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It feels like I've been away too long, well almost a month to be exact. And what a month! Flu season came early in our house, and there's nothing worst than seeing your kids not feeling well. Now that everyone is back to a healthy and happy state, I can go on with my life as "planned", sort of. I'm getting ready to celebrate three birthdays in my family soon: son, daughter and hubby. Lots of planning, kids activities, gift wrapping and baking. With such a hectic schedule, I am always challenged in finding time to take extra care of my meals. Over the years, I've developed some sensitivities to certain foods, and random snacking causes me more harm than good. So I have to think ahead and plan for my meals.
For yesterday's lunch, the kids wanted their favorite "Crunchy Chicken". These breaded chicken tenders are flavorful, juicy and super easy to make. Adding a wilted cabbage salad to a few pieces made it a satisfying lunch for me too, and I saved time on cooking a whole other meal for me. I make batches of this chicken every week and freeze them, because the kids ask for them so often. The sliced chicken breast is soaked in a buttermilk bath to keep it juicy and tender, and the nut-panko-cheese breading on the outside makes it extra crunchy. Whether you have kids or not, I think you'll love 'em over this salad, topped with melted cheese and marinara over your favorite pasta or drizzled with walnut lemon dressing, avocado and tomatoes in a sandwich.
2 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless
1 cup panko bread crumbs (or any breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, ground (substitute with almonds)
1/2 cup Parmesan or Piave cheese, grated
1 cup buttermilk (substitute with heavy cream or whole milk)
2 tbsp cornstarch or tapioca starch
1 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp sea salt (more needed for sprinkling the chicken slices before soaking)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup grape seed oil or olive oil for sauteing
Trim chicken breast of any extra fat. Slice against grain at an angle to the thickness desired. For the kids, I deliberately make the slices in odd shapes, and later have them guess what the shape looks like. Alternatively, you can pound the chicken breast between two plastic sheets to the thickness needed, then slice into shapes. Sprinkle the chicken with some salt and pepper and rub through. Toss chicken in cornstarch to cover then soak the pieces in buttermilk for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, mix breadcrumbs, cheese, ground nuts, marjoram, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Remove chicken pieces one a at time, and bread in the mixture to cover well on all sides and set aside (if you are preparing for future use, freeze in a sealed freezer bag at this point). Saute on both sides in heated oil until golden brown.
1/2 head purple cabbage, sliced thin
1 orange, peeled and segmented
1 tbsp grape seed oil
1 tsp nigella seeds (optional)
Dash of salt and pepper
Heat oil and wilt cabbage gently for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle salt, pepper and nigella seeds if using. Remove to a bowl. Add orange segments and croutons and toss in a generous amount of the dressing below.
Walnut Lemon Dressing
1/4 walnuts, raw
2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp grape seed oil
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp shallot, minced
1/8 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
In a blender or food processor, liquify all ingredients together until creamy. Drizzle amount needed on salad.