While the genesis of our dinners were the same (can, freezer, or take-out menu), the actual food varied quite a bit. I stuck mostly to frozen entrees like Eggo waffles, pierogies with kielbasa or Bagel Bites with a can of green beans (what, you don’t consider Bagel Bites an entree?).
Eric on the other hand, has been known to consume a bag of frozen chicken tenders for dinner. Or a bag of Ore Ida fries. Or occasionally both! Sometimes he would polish off a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream as an appetizer. He was working out a lot back then, so he had the kind of metabolism that would make women weep with envy.
Eric actually met and started dating his wife during those days and I knew he’d found a keeper when I saw her match him in the kitchen, can of chili for can of chili.
Eric and Shannon tailgating for a Hokie football game
Despite how good those chicken tenders and fries smelled when Eric cooked them, I was never much of a chicken tender fan. Until I stumbled on these babies. They redefine “chicken tender” and the honey mustard flavor is unexpected and delicious. Bonus: they’re from Hungry Girl so they’re healthy!
The pretzel coating gives it the crunch you associate with chicken tenders without requiring a deep fryer. Plus the sweetness of the honey mustard flavoring goes perfectly with the saltiness of the pretzels. The only modification I made to this recipe was that I used a food processor to crush the pretzels. I served these with a side of fresh broccoli and an awesome spring salad of mixed greens, strawberries, mandarin oranges and Raspberry Walnut dressing.
Happy Eating! And if you have any other healthy “fake out” recipes that you’d recommend, share them in the comments below.
Hungry Girl's Honey Mustard Pretzel-Coated Chicken Fingers
6 T. honey mustard
4 T. fat-free liquid egg substitute
10 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4 strips (or just buy a package of boneless skinless chicken tenders)
salt and pepper
2 ounces (about 20 twists) hard salted pretzels (I use honey mustard wheat pretzels)
4 t. granulated sugar
Mix honey mustard and egg substitute together in a small bowl. Season the chicken strips with salt and pepper, then submerge in the mustard-egg mixture. Set aside to marinate for at least 5 minutes.
Crush pretzels and mix with granulated sugar. It’s ok if the pretzels don’t all get crushed up. I actually like it better with some variety. Spread the mixture out on a plate or in a shallow dish.
Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Thoroughly coat chicken strips with the pretzel-sugar mixture, and then transfer to the baking sheet. Discard the remaining mustard-egg mixture.
Mist the tops of the strips with non-stick spray. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping chicken about half way, until chicken is cooked through.
Note: completely forgot to mist the strips with cooking spray and flip them halfway. Just know that yours will look even better than the pictures!
Per serving: 349 calories, 2.5g fat, 928mg sodium, 39g carbs, 1g fiber, 13.5g sugars, 37g protein