Monday, January 14, 2013

Creative Craving Cures - New Orleans Chicken Tenders

So here's another solution to one of those fried food cravings that I work so hard to triumph over. While I can't claim my baked buffalo tenders are a perfect substitute to the deep fried version, they do hit the spot.

The inspiration for the basic flavor profile of my tenders is one that I borrowed from The Friendly Toast, a great, quirky breakfast spot with locations in Cambridge, MA and Portsmouth, NH. They have a side dish called New Orleans Fries that are absolutely to die for. Take a platter of sweet potato fries, douse them with hot sauce and brown sugar and add some sour cream on the side for dipping and in my humble opinion, you've created a really interesting, balanced flavor combination that just works. While I've also recreated the flavors with baked sweet potatoes at home, I wanted to take it a step farther and use them on a protein. I've also managed to lighten things up a bit with a few ingredient exchanges making it an overall more health conscious option.

New Orleans Chicken Tenders

1 lb of cleaned, boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins
3 tablespoons of light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of Splenda brown sugar blend
1 tablespoon (or adjust to taste) tabasco sauce
1/2 cup cornflakes
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon low fat milk
2 teaspoons of ranch dressing spice mix

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken tenderloins, mayonaise, brown sugar and tabasco sauce and mix until well combined
- Allow the chicken to marinate for about 15 minutes
- In a plastic bag (I reuse vegetable bags from the market but a ziploc will also work) crush your cornflakes until they have a consistency slightly bigger than the panko
- Add panko, paprika, granulated garlic, salt and pepper to the cornflakes and shake well until all the ingredients are incorporated
- Coat each chicken tender in the breading mixture and place on a wire rack inside of a rimmed baking sheet, allowing about 1/2 inch of space between tenders
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature of each tender reaches 165 degrees
- Serve with Greek yogurt blended with milk and ranch dressing spices for dipping

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