Sunday, December 11, 2011

Healthy Almond Chicken Fingers - Cooking for the Week

Like most people, I love crispy, salty and greasy chicken fingers. They taste delicious washed down with a beer at a ballpark. They are not, however, a healthy everyday choice. So I decided to develop a version that would be healthy, simple and have a nice crunch. This is the perfect make ahead recipe for the week because these chicken fingers will last 3-4 days in the fridge and can be used to make a whole bunch of different meals. I made a double batch, threw them in some tupperware and will be using them to top my salad for lunch tomorrow. I also make great wraps and sandwiches with these and 2 minutes in the microwave will heat them up for dinner. Taking around 30 minutes to make, these are filling, protein packed and super tasty. Once you've got a batch of these in the fridge, you don't have to worry about adding protein to your meals.

I recently discovered almond meal, in a failed attempt to make macarons (don't ask, it was a train wreck). Having bought a big bag, I was thinking through some different uses for it, aside from baking. Turns out, it is a protein rich, gluten free way to bread tasty chicken fingers! Now, I mixed it with whole wheat breadcrumbs and panko to add some texture, but you could coat these entirely with almond meal and be totally satisfied. I created a tangy spice mix to flavor the breading mixture and you can certainly add some additional spices if you like.

Full recipe after the jump!
I also spend the weekend baking a TON of cookies - I'll be posting them sometime this week. Lots of different varieties, some were smashing successes, others went right into the trash. Also, we bought Archer a Christmas sweater!!!! He did not love wearing it, but he looked so adorable.

1lb chicken breasts (or tenders) fat trimmed and cut into thin strips
1 cup almond meal (I like Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 cup whole wheat panko
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
olive oil cooking spray

Step by Step Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Grease a large cookie sheet
3. Slice chicken breast into strips, trimming all fat
4. Mix together almond meal, breadcrumbs, panko and all spices
5. In a small bowl, whisk eggs until combined
6. Dredge each chicken strip in egg mixture and then toss with breadcrumbs until coated
7. Coat all the chicken and arrange on the cookie sheet, leaves at least 1/2" of space between pieces
8. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until crumb mixture starts to brown
9. Remove and serve with dipping sauces

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At December 12, 2011 at 4:45 AM , Anonymous raquel said...

That is awesome, I can now enjoy a crispy and healthy fried chicken strips thanks

At December 12, 2011 at 5:00 AM , Blogger Jay said...

wow...looks tooooooooooo delicious..
just found your your space..
excellent recipe collection with stunning cliks..
Am yur happy follower now.;)
do stop by mine sometime..
Tasty Appetite

At December 12, 2011 at 10:33 AM , Blogger Kelly | Eat Yourself Skinny said...

These look fantastic, what a great recipe!! :)

At December 12, 2011 at 10:51 AM , Anonymous Kiri W. said...

I love almond, I bet the flavor of this is fantastic. And how great that they are lightened up, too! :) Wonderful.

At December 12, 2011 at 12:38 PM , Blogger Maggie said...

Oh my gosh, this is such a great idea! I love that they are baked and not fried and almonds are so heart healthy, this makes a great crunchy and healthy dish. Thank you for a great recipe!

At December 12, 2011 at 1:48 PM , Blogger Steph said...

Almond meal!! What a fabulous idea!! Oh man, I've got to try this asap!

At December 12, 2011 at 2:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea - and healthy too! The almond meal idea is a great idea.

At December 12, 2011 at 6:02 PM , Blogger Christine's Pantry said...

This looks wonderful... great recipe.

At December 12, 2011 at 8:06 PM , Blogger Lizzy said...

I somehow have TWO bags of almond meal, so this recipe is perfect! My kids adore chicken fingers, so this will go on our menu soon! Thanks for the inspiration, Dara!

At December 13, 2011 at 12:25 AM , Anonymous Jen at The Three Little Piglets said...

I've loved seeing some of your recipes over at Cooking Healthy for Me with Ann this past week! Thought I'd finally stop by and check out your site...

At December 13, 2011 at 3:48 AM , Anonymous Purabi Naha said...

This looks yummy and crispy! I loved the presentation and the recipe looks wonderful.

At December 13, 2011 at 10:27 PM , Blogger Kim Bee said...

I am totally making this over the Christmas break. Holy moley this looks so good. I love the dogs sweater too. I swore I would never dress up my dog but she has more clothes than I do at this point. I blame my sister who has a yorkie she passes off as a child. Lol!

At December 14, 2011 at 3:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! These look absolutely incredible! (and Archer is adorable in his sweater)!


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