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Baked Chicken Fingers

By Catherine Newman

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates: 5 grams per serving

Hands-on time: 25 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

If your kids (or grownups) are chicken-finger lovers, these will hit that spot – but in a more wholesome way, what with their easy oven bakedness and their nutritious coating. Unlike breadcrumbs, almond flour adds protein and crunch, but without a big carb investment. I’m actually wondering about breading and baking cheese sticks this way, because we are such fans of fried mozzarella. I’ll let you know if we try it.

Ingredients

1 egg

1 tablespoon/15 ml buttermilk or plain yogurt (you can skip this if you don’t have it – it just adds a little tang)

Kosher salt

¾ cup/105 g almond meal (I like the brown-flecked skin-on kind for this, and it gives you more fiber, but you can use the white kind too)

½ teaspoon/1.5 g garlic powder

¼ teaspoon/0.75 g cayenne powder (if nobody will freak out)

1 (1-pound/450-g) package chicken tenders (or cut up a pound of boneless, skinless breasts into finger-sized pieces)

2 tablespoons/30 ml olive oil

Olive oil cooking spray (or more olive oil)

Instructions

1. Heat the oven to 425°F/218°C.

2. Beat together the egg, buttermilk or yogurt, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or ¼ teaspoon table salt) in a shallow dish or pie plate.

3. In another shallow dish, use a fork to stir together the almond meal, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt).

4. One at a time, dip each chicken tender first in the egg mixture, turning to coat, and then in the almond meal mixture, turning to coat well. Using one hand for the egg and one hand for the almond meal helps this be a little less messy and chaotic. Lay the tenders on a rack as you coat them.

5. Spread the oil in a rimmed baking sheet, and put the sheet in the oven to heat for 3 minutes.

6. Carefully move the tenders from the rack into the hot pan, and spray them generously with olive oil spray (or drizzle with extra olive oil if you don’t have spray).

7. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the tenders over with a spatula and bake for 10-15 more minutes, until the tenders are browned and crisped and cooked through (cut one open if you’re not sure). Cool briefly before serving with ketchup, ranch dressing, or buffalo sauce.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Last year they started the WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and are currently developing Seasoned, their senior version, commissioned by the AARP. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health and happiness at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

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