Healthy chicken nuggets & fries? Oh yes my friends, it’s true.

I think that my dinner on Monday night might have been one of my favorites.  Maybe that’s because I’m freaking in love with sweet potato fries.  Maybe it’s because I could drink honey mustard dipping sauce.  Maybe it’s because I think chicken strips are amazing.  Or maybe it’s because all of those things were combined into one meal.

When I was meal planning on Sunday I was looking around for chicken recipes that involved almond flour.  I bought some at Trader Joe’s a while ago and have been trying to find a way to use it on chicken.  And I found this one, from Dr. Oz and I was inspired.

But Dr. Oz has you dredge the chicken in mustard and chop up almonds.  That seemed a little more work than I wanted to do (and I still wanted to use my almond flour) so I kept looking but at least I had an idea of what dinner was going to shape up to be. Instead of the slices, I knew I wanted sweet potato fries and since I roast sweet potatoes all the time, I figured making fries couldn’t be that hard.

Sweet Potato (maybe yam) Fries
I preheated the oven too 400, and drizzled some olive oil on the pan (mostly so the “fries” wouldn’t stick).  Then I chopped up 1 sweet potato (although as I write this I realize it may have been a yam…oh well, still delicious) into thin fry-like strips.  I tossed the strips plus some olive oil and 1 teaspoon each of garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper along with about 1/4 teaspoon sea salt into a zip-lock baggie and mixed it all up.  Then I spread the fries out on the pan and baked them for about 30 min.  I kept tossing them to keep them from sticking.  They weren’t as crispy as I would have liked (too much oil..next time use less) but I needed the oven for the rest of the dinner so I pulled them out and set them aside.

After I took the fries out, I put my asparagus in the oven – still at 400.  Super easy – washed the spears and used the misto to spray on olive oil and then added sea salt, garlic and red pepper flakes – all to taste.  To be honest, this was the part of dinner I like least.  I tried to re-create the recipe Chris does for asparagus on the grill but I think I failed.  They weren’t bad, but I just don’t think roasted asparagus can hold up to the grilled variety.

And now that my veggies and starch were about done, I was ready for my protein.  Still looking to find a use of my almond meal, I had finally found this recipe.  And I added some spices.  Ding Ding Ding Ding.  Winner.

Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders (adapted from Fitness-for-u.com)
Serves 2

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp. paprika (not smoked or hot)
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 400F (already like that from the veggies).  Spray a baking sheet liberally with olive oil (so the nuggets don’t stick).

Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts, then cut each breast into nugget or strip pieces.  Use a meat mallet or something heavy (I only had a rolling pin) to pound the thicker nugget pieces so they’re all the same thickness.  Combine the almond meal, paprika, pepper, salt, and pepper in a bowl, mixing together well.  Dip each nugget piece into the almond meal mixture, pressing on with your fingers so it coats the chicken.

When all nuggets are coated, lay them on the baking sheet and cook 8-10 minutes, or until the side touching the pan is lightly browned.  Remove pan from oven, turn nuggets, and bake 10-12 minutes more on the second side, until nuggets are lightly browned and cooked through.  (Don’t overcook….I was paranoid about this so I kept checking mine but 20 min total seems about right).

And while the chicken was in the oven I made the dipping sauce.  So good and so simple!  I just mixed Dijon and sweet spicy mustard with a little honey and a tiny bit of rice wine vinegar.  Sorry, I didn’t measure anything, just kept adding until it tasted good.  I’ll write it down next time.  Promise.

I ended up broiling (500F) the nuggets for about 5 min just to give them a little more crisp and when those were done, tossed my fries back in under the broiler for a couple more minutes.  Overall this dinner was a little more time consuming than I would have liked.  Next time I make it, I’ll chop up the chicken and sweet potato the night before just so I can get everything in the oven faster.  And I think we’d want to do salad instead of asparagus.  Or at least be able to grill it.

Seriously.  Such a good dinner.  I felt like I was out at some fast food restaurant, dipping my chicken nuggets and fries in my sauce but this time it was all made with real, un-processed, healthy food.

I feel like I’m still behind and out of order so I’m not going to write about my workout today because it feels weird to be talking about Monday’s dinner but Tuesday’s workout.  But I did want to pass along a challenge that the Tone It Up Girls are doing.  It’s an 8 week plan to get you in shape for bikini season.  It started Monday so you can still catch up.  I actually haven’t done any of their workouts yet but I think they look great.  Definitely worth checking out if you need some new ideas.

Here is today’s routine:

And speaking of challenges, Bess over at Bess Be Fit is challenging everyone to stretch for 7 days.  I’m doing the challenge (don’t hate me for just telling you about it now, you can still start and go Wednesday to Wednesday) and even though I have to foam roll like crazy for my PT, this challenge has been extra motivation to really stretch out more sore muscles. In fact, I’m off to do that right now!

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