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Making dinner, memories, & the first chicken tenders since I quit gluten!

Making dinner, memories, & the first chicken tenders since I quit gluten!

I love cooking alone, and I used to thoroughly enjoy the breaded and fried things a la KFC. . .
but now these are both things of my past! Living with my partner (and fiancé, Doug) has changed the dynamic of my kitchen. We not only share the space in the fridge, and the food in the cupboards, we are sharing the joy and responsibility of cooking meals. Dinner is often split thusly: he does the protein, and I make sure veggies are somewhere to be found, whether they are in the form of a salad (with home made dressing) or roasted in the oven.

 
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Yesterday, we worked together on his usual task to make Keto Chicken Tenders from Diane Sanfilippo’s new book Keto Quick Start which I am loving. You’re wondering whether I mean the book or the recipe? Honestly, I have to say … BOTH!

This cookbook is more than just recipes, it is also a textbook to teach you all the in’s and out’s of Keto. Not simply what foods to eat and to avoid, but why it is important to do so, how it will affect you when you start to change the way you eat, and how you can expect to feel and for how long. I kid you not, the first half (165 pages!!!) is filled with tips, guides, and explanations.

I don’t know about you, but when I decide to try a new way of eating, I need to know all the things before I start.
If you’re nodding your head on the other side of the screen, this cookbook & guide is for you.

I think I’m getting too excited. And side-tracked! I’m here to share this delicious Chicken Tender recipe with you! First, I want you to know, I have never made ANYTHING like this before. I’ve shied away from egg-dipped and crusted foods since … well, perhaps living at home in high school. Honestly, I used to get very squeamish around uncooked (…raw) meat, and I am perhaps a little concerned about the possibility of contracting a bacterium from raw eggs. (I’m sure if you ask Doug, or my sister, they’ll roll his eyes and confirm this by telling you of the many times I wash my hands when working with any of the above items). So, this was going out on a limb for me, but that was ok because…

I really wanted to have chicken tenders!

I have to be honest, when I was a kid (and maybe a couple times right after I got my first “real” corporate job and was making a little money), I loved the McDonalds chicken nuggets dipped in honey mustard. {BLUSHING HARD - don’t look at me! This is so embarrassing!} I know, I know! You can’t believe this is true. I’ve always eaten so healthy. That’s SO FAR from the truth, however it is true I’ve been on a much healthier track for the last 10-12 years or so. But I digress. After reading through Diane’s book, I knew I needed to give these Keto Chicken Tenders a shot for my inner six-year-old.

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So we got to work! The chicken tenders are dipped in egg, then coated with a mixture of coconut flakes, coconut flour, and spices. These are then fried in batches in a small amount of quality cooking oil which covers the bottom of the pan for a few minutes on each side (we chose coconut oil to keep with the theme. Also, coconut oil has high heat stability). I was in charge of dipping and coating the chicken, while Doug browned the crust in the pan.

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The next step was to finish cooking in the oven for 15 at 375˚F or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165˚F. With our handy timer (We used this Taylor thermometer) we simply had to wait for the … BEEP!

While the chicken was finishing, we washed the dishes, and got out the mustard for dipping sauce. Since this is a Keto recipe, we used plain mustard (no honey to appease that inner child) for dipping.
This was fine.

More than fine. The tenders were delicious with plain mustard.

The chicken is dipped in a coconut “breading”, and the crust is delightfully sweet in flavor due to this lovely topping. This was perhaps enhanced by the use of coconut oil, as well. And they were SO GOOD. I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow… I think it’s time to make dinner, now, so here is the recipe for your enjoyment!!!


 
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Keto Chicken Tenders

(from Diane Sanfilippo’s Keto Quick Start Cookbook


How-To:

  • Preheat oven to 375˚F and prepare a baking sheet with wire rack on top

  • Place a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat. Use just enough fat to coat the bottom of the pan, and allow it to melt and become hot (but not smoking!). While fat is heating up, bread the chicken.

  • Create a station for the chicken: In a large, shallow bowl or dish, whisk the eggs until well beaten. In a second large shallow bowl or dish, whisk the coconut, coconut flour, and spices until well combined.

  • Dip a piece of chicken in the egg to coat completely, allow the excess to drip off, then dredge the chicken in the flour mixture to coat completely. Shake gently to remove excess. Repeat this process for all the chicken tenders.

  • Working in batches (as they fit in the pan) place the chicken tenders in the hot pan and cook for 3-4 minutes each side, until the breading is golden brown. Add more cooking fat the pan as needed. Transfer browned tenders to the wire rack on the baking sheet and space evenly.

  • Once all the chicken is browned, place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165˚F. Serve with mustard on the side.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cooking fat of choice (we used coconut)

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 2 Tbsp. coconut flour

  • 1 Tbsp. Trifecta Spice Blend (Diane’s Balanced Bites Spice blend)

  • 2 tsp. paprika

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 lbs. chicken tenders*

  • prepared yellow mustard, for serving (and dipping!)

NOTE: If you are avoiding nightshades, omit the paprika.

* We used chicken breasts and cut to size (roughly 1 by 4-inch strips) instead of chicken tenders. This was a little more work, but a couple dollars less per pound for organic chicken!


 
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Doug and I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Also, Diane’s book is a wealth of knowledge and great recipes! Click here to order your copy! (also, if you’re not following @dianesanfilippo on Instagram, I suggest you begin today for more great recipes and tips. Also, there are giveaways happening for the Keto Quick Start!)

Let me know what you loved about this recipe in the comments below!

Much love!
Alaina (& Doug!)

fabulous breakfast bread and how to make it (gluten - free!)

fabulous breakfast bread and how to make it (gluten - free!)