Adding in Protein

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.

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.

sriracha and peanut butter

I cut four chicken breasts into strips and then coated them thoroughly with the peanut butter and sriracha blend.

marinating chicken

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.

chopped walnuts

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,

nut encrusted chicken

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.

red bell peppers

sweet potato

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).

healthy dinner

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? 

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Tags: chicken, cooking, Food, healthy, healthy recipe, recipe, vegetables

  1. Michelle’s avatar

    Aw, I’m so glad you loved this recipe as much as I did! I most recently made your white bean truffle dip…and I’ve got a post coming up tomorrow adapted from Janel’s crunchy baked chickpeas featured on your blog!

    Reply

  2. Megan’s avatar

    I love coming up with interesting coatings for chicken. It’s so boring otherwise. Dinner looks great! (prob too spicy for me!)

    Reply

  3. alicia’s avatar

    Mmm – I LOVE the sriracha marinade! Great idea! You sure do love your spicy!! Nice adaptation.

    Reply

  4. Kerstin’s avatar

    Yum, these look great, we’re always looking for new chicken recipes! One of my favorite parts of blogging is being inspired by others too :)

    Reply

  5. Lori’s avatar

    This looks great! We are at the point where everyone loves a little sirracha in their food so this would be perfect for our house! Consider it saved and buzzed!

    Reply

  6. Kate @ Diethood.com’s avatar

    That’s a beautiful recipe!!!
    Good on you… I can’t imagine training for a marathon!

    Reply

  7. Jen (A Girl and Her Carrot)’s avatar

    The vision of health here! OMG you’ve married PB and sriracha (two faves). For a vegan version I think I”ll try it on tempeh?! I love sriracha on ANYTHING! Nothing like sweating while eating….ha! It’s amazing how much I eat when I run long distance…!

    Reply

  8. torviewtoronto’s avatar

    healthy dish looks good

    Reply

  9. Daisy’s avatar

    I love that you and michelle are inspired by each others dishes lately. such fun to read about the dish you created here. Your marathon training is inspirational in itself. It doesn’t inspire me to run one or anything, ;) but i still think its awesome.

    Reply

  10. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

    This looks so good! I’m definitely making it this week. The sauce is very creative!

    Reply

  11. Amanda L.’s avatar

    This sounds amazing and super healthy. I have been looking to add some more healthy recipes to my arsenal and this will definitely be one of them!

    Reply

  12. Carla Meine’s avatar

    This sounds great. I’m all about getting more protein in our diet. I find when I eat more good protein I don’t crave the sweets and carbs as much. Great way to stay in shape. Thanks for the good ideas.

    Reply

  13. John at MHT’s avatar

    This is what i need now, I have gained weight last christmas (and who didn’t?) and now I need to shred some fats but I can’t just give up eating and this kind of food is just perfect!

    Reply

  14. Katie’s avatar

    I’m so impressed that you run marathons. Sriracha and peanut butter? I like. Bet that was great on the chicken!

    Reply

  15. DessertForTwo’s avatar

    Yum! I love reading posts about how to get more protein. I’m not a vegetarian, but I don’t like meat that much. I love the idea of peanut butter in the sauce and coating something with nuts. Thanks for sharing :)

    P.S. I totally agree with Carla Meine–when I eat plenty of protein, I find that I don’t crave sweets as often!

    Reply

    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      I agree too. When I had this meal, I was actually not hungry when I went to bed.

      Reply

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