Tang and Crunch: Honey-Mustard Pretzel Chicken

Tang and Crunch: Honey-Mustard Pretzel Chicken

I’ve used a lot of things to crust chicken breasts: flour, corn flakes, Ritz crackers, saltines and more, but it never occurred me to use salty, crunchy pretzels on tender, moist chicken breasts. Now that I’ve tried it, though, I may never go back, especially when you use a tangy honey-mustard sauce to not only sauce but bread the chicken!

Pretzel Honey Mustard Chicken from Mancktastic!

First, we crunch pretzels into smithereens and toast them with that perfectly crunchy texture maker: panko breadcrumbs! The toasting makes the coating extra crunchy with a deeper savory flavor. Then, we whip up a delightfully zesty honey mustard sauce with Dijon mustard, honey and red wine vinegar for a really tangy, sweet, spicy flavor. Then it’s dredging time!

Pretzel Honey Mustard Chicken from Mancktastic!

By dredging the chicken through both flour and honey mustard sauce before adhering the crumb coating, you get a hearty dose of flavor that really sticks to and permeates the chicken throughout. The thin-sliced chicken breasts cook up in a jif while remaining juicy and flavorful inside their delicious crust. Every bite will have a little crunch, a little tang, and succulent chicken within. I recommend serving this with couscous and spinach salad on the side so you can soak up every bit of that delicious sauce!

Pretzel Honey Mustard Chicken from Mancktastic!

Honey-Mustard Pretzel Chicken

  • 1 cup pretzels
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup Dijon or whole-grain mustard
  • ⅙ cup honey
  • ⅛ cup water
  • 1½ Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound thin-sliced, boneless chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup flour, plus more if needed
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Add pretzels to a food processor and pulse into small crumbs. Combine the pretzel crumbs and panko bread crumbs.
  3. Toast the mixed crumbs in a skillet over medium heat until golden, stirring constantly. Pour crumbs onto a plate and allow to cool.
  4. Rinse the food processor bowl, then add the olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, water and vinegar. Combine on low speed until smooth and well-incorporated. Add salt, pepper, honey or mustard to taste. Pour half of this mixture into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Season thin-sliced chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Pour flour on to a plate.
  6. One at a time, coat each piece of chicken in flour, then dunk into the set-aside bowl of dressing, and finally cover with pretzel crumbs on each side, patting well to ensure adhesion. Place in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and continue process until all chicken has been coated.
  7. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.
  8. Allow chicken to rest for 2 minutes after you remove it from the oven, then top with the remaining honey-mustard dressing.

Pretzel Honey Mustard Chicken from Mancktastic!

based on a recipe from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

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Picnic Ready: Sweet Corn and Bacon Chicken Salad

Picnic Ready: Sweet Corn and Bacon Chicken Salad

It’s starting to reach the most humid time of the year down here in Houston; June is upon us and that means 90-100 degree days every day, plus at least 85% humidity most of the time. Hair is frizzing, everybody’s sweating and day time spent outside is kept to a minimum. This weather tends to sap my appetite for elaborate meals that require anything other than the fridge. Produce and snacks are the name of the game when visiting the great outdoors feels like wading through jello at best.

Picnic Ready Sweet Corn and Bacon Chicken Salad from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

This simple dish combines summer staples to create a filling filling to spread on crackers, top a salad or a slap between two pieces of bread for a delicious salad. Use the bacon left over from breakfast, excess grilled chicken from another dinner and simply combine with Greek yogurt, dijon and corn for a refreshing and tasty treat. The yogurt keeps this chicken salad from feeling too heavy, while the saltiness of the bacon and fresh, bright corn keep it from being too ordinary 😉

Picnic Ready Sweet Corn and Bacon Chicken Salad from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Sweet Corn and Bacon Chicken Salad

  • 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅔ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise or dijonnaise
  • 1½ Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • ⅔ cup crumbled bacon
  1. Add shredded chicken to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add wet ingredients, tossing well to coat, then fold in the corn and bacon.

Picnic Ready Sweet Corn and Bacon Chicken Salad from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

based on a recipe from How Sweet Eats

Tangy, Saucy Honey-Molasses Chicken

Tangy, Saucy Honey-Molasses Chicken

There are certain flavors and ingredients I gravitate towards in the kitchen and recipes. I have squeeze bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar right next to the stove, ready for a quick addition to dinner. There’s always a pot of herbes de Provence ready to go in the cabinet, along with thyme and roasted garlic slices. Our refrigerator always holds Dijon mustard, with fresh ginger lurking in the freezer and a pot full of garlic and shallots lying in wait within their comfortable darkness. Honey patiently sits next to the Keurig machine and there are always backup supplies of flour and 3 types of sugar in the pantry for baking emergencies.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

When I see any combo of these favored ingredients pop up while perusing the internet, I’m immediately drawn to hungrily peruse the recipe, hoping it’s right for our family and ready for some Manckwhite tweaking. When I found this recipe for Honey-Molasses Chicken, it was immediately added to the meal plan for the week. Bill asked every day if this was the day for delicious chicken and it finally was a few days back! I was so looking forward to the simple, but powerful combination of ingredients that were to come.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

I was fully prepared for a thick, tangy sauce coating simply spiced chicken tenders, but I was blown away by the depth of flavor that came out of that pan. It’s reminiscent of a vinaigrette, but with a thick, smooth texture like the sauce for Sesame Chicken. It’s a very summery dish with the bright, spiced sauce.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

You get the subtle and separate sweetnesses of honey, brown sugar and molasses, but it’s cut through with the tang of balsamic vinegar and spices of the Dijon mustard with the follow-through of the garlic powder. This sauce begs to be shared with more than just chicken, so I also sauced some apple pieces to top a simple spinach and goat cheese salad. I loved the combination of zesty sauce and tender chicken with the crunch of the apple, freshness of the spinach and creamy goat cheese. It’s a perfectly balanced plate altogether.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

We start with my basic, plain ol’ chicken tenders, liberally spiced with salt and pepper. They’re browned to hold in all their tender juiciness, then cooked through with the delicious sauce. We cover to cook, so the steam opens up the chicken for more flavor as the sauce thickens and develops all around it. A final minute to condense the sauce’s flavors make sure the chicken has a nice, healthy coating so the flavor is carried through in every bite.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

Honey-Molasses Chicken

  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 apple, cut into small pieces
  1. Combine brown sugar, water, honey, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, molasses and garlic powder in a small bowl; whisk together and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Add chicken to pan, cook for 3 minutes, then flip and repeat.
  3. When the chicken has browned on each side, but is not cooked through, add the  honey mixture to pan, turning chicken to coat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until chicken is done, turning chicken every 5 minutes.
  4. Uncover, turn heat to medium-high and cook for an additional minute, so the sauce thickens and the chicken is well coated. Remove from heat; serve immediately, reserving 2 Tablespoons of sauce.
  5. Toss the apple pieces with reserved sauce and serve on the side.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

Based on a recipe from Recipe Girl

Crispy and Flavorful: Cheddar-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Crispy and Flavorful: Cheddar-Crusted Chicken Tenders

I think this blogging thing might be starting to drive my husband crazy. Each week he has to face down a planned menu full of recipes he’s never heard of, rather than his favorites from our years together. He’d eat Sesame Chicken and Inside-Out Potstickers each once a week, interspersed with frozen pizza and commercial honeybuns, if I let him. Instead, his nutty wife wants to try something new every night so she can make it their own.

Recently, I’ve stepped down my new, bloggy recipes to just 3 times a week so we can enjoy simple classics like pasta with red sauce or Chicken Puff Pastry Pot Pie sometimes as well.  Sometimes I stumble across dishes that Bill demands we add to the “list” of Manckwhite classics so he can enjoy it over and over again; one of the winners we recently found were these delicious Cheddar-Crusted Chicken Tenders!

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I made these delicious double-crusted chicken fingers for us to enjoy with our neighbor Keri during the 2013 NLL finals last weekend. While they may not know it, I think that this tasty dinner is what helped push the Rochester Knighthawks into their 2nd consecutive national title!
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We start with a simple buttermilk bath for our boneless, skinless chicken tenders, then move onto to a hearty double dredging in a tasty breadcrumb and cheese mixture. The combination of the crunchy panko breadcrumbs, light seasoned breadcrumbs and the cheddar cheese makes a wonderful coating that’s both flavorful and filling. By doubling up on the crusting, we get an extra crispy crunch that goes really well with the juicy chicken with its buttermilk tang. We cook these bad boys on a wire baking rack to make sure they stay crispy all the way around, no gooey breading here! Pop ’em in the oven for 20-24 minutes and you’ve got a family (and finger) friendly dinner that everyone will love.

Bill, Keri and I enjoyed our delicious tenders with sides of ranch dressing, ketchup and box lacrosse, but we also recommend trying these with barbecue sauce!

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Cheddar-Crusted Chicken Tenders

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned traditional bread crumbs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  1. Place chicken tenders in a large bowl and cover with buttermilk. Allow this to sit, in the refrigerator, for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 450° F. Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet.
  3. In a large bowl, combine panko and traditional bread crumbs, plus flour, salt, pepper, paprika and thyme and stir with a spoon. Fold in cheese.
  4. Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk and dredge through the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Dip breaded tender back in the buttermilk, dredge through breadcrumbs again, then lay on the wire rack and repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes on each side, flipping midway through.

Cheddar-CrustedChickenTenders
Based on a recipe from How Sweet Eats

Melty, Mixy Mexican Goodness: Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

Melty, Mixy Mexican Goodness: Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

So often, every recipe for Mexican food you run across is chockful of tortillas, refried beans and other delicious goods that we should probably try to enjoy in moderation. Enchiladas, tacos, burritos: all delicious and all tortilla-dependent!

That’s why I was so happy to come across this simple rice-based recipe for a tasty Mexican casserole-type entree on Tasty Kitchen. I made a few substitutions based on what I had handy in the kitchen and wound up with a tasty, easy weeknight dinner that we all loved.

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Chicken and rice are cooked beforehand, then combined with lean and healthy ingredients to make a wonderfully flavorful dish. The yogurt helps meld all the flavors together while keeping the whole dish moist and delicious. With a triple wallop of protein from the black beans, chicken and Greek yogurt, this meal will fill you up without weighing you down. It’s perfect for a night when your busy family needs fuel!

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

  • 2 cups chicken pieces, cut into 1″ pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups cooked long-grain rice
  • ¾ cups frozen corn
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ¼ cup taco sauce
  • 1½ cups Mexican blend cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350◦ F.
  2. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste and sauté until cooked through.
  3. In a large oven-safe dish, combine chicken, rice, corn, black beans, sour cream, salsa, taco sauce and 1 cup Mexican cheese and mix thoroughly to combine. Make sure the yogurt and cheese are stirred in throughout the entire bowl. Top with the reserved ½ cup of cheese.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.

CheesyChickenandRiceBake

adapted from from Tasty Kitchen

Healthy and Flavorful: Mediterranean Chicken Sausage Skillet

Healthy and Flavorful: Mediterranean Chicken Sausage Skillet

It’s time for another recipe from slightly questionable literary providence… I found this recipe in an ad within Real Simple magazine and gravitated towards it because a) it looked delicious and b) I had a package of garlic and rosemary chicken sausage languishing in the freezer that needed used. We had all of the other ingredients on hand, so this week we delved into the Mediterranean for dinner!

I just love the flavors in this easy skillet: fresh pops from the grapes, savory herbal tones from the basmati rice and spices, hearty rich flavors from the chicken sausage plus the creamy, almost-cheesey taste from the simple addition of Greek yogurt. This is one delicious, lean and healthy dinner!

Mediterranean Chicken Sausage Skillet

  • 12 ounces chicken sausage, cut into 1/2″ slices
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon sage, ground
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup almonds, slivered
  • 1 cup red grapes, quartered
  1. In a large saute pan, sauté oil and garlic for 3-5 minutes. Add the sausage slices to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, or until sausage is cooked and warmed through.
  2. Add rice, broth and sage to the pan and simmer 3-4 minutes. Add yogurt to the pan and stir well to coat, cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Season dish with salt and pepper. Fold in grapes and almonds.

MediterraneanChickenSausageSkillet

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!

Based on a recipe from Al Fresco sausage

Savory Citrus Sweetness: Marmalade Chicken

Savory Citrus Sweetness: Marmalade Chicken

Did you ever have to do a terrible school fundraiser? The cookie dough and chocolates were ok, but wrapping paper and magazines always seemed like the worst sell when you were knocking on neighbors’ doors. “Who really cares about People or Cosmo?” I used to think as I trudged from member to member at church dinners. Sure, I enjoyed the occasional Time when killing time at the library, but I was never a huge magazine person. Give me a nice book, loaded with words and stories that make my imagination soar and take longer than 15 minutes to read cover to cover.

Maybe something changed in my brain as I got older or maybe it was just the siren call of organization and recipes, but now I eagerly await the arrival of each month’s Real Simple magazine in my mailbox. Over the past few years I’ve harvested meal ideas, outfit inspiration and even gift revelations from the pages of this publication. When I saw today’s recipe in Real Simple last year, I immediately ripped it out and added it to my recipe folder for future use. It wasn’t until I already had marmalade on hand for last week’s Light Orange Beef and Broccoli that I remembered to dig this recipe out of the archive, but boy am I glad I did!

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A delicious sauce is quickly whipped up to coat chicken breasts; it’s already ready after just a few minutes on the grill! While this sauce is composed of 5 simple ingredients, the resulting flavor is anything but boring. The tart citrus of the orange marmalade marries with the distinctive savory notes of the balsamic vinegar to create a rich and refreshing flavor that’ll have you licking the plate for more. Since the thin cutlets cook up so quickly, you’ll have this summery dinner done in a flash to share with family and friends.

I recommend you serve this dish with a side of salad, rice or cous cous. We used Near East’s Pearled Cous Cous last night, and it was absolutely delicious! The larger grain makes for a hearty, healthy and filling side.

Marmalade Chicken

  • 4 thin chicken cutlets (1 pound)
  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Combine marmalade, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add chicken to the marmalade mixture and toss to coat well.
  3. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 2-4 minutes on each side.

Marmalade Chicken from Mancktastic!

Based on a recipe from Real Simple

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!