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Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders with Sweet Potato Tater Tots and Hot Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce

6 Jan

While we were in New Orleans, our travel-partners mentioned having eaten sweet potato tater tots and absolutely loving them. I knew immediately that some of the sweet potatoes hanging out in my pantry would be used to make sweet potato tater tots.  When I think of tater tots, I think of Kid Cuisine – those microwavable meals served in bright blue trays with kid-friendly items like chicken tenders, hamburgers, spaghetti and meatballs, fried chicken, steamed corn, mac and cheese, pudding and, of course, tater tots.  I used a Kid Cuisine as my inspiration for this dinner, which is (in my humble, childless opinion) both kid and adult friendly.  I amped up the health benefits of a normal microwavable meal by substituting regular breading with almonds, using only egg whites in the batter, substituting regular potatoes with nutrient-rich sweet potatoes, and baking rather than deep frying the chicken strips and tater tots.

In all honesty, I lightly burned one side of the sweet potato tater tots.  I checked them frequently, but when I went to flip them after 25 minutes or so, the bottoms were blackened.  I just didn’t think that the bottoms would burn.  I adjusted the cooking time accordingly in the recipe below, and hopefully by matching their baking time to that of the chicken (30 minutes), they will come out crispy rather than charred.  I will certainly post an update when I repeat this recipe, because the tater tots were still extremely delicious.  This meal was both very healthy and very tasty.

Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders with Sweet Potato Tater Tots and Hot Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce

Almond Crusted Baked Chicken Strips:

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

.87 lb. chicken tenders (about 10 tenders)

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375º.

Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Place almonds in food processor and season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Run for about 30 seconds until very finely ground.  Transfer to a shallow bowl.

Dredge chicken tenders in egg whites and then ground almonds.  Place on baking sheet and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake in oven 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until golden brown and cooked through (internal temperature of 165º).

Hot Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce:

2 tbs. Jack Daniels stone ground dijon mustard

1 tbs. honey (local is best!)

1 tbs. garlic hot sauce

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and place in refrigerator to chill.

Sweet Potato Tater Tots:

3 medium sweet potatoes

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 tbs. curly parsley, finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Non-stick cooking spray

1/4 cup all-natural, whole wheat flour

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375º.

Place sweet potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover.  Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer 20-25 minutes until potatoes are cooked through but still firm.  Drain potatoes and let rest until cool enough to handle but still warm.  Remove skins.  Using a box grater or food processor fitted with grater, shred potatoes.

Transfer potato shreds to a mixing bowl.  Add parmesan cheese and curly parsley.  Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Using your hands, shape sweet potato mixture into a tube shape and place on the baking sheet.  I made four tubes that were 6″ or so long.  Place in refrigerator at least 1 hour until set; can be refrigerated overnight if desired.  Once chilled, cut tube into 1″ pieces.  Reserve baking sheet.

Place flour in a shallow bowl and toss sweet potato pieces to lightly coat, shaking to remove excess flour.

Spray reserved baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread tater tots into a single layer and spray other side with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through until golden brown and crispy.

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