Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Skinny Nut Crusted Chicken Strips

8-10 servings
Recipe by Marla at
Adapted and Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen

Instead of fast food or school cafeteria chicken nuggets, make these with your kids. They’ll enjoy the being in the kitchen with you and you’ll feel better knowing that they’re going to get a much healthier version of this popular kid food because these made with lean chicken breasts and coated with nutritious nuts. Kids love finger foods, especially the kinds that they can dip. My husband and I actually liked these better when they were cold or at room temperature, so these will be perfect for the lunch box. Here I’ve packed my Easy Lunch Box with Skinny Nut Crusted Chicken Strips with ketchup for dipping, baby spinach, fresh tomatoes, a slice of whole wheat toast, pineapple chunks and ½ of a chocolate brownie Clif bar. All of these ingredients are available at Lost River Market & Deli.

Cooking spray
2 to 2.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips or nuggets
1 cup pecans, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts (If using almonds or hazelnuts, remove the skins.**)
1 clove garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon dried parsley or oregano or marjoram
½ teaspoon smoked or plain sweet paprika
2 teaspoons dried mustard
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup whole wheat flour or garbanzo flour
2 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 350˚F with rack in the middle of the oven.
Line a baking sheet with foil. Place a wire rack in center of baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray.
Pulse the nuts along with the garlic in a food processor until they are finely ground. (Careful not to over process as they will turn into nut butter!)
Combine flour, nut meal with garlic, salt, pepper and spices in a paper bag.
In a bowl, whisk egg whites.
Place the chicken strips in egg whites, let the excess drip off.
Put a few chicken strips in the bag. Shake the bag until the strips are coated with the crumb mixture. Continue with this step until all chicken strips are coated.
Lay strips down in a single layer on the rack.
Lightly spray the chicken strips.
Bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes, until cooked through.
Remove the chicken strips with tongs.

Serve 2 to 3 chicken strips per person. Provide a small dollop of Local Foods Ketchup, pizza sauce, salsa, barbecue sauce, hot sauce or sweet chili sauce for dipping. These can also be served on your favorite salad. Make a wrap with a whole wheat tortilla, baby spinach and salsa or BBQ sauce.

**To remove skin from hazelnuts, spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 275 F for about 15 minutes until the skins begin to break. Roll in a clean tea towel, let rest for 10 minutes, and then gently rub back and forth to remove skins. Some bits of the skin may remain.

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