Chicken tenders you can feel good about feeding the kids! These healthy Gluten-Free Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken Tenders are top 8 allergy-free, require no oil, and are baked in the oven. This easy, crispy, crunchy coating with a kick of spice will be your new go-to dinner recipe!
Just as with chicken nuggets, chicken tenders are a must in any family household. A good crunchy coating is always a perfect way to turn bland and boring naked chicken tenders into something more like to restaurant-style chicken fingers. But when you’re cooking for a family with celiac disease and food allergies, while also wanting to serve healthier recipes for dinner…what’s one to do?
My brother and I were NOT picky eaters growing up. We ate any and everything (especially me). I would actually get offended when I was given the “kid’s menu” in restaurants. You can say I was a “budding foodie” at a young age. Without fail, all kid’s menus included chicken tenders, grilled cheese, mac & cheese, and spaghetti with tomato sauce. WOW. How exciting. Sorry, but I have working taste buds and actually want the culinary experience you deserve when you go out to a restaurant to eat. I bet you can already tell that I’m one of those people who firmly believes “kid’s menus” should NOT be a thing.
Kid’s menus keep children from expanding the palette and having any chance at being adventurous eaters. Your children WILL continue to be a picky eater if they only experience a small selection of foods. Let them dive deep and try it all! Now, throw in the whole celiac disease and food allergy dilemma on top of that and the kid’s menu is pretty much out of the questions, regardless. The kid’s menu is just a list of gluten-filled carbs, oil, sodium, sugar, and cheese (always cheese). Here’s an idea: If restaurants insist on a kid’s menu, why not make the kid’s “options” just parred down, smaller versions of the “adult” dishes? Expanding the food options leads to that adventurous eating and gives more options for those with food allergies (possibly healthier too, but restaurants aren’t exactly healthy to begin with…that’s another discussion for another time.)
Since I advocate for always eating at home, here’s a recipe for something, chicken tenders, common on the kid’s menu but 100% healthier, more exciting in terms of flavors and ingredients, acceptable for everyone in the family (including the adults), and is gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, tree nut and peanut-free. Not to mention, they’re baked, not fried. Serve them with a smattering of homemade ketchup and you have a much better tortilla chip crusted chicken tender that will put any restaurant chicken tenders to shame! Adding a bit of spices and a small dash of hot sauce to amp of the flavor. You can easily modify by adding more or less, but I kept the spice level very, very mild.
Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken Tenders
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a bowl, combine the mayo and hot sauce, mix to combine.
- Pour out the crusted tortilla chips onto a plate and mix in the spices.
- Take each chicken tender and first dip in the spicy mayo, then roll in the crushed tortilla chips, before placing in a seasoned cast iron skillet or greased baking dish.
- Bake the coated tenders in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is throughly cooked through.
See? These will please kids, adults, celiac and food allergy folks, an any budding foodie out there! Yes, we all love the classics, like chicken tenders, but we can make them better, more adventurous, healthy, and appealing. It doesn’t take that much effort and until restaurants start paying more attention to their younger patrons, well, I think cooking up the goods at home, like these gluten-free tortilla chip crusted chicken tenders, is the way to go!
So tell me:
+ What’s your stance on the “kid’s menu”?
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