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5 New Ways to Make Healthy Chicken Fingers

Chicken fingers don’t have to be deep fried and greasy. Check out these unique ways to make delicious fingers that the kids will love—and so will their growing bodies.


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I’m going to make a bold but I think accurate statement here: Every kid loves chicken fingers.

But enough with the over-breaded, over-fried chicken already! I know what you’re thinking—"but that’s the only thing they’ll eat." We get it, and that’s why we’ve found five deliciously healthy ways to make the ever-so-important dinner staple.

 

Baked Chicken Fingers

Baked Chicken Fingers

These super-lightly breaded and baked chicken fingers are all sorts of yummy. Get wild and whip up one (or all) of Amy’s dipping sauces—citrus spice, ranch (of course) and a honey mustard.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups Panko crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

Directions: Coat the chicken with yogurt on both sides.. In a separate bowl, mix panko, salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Dip yogurt-covered chicken into the Panko and seasonings mixture. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and arrange chicken tenders in pan. Drizzle with olive oil for extra crispiness. Bake at 350°F for 20-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

 

Low-Carb Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders

Low-Carb Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders

This is a great chicken finger alternative to the over-processed, fried stuff. The kids won’t even know the difference. Plus—they reheat well, so make some extra and throw them in the freezer for crazy-busy days.

What you’ll need:

  • ½ cup of gluten-free flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of parsley flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of flaxseed
  • ½ bag pork rinds
  • 1 lb or more thin-sliced chicken breast cutlets
  • 10-12 inch skillet
  • 2 cups sunflower oil (or another tasteless oil that can stand up to high temps)

Directions: Add the gluten-free flour to a bowl and set aside. Grab a bowl for the egg wash—break the eggs and beat them until yolks and whites are combined (just like scrambled eggs). Set aside. In another bowl, add the parsley flakes, flaxseed and ½ bag ground pork rinds. (Place pork rinds in a large zip-lock bag and whack them with a meat hammer until they are flour-fine.) Now that the egg wash is ready, prepare the thin-sliced chicken to be breaded. Place chicken in the gluten free flour, then dip it in the egg wash and finally coat it well with the pork rind mixture. To fry the chicken fingers, set the stove to medium and place the 2 cups of oil into the skillet. Heat the oil on medium until it is at frying temperature—about 5 min or 350°F degrees. Place the chicken strips in the oil and cook for 7 minutes. Flip the fingers and cook for another 7 minutes, or until desired crispiness is achieved. Check the chicken by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest piece of chicken—the temp should read 165°F or higher. Remove cooked chicken from the frying pan and enjoy!

  • To Freeze: allow tenders to cool for 10 minutes. Place in a freezer safe storage container or plastic bag. To reheat, cook at 375°F for 20 minutes.

 

Oatmeal-Crusted Chicken Fingers

Oatmeal-Crusted Chicken Fingers

These oatmeal-crusted chicken fingers are light and fresh. Skip the frying pan and go straight for the oven, but do keep in mind that you’ll need a food processor.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup regular oats
  • ¾ cup (3 ounces) grated, fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound chicken breast tenders
  • Plastic wrap
  • Cooking spray

Directions: Preheat oven to 450°F. Place oats in a food processor and process for 20 seconds or until coarsely ground. Add cheese, thyme, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine and place in a shallow bowl. Place each chicken breast tender between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to ¼-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small, heavy skillet. Coat both sides of tenders with cooking spray; dredge tenders in oat mixture. Place tenders on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes or until browned.

 

Almond-Crusted Chicken Fingers

Almond-Crusted Chicken Fingers

You read that right—almonds. Intriguing, right? These fingers pack a little flavor punch. You’ll enjoy ‘em just as much (if not more) than the kids do. Give it a go!

What you’ll need:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  •  teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 pound chicken tenders

Directions: Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray. Place almonds, flour, paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a food processor; process until the almonds are finely chopped and the paprika is mixed throughout (about 1 minute). With the motor running, drizzle in oil; process until combined. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish. Whisk egg whites in a second shallow dish. Add chicken tenders and turn to coat. Transfer each tender to the almond mixture; turn to coat evenly. (Discard any remaining egg white and almond mixture.) Place the tenders on the prepared rack and coat with cooking spray; turn and spray the other side. Bake the chicken fingers until golden brown, crispy and no longer pink in the center—20 to 25 minutes.

 

Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips

Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips

This recipe may take a bit longer to prepare, but it’s totally worth it in the end. Skip the meat tonight with these crispy, breaded tofu strips. The kids won’t even know the difference!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 package firm or extra firm tofu (try organic, non-GMO, about 350 grams)
  • ½ cup almond milk (or other milk)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs (use gluten-free if necessary)
  • Scant ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne powder (for a kick of heat)
  • ¼ tsp onion powder

Directions: Press Tofu: rinse the tofu with water and place a couple kitchen towels on the counter. Wrap the tofu with another towel, place another towel on top, and finally several heavy cookbooks on top. Let sit for at least 20 minutes so the towels can absorb excess water.  Meanwhile, whisk together the milk and cornstarch in a shallow dish. In another bowl, mix together the cornmeal, bread crumbs, salt and spices. Set aside. Slice tofu into 8-9 strips, lengthwise, depending on how thick you want it. With one hand, dip the tofu strip into the milk mixture and then into the cornmeal/breadcrumb mixture. Use other hand to sprinkle dry mixture all over the tofu. Coat both sides entirely and then place on baking sheet. Repeat with the rest. Bake tofu on middle rack at 400°F for 20 minutes, then flip the tofu and bake for another 15-20 minutes until crispy. Dip in ketchup!

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