pecan crusted chicken fingers


nutty & crunchy with a honey dijon dipping sauce

When I looked into my pantry this afternoon and realized I didn’t have panko (Japanese bread crumbs) – I knew there was no way I was leaving the house again with pie-pie and the boss. We had just spent the whole morning at mommy baby yoga, braving a Costco shopping trip (super fun loading and unloading that with the two of them!), and our weekly visit to the library.  It seems like our Monday mornings are jammed packed (I can’t help it! I just want to get everything done in one shot) but then I just love getting to chill, bake, and play at home all afternoon with them. So with the no panko situation, I considered blending up some bread to make breadcrumbs, but then I saw a bag of pecans in our pantry and thought it might be pretty delicious to coat chicken with this buttery and rich nut.  Actually – I guess this makes this recipe gluten free (again, I’m not on the train but hey, cutting refined wheat and subbing in something with more nutrition is always a win). They really turned out and the kids got to help out by smashing the pecans into little bits:)  We will definitely be making these again, and will probably buy less panko!

juicy and tender inside

prep time:  30 minutes   bake time: 15 minutes   yield:  serves 4

what you need:

  • 3 chicken breasts (boneless & skinless)
  • 3 large eggs, plus a splash of milk
  • 1 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 2 1/2 cups pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 tbsp raw honey
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard

what to do:

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor (I used my ninja) – blend oats and 1 1/2 cup pecans, until fine. It might stick together a little bit due to the fat in the pecans, sort of clumpy. Just use your fingers to break it apart a little and it will be okay.
  3. Place 2 1/2 cup pecans in a ziplock bag and smash it up roughly into smaller pieces – use a rolling pin or heavy pan (be careful don’t smash your tile!). You could use your food processor and pulse just 1-2x, but make sure you have nice good sized pieces for crunch and a chunky texture.
  4. Set up your prep station – you’ll need 3 shallow dishes.  One for the fine pecan mixture, one for 3 eggs (beaten well with a fork, with the milk), and one for the bigger pecan pieces.  Place your lined baking sheets near this.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 F (or 400 F if you have a convection oven).
  6. Cut up your chicken into long strips – about 4 per chicken breast. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  7. Keep in mind you want one “dry” hand and one “wet” hand. This will prevent your fingers from getting coated themselves with the mixtures.
  8. Using your “wet” hand, place one piece of chicken into the fine pecan mixture. Use your “dry” hand to coat all over, then drop into the egg mixture. Use your “wet” hand to roll it around, making sure it’s coated well with the egg. Drop it into the larger pecan pieces. Use your “dry” hand to roll it around and pat the pecans into the chicken to make it stick. Place coated chicken strip onto the baking sheet.
  9. Repeat step 8 until all your chicken fingers are coated and ready to bake.
  10. Bake in the centre rack for 15 minutes (timing may depend on how thick your chicken is). While this is baking – mix the honey and mustard together to make a quick dipping sauce.
  11. Remove from oven and serve immediately with honey dijon sauce.  Enjoy!

    photo credit – by piepie



we ate it over baby spinach tonight, to get some greens into our bellies