 1/4 cups quinoa
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
¼ c Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
2 T garlic powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon paprika
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste

CHICKEN DIRECTIONS
1. Place quinoa in a sauce pan with the chicken stock, salt/pepper, and cumin, and bring to a boil. 

2. Cover and simmer over medium low for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Cook 1-2 more minutes uncovered, stirring, until quinoa starts to stick to the pan. 

3. Remove quinoa from heat and spread out in a thin coat on a plate to cool.

4. Place the flour, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, s/p (if using), and paprika in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle over cooled quinoa 4 T at a time as you coat the chicken pieces adding more to the dish. I do it this way so I can reserve the flour mixture for later use. Once it touches the raw chicken, you cannot reuse it.

5. Beat  1 egg and add ½ cup pesto mixture and place in another shallow bowl together. 

6. Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. 

7. Season the chicken pieces lightly with s/p. Dredge each piece of chicken first in the pesto/egg mixture, then in the flour/quinoa mixture patting the quinoa onto the chicken to coat.  NOTE: this is a bit of an acquired technique. If quinoa falls off, you are not alone. I find it best to hole the chicken tender in my left hand and press the quinoa firmly onto it. Add it immediately to the heated oiled pan. Once it is in place, LEAVE it until time to turn.

8. Place as many chicken pieces that will fit into the skillet and cook, turning once carefully with a spatula, about 4 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through.  NOTE: You need to use a spatula, the quinoa tends to stick and if you use a different utensil, you will take the coating off the chicken.

9. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding a little more olive oil to the skillet as necessary. 

10. Serve warm and drizzle with additional pesto on top

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Good quality chicken stock or broth works great in recipes

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Stock being added to quinoa

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cooling quinoa

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asparagus stems un-thawing

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pesto ingredients in food processor

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DON’T FORGET THE LIME!

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Pesto and egg mix

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quinoa and flour mix

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chicken strips cooling

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Pretzel Crusted Chicken Cutlet

INGREDIENTS

4 Chicken Cutlets
2 c. Pretzles
1 c. Parmesan Cheese
1/2 c. Bread Crumbs (see recipe)
Salt/Pepper (to taste)
1 Egg
1 c. Flour
4 T. Extra Virgil Olive Oil

Hot Wing Sauce:
1/4 c. Butter
1/4 c. Tabasco Hot Sauce
Melt butter and add Tabasco sauce. Keep warm while serving for best results.

Honey Mustard Sauce:
1/4 c. Mustard
2 T. Mayonaise
1/2 c. Honey
In bowl combine mustard and Mayonaise, add honey and whisk until combined.

DIRECTIONS
Pound chicken cutles out to a thin consitency. In food processor combine pretzels, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and salt/pepper. Grind mixture until a course ground mixture forms.  Add olive oil to frying pan and heat on medium. Place flour in 1 dish, egg in another dish, and the pretzel mixture in the third dish. Dip 1 cutlet in to flour mixture coating both sizes liberally, then dip in egg mixture coating both sides, lastly dip i n pretzel mixure coating both sides. Add cutlet to pan and repeat steps above with remaining cutlets. Cook cutlets until thouroughly cooked through, about 5-6 minutes per side depending on thickness of cutlet.