As my effort to introduce the kiddos to new foods continues, it’s important to strike a good balance. This means that if dinners with mussels or zucchini are in the meal plan, I work in something that’s considerably more kid-friendly like a Hamburger Helper knockoff or spaghetti with meatballs. I find that if the kids know that something more familiar is coming, they’re much more open to try new things. As we’ve moved away from a lot of processed foods in this house, that means finding ways to make some of their favorites from scratch. Luckily, I find that making most of these things from scratch is not only healthier for all of us, it’s cheaper and it almost never takes more time than it takes to heat up the boxed, frozen, or otherwise pre-made version.
These breaded chicken tenders are a great way to ditch the frozen food and make the kids something they love. They’re also proof that meals don’t need to be complicated in order to be healthy and delicious. You can go completely packaged food free and make your own pancake mix or use a box of pancake mix if you have some hanging around. Any pancake mix should work (I used my own, and the original recipe called for gluten-free Bisquick). Instead of non-stick cooking spray, I use a Misto olive oil sprayer but either way, spraying these before baking them is what gives the coating a little bit of crunch and makes you feel like you’re having something that’s fried when you aren’t. I turned the oven on to preheat and these were ready to go in as soon as the oven was ready, proving again that convenience foods aren’t always faster than making things yourself. Unlike the original recipe, I only dipped and breaded the chicken once as I found that the coating mixture didn’t make enough for me to dip my chicken pieces twice. We didn’t miss the second layer of breading one bit, but if you find that it makes enough to dip your chicken pieces twice then I feel like if some of this coating is good, more could only be better. The final verdict came in when the kiddos devoured these and O asked if he could take some to school for his lunch the next day.
Pancake Mix Chicken Tenders
- 3/4 C. pancake mix (store-bought or make your own)
- 1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips (roughly 8 tenders)
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray (or spray with an oil sprayer).
In a shallow baking dish, combine the pancake mix, cheese, paprika and garlic powder.
In a separate dish or small bowl, lightly beat the two eggs.
Dip the chicken pieces, one at a time, into the eggs and then coat with the pancake mix mixture and place them onto the prepared baking sheet (if you have enough mixture, you can dip each piece twice, this is optional and I dipped these just once). Repeat until all chicken pieces are coated.
Spray the chicken with non-stick cooking spray or an oil sprayer.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, turning halfway through, until chicken is cooked through.
Makes 4 servings.
Source: adapted from Mommy I’m Hungry