Tonight was rough. Although we are technically finished with our kitchen renovations, little dramas keep popping up. Last night, it was the outlets and the circuit breakers and tonight it was the leaking garbage disposal in the middle of dinner preparations. My poor husband is about to lose his mind and believe you me, I am not taking it easy on him. I said “poor guy” didn’t I?
Like many working moms, I live a C-AA-RAZY life! I get home at 6:30 (on a good night) and then the real race begins. I try and spend “quality” time with my son while I am making him a quick dinner. After dinner, it’s bath-time, story-time (this consists of me reading the title of a book and Griffin opening and closing the cover several times before I say “The End”) then bed-time. Somewhere in between bath time and story time, I have a spare 15 minutes to make dinner. Yes, somehow, we manage to eat dinner ourselves before we put or boy to sleep at 8:15pm. Like I said, C-AA-RAZY life! Tonight was extra nuts with the flood and all, but somehow I managed to make AND photograph this recipe.
After reading Chowmama’s recipe for a Spanish Tortilla (aka Tortilla Espanola) I was craving the food we had when we went to Spain. Except, all I had defrosted in the fridge was chicken tenders. The pantry was pretty pathetic too, but I did have cereal, a jar of roasted red peppers and what good Italian girl doesn’t have some garlic and olive oil on-hand at all times? In the midst of Niagara Falls in my kitchen, I came up with this recipe.
Coating chicken or fish in a cereal crust is a great way to make your food extra crunchy without having to fry it. If you haven’t tried it before, you must! And this roasted red pepper sauce was loosely inspired by the delicious Romesco sauce that is a Catalonian staple. Romesco is DELICIOUS! I say my sauce is “loosely” inspired by the traditional Romesco Sauce because, I only had 5 of the 9 ingredients needed to make a proper Romesco Sauce on-hand. Still, my husband said it was “pretty good” (“pretty good” in my husbands world means it was a HIT! more on why this term erks me another time-LOL.).
This sauce is good with almost anything. Pour it over chicken, fish, red meat, you name it. It’s even delicious spread on a nice piece of crusty bread and eaten as a snack. If you have more time and the ingredients on-hand, give the real version a try. But I gotta say, my stressed out, empty pantry version was pretty darn good too. Plus, who doesn’t LOVE dipping anything into sauce? My Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce is a great way to get your kids or husband out of the ketchup rut and it’s WAY more nutritious.
Cereal Crusted Chicken Tenders with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce
Serves 2-4 people (depending on how hungry you are)
8 chicken tenders
2 large eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups cornflake type cereal, crushed (I used and LOVE with this new Newman’s Own Cereal)
1 (6.5 ounce) jar roasted red peppers (I used the Goya kind which yields about 3 medium sized peppers)
1 medium sized clove of garlic
1/4 c, flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon, red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon, red pepper flakes
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray foil with cooking spray or rub with olive oil.
2. Place the chicken tenders in a bowl with the beaten eggs. Make sure the tenders are completely coated in the beaten egg. Dip each of the tenders one at a time into the crushed cereal. Press the chicken firmly into the cereal crumbs so that the coating sticks well.
3. Place the tenders on the prepared baking sheet and spray again with cooking spray. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce.
4. Place the red peppers, garlic, parsley and the red wine vinegar in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. With the motor running, stream in the olive oil. Add in the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Serve chicken with sauce drizzled on top or put the sauce in a small bowl for your dipping pleasure.
TIP: Add some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to the cereal crumbs before you coat the chicken for some crunchy, cheesy goodness.