Friday, September 16, 2011

Baked Parmesan Chicken Tenders and Lemon Zucchini Noodles

Claire needed a week off, so Myndi, who has been taking care of my kids for nearly 5 years, helped me with this meal. The veggies are mixed in with the noodles, but I still like to serve it with a salad. It was a big hit with the twins, who kept asking for more "noo-noo" (noodles) and "bawk bawk" (chicken). Of course, it turns out that many of the noo-noo were ending up in hair and down shirts, but I'm pretty sure they got a good meal anyway. Bawk bawk!
That's homemade ranch dressing from the previous post.
You can use it as dip, too if you want.

Baked Parmesan Chicken Tenders
This recipe was adapted from thefresh20.com. It's easy to make and delicious.  My son dipped his chicken in ketchup.  If you have any leftovers, they are also great for a quick lunch or sandwich the next day!

Prebaked...
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into palm-sized pieces of even thickness
1 egg
2 T Dijon mustard
3/4 c (whole wheat or panko) bread crumbs
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and oregano in a small shallow bowl. Whisk the egg and mustard with 2 T water.  Dip the pieces of chicken into the egg/mustard mixture, and evenly coat with breadcrumbs.  Arrange on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until the chicken is done.
Crunchy hot delicious!

Lemon Zucchini Noodles
I really love zucchini noodles, which is good because I still have a lot of zucchini.  When mixed with whole wheat spaghetti, which can sometimes taste like corrugated cardboard strips, it adds moisture and a lightness without adding significant calories. I used a whole lemon with the zest as well, and happened to score some lovely grape tomatoes from Nicole at work, so I threw those in too.  This would also be a great Meatless Monday main dish or side dish.
I had to include this prep picture because it was so tantalizing.

1/2 package of (whole wheat) spaghetti, about 8 oz
1 medium zucchini (do not peel)
1 c grape tomatoes, quartered
1 1/2 c spinach, chopped
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Cook the spaghetti noodles as directed on the package. While you are waiting, zest the entire zucchini until you have a pile of zucchini noodles (see picture). In a large pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil and add garlic.  Stir and add zucchini, noodles, and lemon juice/zest. (The best cooking tool for this is a pair of long chopsticks, but failing that, try tongs.) Add the tomatoes and spinach, and toss in the pan for another minute until the spinach is wilted.

It looks like pasta and tastes like pasta, but it's half vegetables!


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