FINGER LICKIN’ MAIN DISH – Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Strips

A homemade alternative to products such as McNuggets with reduced fat and calorie content.

     Dickinson County PAT (Parents As Teachers) participants explored strategies for successful mealtime experiences and put together the components for a nutritious take-home meal during AT THE TABLE workshops held on September 29, 2011. Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Strips is one of those recipes they prepared.
    For additional information about the workshop and additional resources (+ more photos), go to PAT's website - Food & Nutrition page @
     Funding for this workshop was provided by a grant from Kansas Parents As Teachers Association (KPATA) and Methodist Health Ministry Fund.

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Strips     4 adult size servings (about 8 child-size servings)
Crispy, Parmesan-flecked chicken tenders dipped in marinara sauce is an easy dinner the whole family will love. Dipping them in a Ranch dip or a mixture of plain yogurt with chopped fresh basil would be tasty too. We suggest serving them with raw veggies & dip + slices of whole wheat bread, a glass of milk and frozen bananas for dessert. The magazine’s serving suggestion: Serve with sautéed green beans and roasted sweet potato wedges. Source: EatingWell Magazine: September/October 2010
Prep Time: 10 min / Bake Time: 20 min

Canola or olive oil cooking spray
¼ cup whole wheat flour (regular or white whole wheat)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (or low-fat buttermilk could be substituted)
½ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup coarse dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (we used Panko)
About 1 pound chicken tenders or chicken breast cut into strips
Dip of your choice, if desired: heated marinara sauce, Ranch dip, yogurt w/ chopped basil

1.     Preheat oven to 450°F. Cover baking pan w/ foil or parchment paper; coat with cooking spray.
2.     Mix flour with Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt in a shallow dish. Lightly beat eggs in another shallow dish. Combine Parmesan and breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish. Coat each tender in flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then roll in the breadcrumb mixture. 

      Place the tenders on the prepared pan. Generously coat the top of each tender with cooking spray (this helps brown the coating as it bakes).
3.     Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each tender over and coat with cooking spray. Continue baking until the outside is crisp and the tenders are cooked through, about 10 minutes more. 

      Serve the tenders with your choice of dipping sauces, if desired.

*EatingWell suggests using coarse dry whole-wheat “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets. Or, to make your own breadcrumbs, trim crusts from firm sandwich bread. Tear the bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. (To make fine dry breadcrumbs, process until very fine.) Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs.

Nutritional Analysis: Per adult serving : 293 Calories, 8g Fat (3g Sat; 2g Mono; 140mg Cholesterol), 22g Carbohydrates, 31g Protein, 3g Fiber, 603mg Sodium, 465mg Potassium.

Participants prepare a veggie dip (above & below) -- recipe for dip is posted @

Others (above & below) prep fresh veggies.

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