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Healthy Chicken Strips with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce (AKA boujee nuggets your kids will eat)

Do I Have an Ego?

Do I have the ego to say my chicken strips are “just as good” as the lofty chick-fil-a strips? Well, it all depends. If you prefer a cleaner taste, cleaner ingredient list, and freshly made dipping sauce, possibly.

If you also want to lower your reliance on fast food, don’t mind taking the time to make a homemade meal, then yes, they are just as satisfying and good to me. I don’t need the Chick-fil-a version.

However, if you view Chick-fil-a’s chicken strips as some sort of godsend, and you don’t care about what’s in them, you can’t imagine not slipping into the Chick-fil-a drive-thru, then five minutes later you have hot chicken fingers waiting to be dipped into a sauce packet, then no. I cannot compete with that type of worship, convenience, and speed. My ego will never be that big. And in all honesty, it’s just an opinion. Your food opinions should only matter to you.

Southern Culture and Chick-fil-a

I have lived in the south my whole life and I am familiar with the southern people who hold chick-fil-a to a very high degree. They view Chick-fil-a as some type of holy grail place of an eatery. Some will drive out of their way just for the sweet tea. Their eyes light up at the mention of its name. The waffle fries are savored like a fine wine. I totally understand this because I go out of my way for food too. What would I do without my beloved dairy products? **gasp**

I agree that their chicken is pretty good, and they also have several decent salad options, but I still view it as fast food, and I don’t like to rely on convenience food if I can help it. So I don’t find myself being obsessed with it a lot of the people around me.

It’s funny that I created this recipe that is similar to Chick-fil-a strips, but I didn’t start out with that intention. I created this recipe on a whim like I usually do. I first served the chicken stripes with grapefruit zest and parsley over a bed of salad greens. Then, my husband Calvin suggested serving the strips with a dipping sauce, a honey mustard dipping sauce to be exact. I thought he had a great idea because a lot of kids and adults alike love to dip things. And who doesn’t like the combo of fried/baked chicken strips and honey mustard?

Why Fast-Food Oils Should be Questioned

This recipe is a lot healthier because it’s not fried in a fast-food fryer. A lot of fast-food restaurants used to use beef tallow (beef fat, a natural abundant fat source) to fry their foods, but within the last 20 or so years, large corporations fought the fast-food chains and bullied/convinced them to switch all of their oils to highly processed plant-based oils. Which are not healthy at all. These oils can actually be toxic and cause inflammation in the body. I have been studying good fats and bad fats from a book by Sally Fallon Morell called “Nourishing Fats: Why We Need Animal Fats for Health and Happiness”. In the book, Sally explains why highly processed plant oils are not good for us. She states:

“The oil that goes into the bottles looks and smells clean, but it has gone through at least six heatings: heating when pressed, heating to remove solvents, heating during refining, heating during the drying process, heating during the degumming and heating (to very high temperatures) during the deodorization”.

“High-temperature processing creates dangerous free radicals, aldehydes and other breakdown products. In addition, the high temperatures and pressures neutralize or destroy and beneficial antioxidants, such as fat-soluble vitamin E, which protects the body from ravages of free radicals”.

“Powerful industrial antioxidants, such as BHT and BHA, both suspected of causing cancer and estrogen disruption, are often added to these oils to replace the vitamin E and other natural preservatives destroyed by extreme heat”.

I have not read the whole book yet, but just by reading the first two chapters I have learned so much about oils, fats, cholesterol, and industrial oils. I find it very interesting.

If you find yourself in a pickle and you don’t have any non-drive-thru options, ask the teller what type of oils they use in the fryer. A personal example of this is when I was trying out a new ramen restaurant a few weeks ago. I ordered the ramen with the katsu chicken (fried boneless chicken) on the side. I asked the girl at the counter what type of oil they use in the deep fat fryer. She said “Soybean oil”. At this point, I knew what I was getting into and I was aware of the situation. If I go back, I will more than likely not order anything deep fat fried. The chicken wasn’t worth it. When you’re aware, you are able to make your choice based on real information. Not emotions or desire.

I think it would be a good habit to start if you want to be healthier. You will start to be more aware of the names of oils and if you understand how particular oil operate in your body, you will become more keen to make better choices.

Getting the Recipe Just Right

Before I created this oat and pecan-crusted chicken recipe, I first started messing around with finely chopped pecans for a fish breading about a year ago. Then one day I decided to try it on chicken. My first go at it turned out pretty good, but it wasn’t salty enough. Then, after three times making the chicken strips, I finely got it right. It’s crunchy, flavorful, and moist.

Somehow I got the honey mustard recipe perfect on my second try. Which is always a nice surprise. The honey mustard dipping sauce is slightly punchy, savory and sweet. Which to me is a perfect combo for a dipping sauce. I think you may be getting hungry after all of this talk of chicken strips, let me show you how to make them. πŸ™‚

Here’s everything you’ll need to make the chicken strips.
(Excluding the mayo, you only need that for the honey mustard dipping sauce. I don’t how he snuck into the picture.)
Step 1:
Place 1 cup of oatmeal into a small food processor. Blend into oat flour. (about 1-2 minutes) Next, add 1 cup toasted pecans. Blend until finely chopped into a coarse meal.
The oat/pecan meal should look like this.
Step 2:
Place the pecan/oat mixture into a shallow pan. Add your seasonings.
1 tsp garlic powder, ΒΌ tsp paprika, 1 tsp kosher salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. Stir well.
*Kid-friendly task.
Step 3:
Melt 10 TBSP of butter.
Step 4:
Spread 1-2 TBSP of butter on a baking pan lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
*Kid-friendly task.
Step 5:
Whisk two eggs with 1 tsp of dijon mustard. Set aside.
*Kid-friendly task.
Step 6:
Chop 2LBS chicken breast into small stips. The size is really up to you.
Keep in mind, the smaller the pieces, the more you will have to individually dip them, and the shorter cooking time, and Vice Versa. I think 1/2″ thick is a good size to aim for.
Step 7:
Place the chopping chicken into the egg mixture. Mix chicken around so that all of the chicken gets evenly coated.
Step 8:
Now the dipping and dredging process gets started! This is a fun cooking task that your family members can easily help you out with. It’s a repetitive task that kids will master quickly and gain confidence with their cooking abilities.
Take the egg coated chicken strip and press into the oat/pecan mixture.
*Kid-friendly task.

Step 10:
Flip chicken over and press on the other side.
The chicken needs to be completely coated and it should look like this.
Step 11:
Place the uncooked chicken nuggets on your prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process until all chicken strips are breaded.
Step 12:
Take the remaining 8 TBSP of butter and spoon over the chicken. Place into an oven preheated to 350F. Bake for 18 minutes.
Step 13:

After 18 minutes, turn oven to HIGH broil, cook for another 4-5 mins, or until chicken gets a more golden color.
Step 14:
While chicken is cooking, you can whip together the honey mustard dipping sauce. Place all ingredients into a bowl and whisk.
Step 14:
Chop a handful of parsley. Sprinkle onto the hot chicken after you take it out of the oven.
Dipping sauce made. Chicken strips sprinkled with parsley. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Healthy Chicken Strips with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce (AKA boujee nuggets your kids will eat)

If you want to eat healthier but still love chick-fil-a chicken strips, these might be a good option for you. These baked chicken strips are tasty, crispy and healthy. The dipping sauce is so good you will wish you made a second batch.
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked chicken, baked chicken fingers, chicken breast recipe, chicken nuggets, chicken recipes, chicken strips, honey mustard dipping sauce
Servings: 4 people
Author: Esther Curry

Equipment

  • baking sheet
  • mini food processor or blender

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken breast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • dash salt
  • dash pepper
  • 1 cup old fashion oats
  • 1 cup pecans *Preferably toasted
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 10 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a reusable baking mat.
    Slice chicken into 1inch thick strips. Place in a small bowl, sprinkle chicken slices with salt and pepper. Toss chicken to evenly coat with salt.
  • Melt butter. Set aside.
    Place oats and pecans in a food processor or large blender. Blend until nuts and oats turn into a coarse meal. Pour the nut and oat meal into a shallow pan. Add all seasonings, then stir well.
  • *Kid-friendly task:
    Whisk eggs and dijon mustard in a shallow pan. Set aside.
  • Set up your dipping station in this order:
    Raw chicken, egg dish, nut & oat meal, lined sheet pan.
  • *Kid-friendly task:
    Dip your raw chicken into the egg mixture, then into the nut & oat meal, then place on the lined sheet pan.
    Repeat until all chicken strips are complete.
  • *Kid-friendly task:
    Pour melted butter onto the chicken strips.
    Place chicken into a preheated oven for 18 minutes. Turn oven to HIGH broil, cook for another 4-5 mins, or until chicken gets a more golden color. Take chicken out of the oven. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve with Honey Mustard dipping sauce.

Notes

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
  • Ingredient:
  • 6 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 6 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 6 tbsp raw honey
  • 6 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
Directions:
Add all ingredients into a small bowl. Whisk well.
Makes a little over 1 cup. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.

Thanks for reading! – Esther Curry XOXX

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