An idea that started from a passion of helping others to feed their families healthy gluten-free and allergy-free meals has somehow officially turned into a full-time labor-of-love. And as I have tackled the challenge of creating my blog and iPhone application, it has occurred to me how easy it can be to fall in to a rut of making less-than-stellar meals instead of the healthy fare that my family is used to. In spending every spare minute working on my project (‘spare’ meaning the moments in between pick-ups and drop-offs, laundry and grocery shopping, play-dates and field trips, snack time and meal preps…okay you get the picture), when dinner time rolls around, I am pooped. I know that I am absolutely no different than any other hard-working mother out there, but now I laugh at myself as I look back at the time when I thought it was just so hard to juggle being a Stay-At-Home Mom while working on a Master’s Degree in Nutrition. Now I have added another child and a new endeavor into the mix and I secretly find myself longing for the extra hours in those days when I thought I had it oh-so-tough.
Do not get me wrong. One of my favorite things to do is to create wonderful meals for my family. But when I am spent at the end of the day and have used up all of that energy that I would normally pour into those delectable spreads, I need to switch modes and go back to my quick mainstays that are easy, healthy, and fast!
This is a recipe that my kids adore (as does my husband). It is the gluten free and healthier version of a chicken nugget and one that is requested often. Frankly, I think my kids love it when I make my quick-and-easies versus my laborious-and-fancies. Although they will eat both, I find that I do not have to utter those wonderful words of encouragement (“Just three more bites, okay two, alright – one more bite!”) near as often when I turn to my recipes that get dinner on the table in a timely manner.
GLUTEN FREE CRISPY CHICKEN TENDERS:
1 lb: organic chicken tenders
¼ cup: mayonnaise (For Egg Free version: use either Spectrum Light Canola Mayo, Vegenaise, or, use Cybele Pascal’s recipe for an egg-free, soy-free, dairy-free vegan mayonnaise) I have also successfully made this with plain yogurt (dairy and dairy-free) instead of mayo
1 tbsp: fresh lemon juice
2 cups: Gluten Free Rice Chex (processed to very fine crumbs) OR, you can use an equal amount Glutino (or any gluten free) Crackers or pretzels (processed to fine crumbs) as suggested by Shirley of gfe-gluten free easily
2 tsp: Italian Seasoning
1 tsp: garlic salt
1/2 cup: Parmesan cheese – optional (For Dairy Free version: omit the Parmesan cheese entirely or use 3 TBSP Parma! Vegan Parmesan, though beware that this is NOT Nut-Free)
1. Preheat Oven to 425°F.
2. Mix lemon juice and mayonnaise together in a shallow bowl.
3. Place cereal crumbs, garlic salt, Italian Seasoning, and Parmesan Cheese in another shallow bowl.
4. One-by-one, dip tenders into mayonnaise-lemon mix to lightly coat chicken.
5. Then place tenders in cereal/seasoning mixture until coated and place on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Gently flip each one, so as not to remove the breading, and bake an additional 8 minutes.
7. Serve with your favorite sides and dipping sauce. I usually serve this with my organic Fingerling potatoes (diced small, tossed in olive oil, garlic salt, and Italian Seasoning and roasted at 425 degrees for 35 mintues) and a big hearty salad.