Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders - Another Gluten Free Goodie!

Recently, the culinary blogsphere has been boasting the exploits of cooking with almond meal instead of traditional flour. So, I thought “why not give it a try?” Years ago, I used to prepare this awesome Asian recipe for Walnut Coated Chicken Bites. It was an outstanding recipe, but was a bit labor intensive requiring marinating, dipping in egg, etc. This new recipe, though, comes together in a snap!

(Oh ... by the way, I’m now homeschooling my littlest chicken tender, too! I’m in heaven with 2 out of 3 of my brood here during the day. Homeschooling rocks!)

Back to our regularly programmed chicken story ...I already knew that the walnut recipe was fantastic, and so it was a natural leap of faith to experiment making chicken tenders using almond meal. I wanted to keep it really simple though, so I didn’t go through the steps of marinating and egging, et al.The results were really good! As you know, homemade chicken tenders far, far, far outshine anything you could buy pre-made. This almond meal coating approach keeps the recipe gluten free, and is super-d-duper simple to prepare. I made a TON of these using multiple pans because I wanted to have leftovers for lunch the next day. I turned the left overs into chicken parmesan, and let me tell ya folks, that was GOOD EATS!I didn’t measure out the ingredients, but it’s so easy that even a first time cook could do this with ease. I’m guess-timating pared down volumes for you here.

Ingredients:

- 1 cup almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand – it’s gluten free. You could finely grind your own blanched almonds if you wanted to. Your food processor may enjoy the workout! Your ears may not appreciate the noise level, though!)
- Your favorite seasonings: I used Lawry’s seasoned salt, garlic salt, and black pepper.
- Olive Oil – to coat the pan
- Chicken tenders – about a dozen

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and drizzle with olive oil. Brush oil around to evenly coat the baking surface. Combine the almond meal and the seasonings in a bag. Drop the tenders into the bag and shake vigorously to coat. Place on the baking sheet taking care not to crowd the pieces. Keep those molecules apart people! It’s better to use two pans than shove them close together on one pan. Place in the oven and bake for around 8 – 10 minutes. Flip the tenders over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Take out of the oven and let sit on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove and serve.Um, does uh anybody else besides moi like to nibble on the crusty parts left on the foil? hehe Oh come on, don’t judge me!These were really tasty! The almond meal actually is very mild allowing the chicken flavor to easily dominate. I served these with a super yummy sour cream dill dip (which my children didn’t touch – hubbyman liked it though).

For the day two recipe, I used the left over tenders, topped them with marinara sauce and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and had a terrific new taste sensation. Praise be to who ever first came up with that tasty combo.Best of all, chicken tenders prepared this way are ridiculously easy to prepare, full of flavor, and gluten free. My picky eaters club members snarfed them down and demanded more. They even choked down the lonely couple of green beans on their plates so they could present a clean platform for round 2.I’ll be trying out more ways to use the almond meal as a coating. YUM!

15 comments:

LadySnow said...

We just always use cornmeal to coat the chicken. I never thought about trying almond meal. I will have to do that. :-)

Pam said...

I don't need to be gluten free, but these sound so good, I'm going to get some almond meal!

Pam said...

Oh Paula - these tenders look amazing. I've never thought to use almonds.

Marjie said...

A recipe after my own heart! Use a handful of this and some of that! It looks like wonderful chicken (which is what we had tonight, too!)

Glad little Miss is home and doing well!

grace said...

this is a pretty terrific willy-nilly recipe, paula! it certainly shows your prowess in the kitchen when you can toss together something as marvelous as this. :)

Bellini Valli said...

I will keep my eyes peeled for some almond meal. I know they should have it at our local Choices.

Linda said...

I'm going gluten free now and I'm going to be on the look-out for almond meal.....at least I know a store that carries Bob's Red Mill.

Levinson Axelrod said...

Great ideas. Almond meal sounds great on chicken. Thanks for sharing your cooking tips.

The Blonde Duck said...

Those look awesome! And the crispy parts are the best part!

zurin said...

Oh I must gv this recipe to my daughter....it looks good n is gluten fre. her little boy is allergic to so many things including gluten.. ill pass this on. thank u so much..yumm

Mickle in NZ said...

Have you been peeking into my kitchen? I have ground almonds (almond meal) always and my fridge top freezer has heaps of frozen chicken - including tenders. Will go "freezer mining" tomorrow to locate and remove the tenders, and am already thinking of adding freshly grated NZ parmesan to the almond mix...

Dear Paula, it is so wonderful to have you back in the blogosphere, encouraging, tempting, and even taunting the likes of me with your wonderful recipes.

Sending happiness, care, joy and love,

Michelle down in Wellington

(word verification is "lemons"!)

Robynn's Ravings said...

WOMAN! I can't believe I heard from you! I've been worried and was so glad to see you pop up on my blog. I send everyone gluten-sensitive person I know to you because you ARE the woman! :)

These look GREAT! I never thought about almond flour. YOu probably already know how awesome crused pistachios are for chicken, fish, and calamari but it you don't....well, yummmmmm!

Yay for more time with your kiddos through homeschooling! Yep. It does rock.

Manggy said...

I nibble! I nibble!
These look FANTASTIC - I have a bit of an excess of almond meal here!! (And way too much dessert!!)

Jan said...

I've never heard of almond meal but I'll be looking out for it, this chicken sounds delish. Also, you're not the only one who scrapes the crispy bits off the foil. :-)

Erin said...

These look delicious! A good friend of mine if allergic to gluten so I passed along your blog to her.

Thanks for visiting my blog!