Monday, February 4

Healthy Baked Chicken Fingers: Gluten and Dairy-free

There are so many recipes for chicken fingers out there, but most aren't safe for my son because they usually contain wheat, dairy and/or egg.  I recently found a recipe in a new allergy-friendly cookbook for chicken nuggets. However, I know I'll never make it - at least not in the next few years - because:

  1. It required you to chop the chicken in a food processor and reform it into nuggets....ewww.  It may sound silly, but I know I'm NOT going to do that.
  2. It used WAY too many ingredients for the chicken coating. I need quick and easy recipes that I can make in between breastfeeding a baby and helping a toddler go potty.
  3. It directed you to fry the nuggets. I know it's fine to eat fried things once in awhile, but I'd rather not spend the time making a recipe that I know I won't make very often.

I'm all for fancy and fun recipes, but at this point in my life I need to focus on recipes that are:

  1. Safe (for my son that means free of wheat, dairy, egg and peanut)
  2. Healthy (for ALL of us)
  3. Tasty (especially tasty to a toddler!)

So, I decided to make healthy baked chicken fingers from the ingredients I ALREADY had in my kitchen. Here are the ingredients:

1 lb chicken tenders (organic if possible)
1/2 - 1 cup rice milk
1/2 cup Rice Krispies (gluten-free if needed)
1/2 cup Enjoy Life Flax Cereal
1/2 cup Glutino pretzels
1/4 Tbsp basil
1/4 Tbsp oregano
1/4 Tbsp thyme
pinch of garlic powder (more if you and your toddler like garlic!)
pepper to taste
Earth Balance butter


Put pretzels, rice krispies and flax cereal in bag and crush with rolling pin (or put in food processor if you don't mind getting it dirty).  

Add spices...

Set up your "dipping stations". I put the rice milk in a bowl on the left, and the chicken coating on the right. Dip your chicken tender in the rice milk, place it in the coating bowl in on the right, sprinkle the coating over the top of the chicken, and then put it on your cookie sheet lined with wax paper (for easy clean up).

I added a few dabs of Earth Balance butter on the top of the chicken to help keep it moist.  Then, bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until done (use your trusty meat thermometer for perfect chicken!).

Here they are out of the oven - tasty and crunchy.

This is my toddler's plate. I gave him one chicken tender with green beans and brown rice topped with spaghetti sauce and Daiya cheese. 

I was thinking of calling these "Use What's in Your Kitchen Chicken Fingers" because there are so many variations you could make to cater to your family's tastes (or allergies). As long as you know the technique, it's an easy and healthy way to eat!

Next time I might try focusing on one or two seasonings like Rosemary or Thyme, or adding only crushed pretzels to the topping.  

What seasonings or toppings would you add to your chicken fingers?


Kris @ said...

YUM that looks super crunchy!!!

Diane said...

Looks very tasty and healthy!

Colette said...

Kathryn, I laughed at your reaction to the "processing" of chicken into nuggets -- I had the exact same reaction. Yup -- your version is MUCH better. Any gluten-free bread source will do to make crumbs -- or -- if you can do corn, then ground corn flakes is a marvelous base for a breaded coated.

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

So funny, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that way about processing chicken! Ground corn flakes is a great idea too Colette.

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Thanks Diane!

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

I actually wish it turned our even crunchier!

Kim @ Welcoming Kitchen said...

Kathryn, You won the giveaway at my blog!!! You can email me at kim at welcomingkitchen dot com with your address, and I'll send it to you! Congratulations!

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Wow! That's SO exciting! Thanks so much Kim. Can't wait to see it.

Carrie @Chockababy said...

These look so yummy! I need to make them - I bet my non-allergic son will even eat them :)

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Let me know if you try them Carrie! Enjoy!

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