Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders

Ok, friends.  I have never, ever, EVER had a better chicken tender in my life, than the ones that came from this recipe.  Oh man.  OH MAN.  How much more repetitive can I get?  They were so perfect.  So crispy.  So flavourful.  So amazing.  I wanted to eat 20.  But I didn’t (obviously).
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This crispy baked chicken tenders recipe comes from Tina’s Chic Corner, and it was divine.  I know the toasted panko had something to do with it.  Panko is amazing on its own, but toasted…heavenly.  Also the mustard.  A nice little kick!  And those spices.  Great combination.
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I have made A LOT of chicken in my life (prior to this blog, as well as featured on this blog) and moreover, I have eaten a lot of chicken tenders, made by others.  This recipe outshines them all.  I sound like a crazy person, ranting about the greatness of these chicken tenders, but please.  Make them.  Then invite me over for dinner so that I can eat them again!
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Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders

serves 2

Ingredients:
-cooking spray
-1cu panko bread crumbs
-1tbsp oil
-salt and pepper, for chicken seasoning
-1/2lb chicken breast, cut into tender-strips (or 1/2lb already-cut tenders)
-1/4cu all-purpose flour
-1/2tsp garlic powder
-1/4tsp cayenne pepper
-1 egg
-1/2tbsp water
-1/2tbsp mustard (I used dijon)
-1/8tsp dried thyme

Directions:
-1.Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
-Line a baking sheet with tin foil and place a wire rack on top (I don’t have a wire rack, and it still worked out ok). Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
-Season the chicken breast tenderloins with salt and pepper and set them aside
-In a skillet, heat oil on medium. Add the panko bread crumbs and cook until the crumbs are gold brown, stirring constantly.
-In a bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, mustard, and thyme. Once the panko bread crumbs have been toasted, transfer them to another bowl. Set them aside until ready to use.
-Line up the bowls in order (flour bowl, egg bowl, panko bowl), then dredge each chicken tender in each bowl, making sure to shake off excess flour or batter.
-When each chicken tender is complete, place on the wire rack (or just on the sprayed foil).
-Spritz the chicken with some cooking spray and cook them for about 12 minutes, or until cooked through.

Other chicken tenders/nuggets recipes seen on Never The Same Dish:

-Baked Chicken Tenders

-Sweet Chicken Nuggets

-Crispy Barbecue Chicken Fingers (actually, these are probably a close second, for amazingness!)

Parmesan Tilapia

It is almost the end of Lent and Easter is almost upon us!  I have managed to stay away from all cell phone/facebook games for the entire season of Lent…Candy Crush Saga, “with friends” games, and, most notably, Pet Rescue Saga.  I feel so lame just typing it out.  One of my really good friends also gave up Candy Crush Saga, so I know she feels my pain! ;)
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In any case, if you are searching for some more pescatarian recipes (or “fishovarian,” as I’ve always liked to call it) to tide you over until Lent is over, look no further, than this fantastic parmesan tilapia dish by The Girl Who Ate Everything.  Granted, I have never practiced giving up meat for holy days, as my own Christian faith does not call for that, but I know many people, of many faiths, who do, so I am happy to offer up some yummy fishy dishes! =)
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This meal will be on your table in, literally, just a few minutes, so it’s also a FAST dinner!  I paired it with corn, but you can pair it with rice, quinoa, etc…fish, in and of itself, is incredibly healthy, however adding in the mayo, cheese, and butter kind of amped-up the calorie count, hence I decided to make the side dish light.

In sum, it’s so good.  It’s fish.  It’s quick.  It’s simple.  It’s moist.  It’s creamy.  It’s flavourful.  It’s…well…everything!
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Ok, one side note.  Broiling.  This has always been tough for me, since my broiler has two options, low and high.  If I broil something on high, it burns in about 30 seconds.  I am not sure if the low setting gets the same effect.  Other broilers (like my mother’s) have one heat setting.  I have found that every single recipe I’ve read involving a broiler, does not specify the low or high setting, making it a bit frustrating.  In any case, I broiled on low, and then turned it to high in the last 1-2 minutes (watching it like a hawk for burning).  Let me know if you have any suggestions for me!
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Parmesan Tilapia

serves 2

Ingredients:
-1/4cu Parmesan cheese
-1/8cu unsalted butter, softened
-1.5tbsp mayonnaise
-1tbsp fresh lemon juice
-1/8tsp dried basil
-1/8tsp ground black pepper
-shake of onion powder
-shake of celery salt (I omitted this cuz I don’t have any)
-2 tilapia fillets (4-6oz each)

Directions:
-Preheat the broiler. Line a pan with aluminum foil, and spray foil.
-In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
-Arrange fillets on the pan.
-Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes.
-Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side.
-Broil for 2-3 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork.

Other parmesan fish recipes seen on Never The Same Dish:

-Parmesan Tilapia (different recipe than above)

Other fish recipes seen on Never The Same Dish:

-Crispy Baked Fish Sticks with Homemade Tartar Sauce

-Pan Fried Halibut, Lemon Butter, and Dandelion Greens

-Lemon Garlic Fish

-Crispy Oven-Fried Fish

-Fried Fish Sandwich with Spicy Mayo and Pickles

-Crispy Panko Fish with Orange Sesame Sauce

-Tuna and Pesto Sandwich

-Swai Burgers with Watermelon Salsa

-Healthy Homemade Fish Sticks

-Potato-Crusted Salmon

-Seared Ahi Tuna and Green Bean Salad

-Barbecue Salmon Burgers

-Tilapia Peach Packets

-Tilapia and Gnocchi with White Cream Sauce

-Pan-Seared Tilapia

-Tilapia Fish Tacos

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

I was not able to eat chicken teriyaki for 3-4 years, until recently.  Prior to The Incident, I loooooved teriyaki chicken (either ordered as spicy, or just dolled up with lots of sriracha sauce on my own).  Being from the Seattle area, there is no shortage of teriyaki.  There is a teriyaki joint on every corner (right next to Starbucks, of course).  It was one of the many things that fascinated my husband every time he visited the northwest, and now living here.  I don’t think there’s a single teriyaki restaurant in upstate New York (they serve it, at other Asian restaurants, but I don’t think there are any restaurants specifically for it).

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(the sauce, simmering on the stove)

So, you may be curious as to what The Incident is.  Well.  When I was living in a Seattle neighbourhood several years ago, I had been on a no fast food program (and by program, I mean I just gave up fast food) for a few years, and there was one night that I was famished, I didn’t have time or want to cook upon arriving home, everything was closed, etc. and it was about 9:30pm.  Only thing open?  Fast food.  I passed a teriyaki restaurant by my apartment that was miraculously still open, so I stopped in.  It was empty, and appeared to be almost closing, but I ordered up, took my food home, went to my room, opened the carton and took a bite of…chewy, nasty chicken.  Also, while at the restaurant, I heard the guy in the back room, and I heard the CHOP CHOP CHOP of the chicken and it just reminded me of some horror movie, or decapitating a live chicken, or God knows what.  I spit out the food in my mouth, dumped the entire container in the trash, and proceeded to not eat teriyaki for over 3 years.  Yes, I’m a little crazy.

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In any case, the other month I had spicy chicken teriyaki and it was absolutely divine.  So I think the curse is broken!  Though I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the place mentioned above.  And this entire, semi-gross story leads me into the topic of this post, which was slow cooker teriyaki chicken by Gimme Some Oven

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It is quick, it relatively simple, and does not use sugar!  Granted, it uses honey, which is very high in calories (but a “healthier” option than straight sugar).  It was pretty sweet, I gotta admit.  I doused mine up with sriracha sauce, of course, but my husband could only eat one bowlful of the sauce (which I guess is good, cuz of proper portions!).  But it definitely had the distinct taste of restaurant teriyaki sauce (minus the chicken actually being seared on a hot grill or stove).

I do have to add that this is one of those “high maintenance” crock pot recipes, which kind of irritates me, because the purpose of using a crock pot is to be LOW maintenance – but some people have crock pots with timers, which I’m sure would come in handy, or if you are home during the day or have a spouse, friend, or child that can pop in and turn it on halfway through the day, then it’ll be ready when you walk in the door after a hard day’s work!

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Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

serves 2-4

Ingredients:
-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/4cu chopped white onion
-1/4cu honey
-1/4cu low sodium soy sauce
-1/8cu rice wine vinegar
-1/2tbsp chopped fresh ginger
-ground pepper, to taste
-1/8cu cold water
-1.5tbsp cornstarch
(optional toppings: sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds)

Directions:
-Put chicken breasts in a single layer on the bottom of your crock pot.
-In a separate bowl, whisk together the garlic, onion, honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and black pepper until combined. Pour the mixture on top of the chicken breasts. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily with a fork. Remove the chicken (minus sauce) to a separate bowl and shred it using two forks. Transfer the remaining teriyaki sauce from the slow cooker to a medium saucepan.
-Meanwhile in a separate bowl, whisk together the cold water and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved and not lumpy. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the teriyaki sauce mixture, and whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, then let it continue to boil for about 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and pour the sauce on top of the shredded chicken. Toss to combine.
-Serve topped with scallions and toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Balsamic Sesame Chicken Salad Wraps

I have been really sick for the past 5 days.  If you know me at all, you probably are not shocked.  I catch colds and sicknesses the way other people catch…well, I don’t know what.  But you know what I mean.  If someone around me is sick, then I will definitely get sick.  If no one around me is sick, then I will definitely get sick.  You’d think daily exercise, proper nutrition, and good sleep hygiene would boost my immune system, but it doesn’t.
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I made these balsamic sesame chicken salad wraps by Bake Your Day a few weeks ago, because I wanted to make something easy and light.  Well, this is all of the above.  The only issue is that it was kind of bland.  And very dry.  I even added extra liquid ingredients, to zest and liquify it a bit, but that didn’t help.  I am going to post the ingredients as-is, but as a warning, you may want to double the liquid ingredients, add more liquids in, or find an additional glaze (or dipper) to use.

I will say that I loved using the chow mein noodles!  I’m not sure if I have ever bought them before, and they were so yummy, adding a nice crunch!  Now I have a huge container that I need to use up, and I’m looking forward to it.
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Balsamic Sesame Chicken Salad Wraps

serves 2

Ingredients:
-2 small chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
-2tbsp balsamic vinegar
-1tbsp soy sauce
-1tsp sesame oil
-1tsp toasted sesame seeds
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1tsp dried chives
-1tbsp honey
-1/4cu chow mein noodles

Directions:
-Heat balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until thickened.
-While the mixture above heats up, mix the other ingredients together in a large bowl, stirring well.
-When balsamic mixture is ready, pour over the dry ingredients, stirring more.
-Serve on bread, in tortillas, etc.

Buffalo Wing Turkey Lettuce Wraps

I forgot about this recipe.  I had been trying to get my blog updated, and somehow overlooked this delicious and simple Buffalo Wing Turkey Lettuce Wrap recipe by The Girl Who Ate Everything.
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Honestly, there’s not a lot to say about this dish.  It’s delicious.  It’s simple.  It’s fairly healthy.  Not to mention, I am pretty sure that I’ve never had a bad experience with The Girl Who Ate Everything’s recipes!

The recipe calls for blue cheese dressing or blue cheese crumbles.  I used crumbles, but I think having a dressing would make it a bit more zesty and less dry.  But either way – it was good!
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Another side note is that I did not use iceburg lettuce, as the recipe calls for.  I know a lot of the lettuce cup recipes call for iceburg, but it’s hard for me to justify – if I’m having a healthy dinner, I’d prefer a higher nutritional content!  I ended up using green leaf lettuce, which is not the most cup-esque of leafy greens, but it still did the trick!
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Buffalo Wing Turkey Lettuce Wraps

serves 4

Ingredients:
-1lb lean ground turkey
-1/2cu onion, finely diced
-1tsp minced garlic
-3/4cu carrot shavings
-1cu celery, sliced thinly
-1 head iceberg lettuce, leaves removed to form cups (or use another leaf, if you prefer)
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1/2cu Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce
-Blue cheese crumbles or blue cheese dressing to drizzle over the top

Directions:
-In a large skillet, saute the onions over medium heat until soft (3-4 minutes). Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add ground turkey, season with a dash of salt and pepper, brown meat and cook until cooked through. Drain any grease if necessary.
-Return meat to pan and stir in the wing sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer for a couple of minutes.
-Prepare lettuce cups. Place spoonful of meat into lettuce cup, top with carrot shavings and chopped celery. Sprinkle with some blue cheese crumbles and/or dressing. Wrap up and eat.

Crispy Baked Fish Sticks with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Happy April Fools Day!! PSA of the day: Please don’t play mean tricks on people.
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Typing right after painting your nails is not really the best idea.  Just sayin.’  In any case, I will risk smudging my “gunmetal” nails in order to post this delicious crispy baked fish sticks with homemade tartar sauce recipe by The Lemon Bowl.
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Some of the fish sticks kind of turned into fish nuggets, because my tilapia fillets were a bit thin, so they broke a bit more, but they were no less delicious!  There is something strangely comforting about homemade fish sticks and I just cannot put my finger on it.  I think my next dish to master will be fish and chips…and that is perhaps WHY I enjoy making fish sticks so much.  I adore fish and chips (though I don’t eat it often, actually), but replicating a restaurant version at home seems tricky and…fattening.  Haha.  But maybe soon it will appear on Never The Same Dish!
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The tartar sauce, on the other hand, was good…but it wasn’t tartar sauce.  It was more like pickle-flavoured yogurt.  I think that the original blogger chose low-fat yogurt in order to healthify the recipe, but the actual tartar sauce element was definitely lost.  That being said, it still made a yummy dipping sauce, but just don’t be fooled by the title.

Another side note.  I did not use lemon zest.  I didn’t want to buy a lemon just to use the zest and toss the rest, so for some random and incorrect reason, I decided to use just a bit of lemon juice instead.  To be clear, you should not add lemon juice to your panko.  Nothing really bad happened, but as you can imagine, the dry mixture is dry for a reason, and the panko did not stick to the fish as well as it could have.  But at least I got the lemon flavour!
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Crispy Baked Fish Sticks with Homemade Tartar Sauce

serves 2

Ingredients:
For the fish
-8-10oz white fish (I used tilapia, but any white fish will do, and I used three 4oz fillets)
-1 egg
-1/2cu panko bread crumbs
-1tsp garlic powder
-3/4tsp salt (divided)
-1/4tsp cracked black pepper
-zest of one lemon
For the tartar sauce
1/2cu plain yogurt – low fat
-2tbsp finely chopped dill pickle
-1tbsp pickle juice
-1tbsp lemon juice
-salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
-Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
-Set out two shallow dishes. In the first dish, whisk one egg until light and fluffy.
-Combine panko, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt (or just a shake or two, like I typically do), pepper and lemon zest in the second dish.
-Sprinkle both sides of the fish strips with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Dip fish in egg then coat evenly with panko mixture. Place on lined baking sheet.
-Spray fish sticks with cooking spray then bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
-Make the tartar sauce while fish is baking by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerating until ready to serve.

Other fish sticks also seen on Never The Same Dish:

-Healthy Homemade Fish Sticks

 

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Let’s face it.  Macaroni and cheese is delicious.  I’ll be honest, my husband makes a mean Kraft macaroni and cheese dinner.  I know, I know, it’s cheap, pre-packaged, blah blah blah, how could it be amazing, but there is something about the way he mixes the sauce that is better than I’ve ever done it…I wish I was kidding, but I’m not.  Besides, if everyone was more honest, then I am sure other people would agree that sometimes pre-packaged food hits the spot!

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But there are other times when you want the real deal.  And this, my friends, is the real deal.  I have made homemade mac’n’cheese a few times and this was one of the more successful times.  Though I will say, the less-successful times were at no fault of the recipe itself, rather because I did something to mess it up.  I have heard from others that it can be difficult to get the roux just right, or the creaminess just right, and I do agree!  I feel that it is an acquired talent, and one that I am working on.  Baked, or homemade in general, mac’n’cheese always tastes the best at a restaurant, but that won’t stop me from trying!

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I was a bit worried at first, because as you can see in one of the pictures, the start of the roux looked a bit…clumpy…but add in the cheese and other liquids, and it was so perfect and creamy!  Just what I was going for!  This recipe made A LOT of pasta, and we had leftovers for days, which were not as creamy after being refrigerated then reheated, but still tasty.

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This Lighter Backed Macaroni and Cheese from Skinnytaste called for spinach, which is an interesting (and healthy) flair, but I omitted it because I do not at all liked cooked, wilted spinach.  To be clear, I love spinach, especially in salads, but I much prefer it raw.

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One thing I’d like to add is that I’m amazed at how filling it was.  I do not think I have ever been this filled from just macaroni and cheese.  A serving is one cup, and I ended up having a half-serving of seconds, because it was so yummy, but I definitely did not need it.  I know they say that whole wheat pasta is more filling than white pasta, but I almost always use whole wheat pasta and I had never been so full from it before.  I am not sure why, but I’ll take it!  Side note: this homemade version is also far lower in calories than its Kraft counterpart!

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Side note: The final product looks a wee bit burnt, but I promise, it wasn’t at all.  I left it in under the broiler for about a minute longer than I intended!

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Lighter Baked Macaroni and Cheese

serves 6+

Ingredients:
-12oz whole wheat elbow macaroni (I just used a whole box, which was 13.25oz)
-2tbsp butter
-1/4cu flour
-1/4cu minced onion
-2cu skim milk
-1cu fat free chicken broth (I’ve never actually found fat free chicken broth, but I use low sodium broth)
-8oz 2% reduced fat mild cheddar (I used sharp – way better)
-salt and pepper
-4cu baby spinach (I omitted)
-1/8cu grated parmesan (I don’t even know if they make 1/8 measuring cups…but I definitely upped to 1/4!)
-1/4cu seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs
-cooking spray

Directions:
-Cook pasta according to package directions. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375°.
-Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt butter. Add flour and cook over low heat stirring with a whisk. Add onion and cook for another 2 minutes. Add milk and chicken broth and continue whisking, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.
-Once it becomes thick, remove from heat, add cheese and mix well until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, then add cooked macaroni and baby spinach. Pour into the baking dish. Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more spray on top.
-Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for a few minutes to get the breadcrumbs golden.

Other Mac’n’Cheese Recipes seen on Never The Same Dish:

-Truffle Oil Bacon Macaroni and Cheese (this is actually the best meal ever – I got excited just re-reading the post).

-Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese