Graham Cracker Chicken Nuggets

Graham Cracker Chicken Nuggets, also known as “get my weirdo son to eat chicken mission.”
Graham Cracker Chicken 3 I’m reporting that the mission was a success. Any of you that know me well know this a complete feat. Noah has never liked meat of any sort except for deli meat. No chicken, burgers, pork, nothing. He does like seafood so there’s that at least. But I don’t think I’ve ever met a kid that doesn’t like chicken nuggets. I didn’t think they existed. I love chicken so much that I could eat it every day and give up all other meats. Although I would miss a good burger. And bacon. Actually, let’s not think about that. Last week I had a package of chicken and no ideas what to make with it and dinner was quickly approaching. I was scanning the pantry for ideas and thought I would just do simple chicken nuggets with breadcrumbs, but then I remember I used them all for this deliciousness. Womp womp. I figured I could find something else to coat it with instead, like cornflakes. The only cereal we had was raisin bran and fruity cherrios, no thanks. Then I saw the graham crackers that always grace our pantry. Noah would live on graham crackers spread with peanut butter if I let him. I figured this was my best chance to get him to eat the dang chicken for once. Graham Cracker Chicken 2
He saw it and immediately said yuck but the rule in our house is you have to try it. So he did and he said “hey these are actually pretty good, nom nom nom.” And then proceeded to eat 3. That’s a total success in my book and had us all dancing and cheering at the table (because crazy encouragement doesn’t hurt).

The graham crackers lend a definite sweetness to the chicken but it’s not overpowering. The outside gets crispy like a traditional chicken nuggets and they stay moist. They were perfection dipped in honey mustard. An added bonus is they take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Winner winner chicken dinner. See what I did there?
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Graham Cracker Chicken Nuggets

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
2 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil

1.Heat a skillet over medium heat. Set up a breading station (I use pie plates for this). Place flour in one dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk eggs in another dish. Place graham cracker crumbs in the last dish, season with salt and pepper.

2. Coat chicken in flour, then dip in egg then roll in graham cracker crumbs. Place on a plate until all chicken in coated.

3. Put olive oil in pan and cook chicken in a single layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden and cooked through. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, honey mustard or BBQ are especially delish.

Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings

I have always loved chicken cordon bleu but it can be a lot of work to pound out, layer, roll, bread and cook. With two wild kids running around I just don’t have time for that. So instead, I decided to skip the stuffing and rolling for a more simplified approach that still had the same flavor profile.
Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings

It starts with a breaded chicken breast that is pan fried in a bit of olive oil then spread with Dijon mustard and topped with ham and aged Swiss cheese. It’s my new favorite way to eat chicken and I haven’t stopped dreaming about it since I made it on Thursday. Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings
And what makes a simple yet fancy dinner better? Wine. Recently, I was contacted by Wine Chateau with a fun opportunity to create a recipe to pair with three different bottles of wine. Gladly, they weren’t looking for a wine expert so it was a go for me. They have two retail stores in New Jersey and a website with an enormous selection of wine and spirits. I love that the website is broken down into sections by color and where the wine was made. When you make a selection, it gives you information about the region and flavors you will taste in the wine. I am nowhere near a wine expert so I always like having that information to help me make my selection.
Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings

I received three different bottles of Chardonnay, America’s most popular wine, to pair with my chicken dish, ranging from about $10 to $30 dollars. I fully expected to enjoy the Jordan the most since it was the priciest of the three but it was too overpowering for our taste.

Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings
We liked the Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay, the mid-range priced, the best with the chicken cordon bleu. It was bright and acidic but not overpowering and I thought it went well with the sharp Swiss cheese and mild chicken and ham.
Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings

The Hawk Crest Chardonnay was my least favorite of the three. It was a bit too acidic and strong for my taste. I’ve always preferred something sweeter and this had too much punch for me. I loved experimenting and trying different brands of the same type of wine with a dish to see how they played together. I feel like I learned more about the subtle flavors that came out and which we seemed to prefer. Having the ability to go to the website and read the descriptions of the wines I now feel more knowledgeable about what to look for when I’m pairing wine to a dish.

Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu + Wine Pairings
If you can, I would definitely recommend buying a few bottles of wine and trying this out for yourself. It turned out to be a great little date night at home, sitting at the table sharing a plate of chicken and three glasses of wine. Make sure to check out Wine Chateau for a large array of choices for your next dinner party. I think wine and cheese is next on our list!

Simple Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 chicken cutlets
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, whisked
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
4 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
8 slices ham, thinly sliced
4 slices aged Swiss cheese

1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, gather three shallow dishes (I use pie plates). Place flour in one shallow dish, egg in another and panko, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt and pepper in the last one.

2. Dredge the chicken cutlets in flour, then dip in egg and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

3. Add olive oil to preheated skillet and carefully place chicken in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through.

4. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Spread each cutlet with 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard then layer with 2 pieces of ham and a slice of cheese. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and put under broiler until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.

*Disclaimer: The wine was provided to me free of charge by Wine Chateau but as always, all opinions are my own.

Thai Grilled Chicken Legs

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We’ve been trying to budget around here, which is totally not fun. But after several issues with our current house which were not disclosed when we purchased it, we’re getting really fed up. The winter brings frozen pipes leading to our washer…not good when you have two very messy children and do laundry every day. And this spring we’ve discovered that whenever it rains heavily, water seeps into the basement bedroom. Have I mentioned that it’s rained almost every day for almost a month? It’s not been pretty.
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One of the ways we’re reducing our spending is through our grocery bill. But I refuse to buy junk food (aka cheap food) as a means of doing so. Instead, I plan our meals around the meat and produce on sale that week at my favorite grocery store. I’m not a fan of checking out the ads at several stores then making trips to all of them. I just don’t have the time or desire and I can always figure out something with what’s on sale at the store less than a mile from our house. Convenience is important people.
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I also like to stock up when certain things are on sale, such as boneless skinless chicken breasts. They were cheap this week so I may have bought 8 packages. I would eat chicken every day so we won’t have a problem going through that purchase. I also picked up some chicken leg quarters and grilled up these Thai Grilled Chicken Legs on one of the few days it was gloomy and rainy.
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The chicken gets a punch of flavor from a marinade of peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce and lime juice. The marinade then does double duty as a dipping sauce.
Thai Grilled Chicken 1
A word to the wise, the peanut butter in the marinade makes the grill flame up and may cause some charring on the chicken if you don’t keep a close eye on it. Not that I would know…. I also recommend using a digital meat thermometer so you know when it’s been cooked through. I love this one as you can set the desired temperature and an alarm will go off when it has been reached. Fool proof.
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Thai Grilled Chicken Legs

6 chicken leg quarters
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 lime, juiced
pinch of salt

1. In a bowl, combine garlic, peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce, lime juice and salt. Reserve half of the marinade and place in refrigerator. Add remaining marinade to a ziplock bag and add chicken. Make sure all the chicken is covered and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

2. Preheat grill to medium heat. Place chicken on grill and cook for 30-45 minutes. Baste and flip chicken every 15 minutes, until juices run clear and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Serve with remaining sauce for dipping.

Recipe adapted from Scratching Canvas.
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Southwestern Chopped Salad with Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing

Southwestern Chopped Salad 1
I have another Mexican inspired recipe to share today in preparation for Cinco de Mayo tomorrow just in case you didn’t find something in yesterday’s taco post. We decided on these Loaded Carne Asada Tacos for our little celebration but if you want to make smarter decisions and keep it light, this Southwestern Chopped Salad is the way to go.
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Ever since receiving Seriously Delish for Christmas I have been dying to make the Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing. I’ve had it rolling around in my head for awhile and thought the cool, creamy avocado would pair really well with some smoky, spicy chipotle chicken.
Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing 2
Toss is some romaine, roasted corn, black beans, cilantro and even more avocado for a perfectly dreamy salad.
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I topped ours with crispy tortilla strips for some added texture. This salad was enjoyed by my entire family which is a huge feat. I couldn’t shovel it in Hannah’s mouth fast enough.
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Southwestern Chopped Salad
serves 2

1 large romaine heart, washed and chopped
2 chipotle chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, diced
2 Tbsp. cilantro, finely minced
tortilla strips, for garnish
Blue Cheese Dressing, recipe follows

1. Preheat broiler. Place frozen corn on rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place under broiler and cook until some brown spots appear, stirring frequently. This should only take a couple minutes so keep a close eye on it. Remove from oven and scrape into a small bowl.

2. In a large bowl, combine romaine, chicken, corn, black beans, avocado and cilantro. Toss then add desired amount of blue cheese avocado dressing, tossing again. Serve with tortilla strips on top.

Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing
recipe slightly adapted from Seriously Delish

1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
1 garlic clove, roughly minced
Juice from 1/2 lemon
6 Tbsp. low-fat buttermilk
1 Tbsp. mayo
1 Tbsp. sour cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4-6 ounces bleu cheese crumbles (depending on taste)

Place avocado, garlic, lemon juice, buttermilk, mayo, sour cream, salt and pepper in food processor and blend until smooth. Gently stir in bleu cheese crumbles. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

*Disclaimer: the link above is an affiliate link which means if you click on the link and purchase, I get a small percentage from the sale.
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Cinco de Mayo Taco Tuesday Party

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Cinco de Mayo falls on Tuesday this year…coincidence? I think not. It would be a travesty not to participate in Taco Tuesday this week. So to help you out, I searched around the internets for some of the most delicious looking tacos that will totally do the holiday justice. I hope one of these inspires you for an all-out taco par-tay!

Carnitas = Best.Tacos.Ever.

Sweet Potato Tacos are skinny but still delicious and could do double duty on Meatless Monday.

The Quesarito isn’t quite a taco but I had to share this one with you. A cheese quesadilla is filled with toppings and rolled up burrito style. Dying.

Korean Tacos for a little Mexican Asian fusion.

Grilled Taco Lime Chicken is great for busy weeknight meals and one I have made over and over. Soo easy and delicious.

Loaded Carne Asada Tacos. Carne Asada + Fries + Guacamole + Cheese. Need I say more?

Smoky Shrimp Tacos with Chorizo Beans and Mango Salsa – smoky and sweet is always a winning combination.

Huevo Rancheros Tacos for something on the lighter side and another meatless option.

You all know I don’t really like fish but these Blackened Fish Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Sauce look incredible.

Chicken Fried Steak Tacos. Ummm, whaaaaat? Mexican and Southern, the fusion of my dreams.

Crispy Cauliflower Tacos with Slaw and Avocado Cream are all about the texture. Oh, and they are vegan too.

Apple Pie Tacos, because what’s a Taco Tuesday Cinco de Mayo party without a dessert taco? I mean, at this point, do the calories really matter?

And wash ’em all down with Lime Sorbet Margaritas.

 

 

 

 

Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders

Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 5
In the dead of winter it is so easy to reach for those rich, hearty, unhealthy comfort foods but now that Spring has arrived, I’m trying to make some healthy swaps for those calorie-laden dishes but still feel full and satisfied. Because, you know, bathing suit season is quickly approaching.
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 5
Enter the coconut macadamia nut chicken tender. I have said before that if I could choose my last meal, it would be fried chicken. Well, I would eat it everyday if I could get away with it. But that’s just not realistic so I decided to swap out the all-purpose flour for coconut flour along with some sweet, nutritious additions to create a tropical twist on my favorite food. Coconut flour is high in fiber and protein which makes it incredibly filling. Plus, it’s low in carbohydrates and gluten-free so you can pretty much satisfy any lifestyle with it. I love the slight sweetness it adds to any recipe without any sugar.
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The shredded, toasted coconut and macadamia nuts add a nice texture to the chicken tenders and boost the health benefits. I also love the tropical, summery flavors to help pull us out of this cold, dreary spring.
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These chicken fingers are browned in a little olive oil to brown and crisp the coating then transferred to the oven to cook through. This saves a lot of fat and calories over the traditional fried version.
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 2
If you are looking for a sweet coconut flour recipe, make sure to check out these bad boys, also known as our new favorite breakfast.
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Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders

1 lb. chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, toasted
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Nonstick coconut oil spray
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup yellow mustard

1. In a ziplock bag, marinate the chicken in the buttermilk for 4 hours, or up to overnight.

2. Place macadamia nuts in a blender or food processor and pulse until they resemble wet sand. Combine the ground nuts, coconut, coconut flour, salt, pepper and parika in a shallow pie plate. Remove chicken from buttermilk and allow excess buttermilk to drip off. Coat chicken in the coconut mixture then place on a plate. Continue until all the chicken has been coated.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in a single layer in the skillet and brown, 2 minute per side. You are not cooking the chicken through at this point, just getting some nice color on it. Generously spray a baking rack with coconut oil spray and place on a baking sheet. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place on the prepared baking rack. Bake chicken for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. Whisk together the honey and mustard and serve on the side for dipping.

 

Creamy Cilantro Chicken

Creamy Cilantro Chicken 5
Remember how I told you last week about the gorgeous weather we were having? Well, we got pummeled with snow this past weekend and ended up having a snow day Monday. And we have another storm heading our way any minute now. Wahhhh. Can’t it be Spring yet? I really shouldn’t complain because we’ve had a gorgeous winter so far but it’s just such a pain carting the kids around in the snow. I predict I will not be going anywhere unless absolutely necessary.
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While the weather was nice, we had this delicious creamy cilantro chicken straight from the grill. I always love Italian dressing as a marinade so when I saw this recipe I knew it was something we had to try. Italian dressing is mixed with lime juice and cilantro for a zesty chicken marinade. Some of it is reserved to mix with the sour cream for a delicious sauce to drizzle over the finished dish. It so tasty and a very easy weeknight dinner alongside some cilantro lime rice and black beans. And don’t worry if you’re having frigid weather like us, this would be equally delicious on a countertop grill or sautéed on the stovetop.
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Creamy Cilantro Chicken
recipe adapted from Mom’s Test Kitchen

1 1/4 pounds chicken tenderloins
1 cup Italian dressing
1 small lime, juiced
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
Cilantro Lime Rice
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed

1. Combine Italian dressing, lime juice and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Reserve 1/4 cup for use later. Place chicken in a ziplock bag and pour remaining marinade over the chicken. Seal and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

2. Combine the sour cream, remaining 1/4 cup marinade and remaining cilantro together and refrigerate until ready for use.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and cook chicken until cooked through and juices run clear. Serve chicken over cilantro lime rice and black beans, drizzled with the zesty sour cream sauce.
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