Napa Marathon training is in full swing, and I suddenly find my appetite raging all day and all night. I literally wake up in the middle of the night starving and think about what I am going to eat in the morning. It’s pretty crazy.
With all of the muscle building I am doing, I definitely need to add more protein to my diet, and it is always awesome to have recipe-inspiration from the blog world.
This week my friend Michelle from Fun and Fearless in Beantown made nut encrusted chicken tenders that looked crunchy, flavorful, and too good to pass up. I had originally planned on making Cajun chicken tender salad from the cookbook The Secret Ingredient by Sally Bee, so I combined a bit of both ideas to make a meal that was unforgettable.
I started by chopping some walnuts.
And mixing up my own marinade which was just equal parts sriracha love and peanut butter and ultimately a tiny bit of hot water to thin it out and to make sure it all blended.
I cut four chicken breasts into strips and then coated them thoroughly with the peanut butter and sriracha blend.
While I prepped the rest of dinner, I set the chicken back in the refrigerator to soak up the flavors of the marinade.
When I was ready to cook the chicken, I filled a pie plate with chopped walnuts and rolled each chicken tender in them until each tender was well coated.
Then I popped them in a 350 degree oven until they were cooked through. Once they were no longer raw looking on the outside, I took the thickest tender and cut it to check the doneness. They were perfect,
While the chicken was hanging out in the fridge, I chopped a few red bell peppers and a sweet potato for roasting. I put those into the oven at 400 for about 25 minutes, then lowered the temp when I put the chicken in.
I served everything atop a bed of Olivia’s Organics herb salad mixed with olive oil and lemon juice and the extra chopped walnuts (that had been reserved and had NOT touched raw chicken).
This was just a regular old weeknight meal that turned out to be absolutely beautiful, delicious, healthy, and totally satisfying. Michelle’s method for making chicken tenders is easy; I was a little afraid because in times past when I have tried to fry similar meals, all of the coating has fallen off and burned. Baking is the charm and makes the meal that much healthier. The chicken is absolutely addictive. A little bit of spice from the sriracha, a bit of nuttiness from the peanut butter, and a buttery, toasty crunch from the walnut coating had me going back for several pieces, a rarity. I usually grudgingly eat a piece of meat or two and then fill up on veggies.
My body really needed it, and this great idea came at the perfect time. So I thank Michelle for posting something so delicious this week and inspiring me. And by the way, this recipe could be made so many ways with so many different nuts and marinades that you could eat it once a week and not get tired of it.
Have you recently been inspired by a blogger to cook a new recipe, try a new workout, or eat at a new restaurant?