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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pretzel Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken

I have rediscovered the wonderfulness that is oven-fried chicken.

I hand-picked this recipe specifically for Aaron because I know how much he enjoys fried chicken with honey mustard. The catch is that this chicken isn't actually fried. It's dredged in flour and tangy homemade honey mustard sauce and then coated in a combination of crispy panko bread crumbs and salty, chunky crushed pretzels. Then you throw it in the oven and let it bake to crunchy perfection.

Actually, the only oil in the recipe is in the honey mustard, which is also either drizzled over top of the chicken or on the side for dipping when served.

Side note:
I recently made the observation that our family of three can all get full on a single chicken breast. Chicken breasts are close to 1/2 lb each now, unless you buy the organic, free-range, hormone free stuff (which I can't afford). If I cut one into cutlets I can get 2-3 pieces out of each breast. Bailey doesn't quite eat a whole piece leaving a little extra either for Aaron if he's still hungry or for my lunch the next day and Aaron and I each get the recommended sized serving of protein.

It saves me a lot of money. I buy chicken when it's on sale for $1.99/lb, but we still eat a ton of chicken. Almost all of our recipes in regular rotation feature chicken as the protein. By limiting us to one chicken breast per meal I have cut the amount we spend on chicken in half and I've saved us from wasting chicken when I don't finish the leftovers.

Back to the recipe. I may have a bit of tweaking to do with the sauce in terms of balancing the dijon mustard and honey flavors, but overall I think this was a success. It was definitely a hit with Aaron.

So next time you're craving crunchy fried chicken, think about making it oven-fried instead.

Pretzel Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken

Source: Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 cups pretzel crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
4 chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil sprayed with vegetable oil spray.

Toast the bread crumbs in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently (almost constantly) until they turn light golden brown. Set aside to cool.

In a food processor or blender pulse the pretzels until they are mostly crumbs with only a few small chunks left. (Don't grind it to powder. You'll want a few chunky pieces to make it really crunchy.)

Combine the bread crumbs and pretzel crumbs in a shallow bowl and set aside.

In the (cleaned) food processor or blender combine the olive oil, dijon mustard, honey, water, and red wine vinegar.

Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and adjust to taste (it may need more honey or more dijon mustard depending on how sweet or tangy you like it).

Slice your chicken breasts into 2-3 cutlets each. (If you slice them diagonally through the thickest part of the breast all of the pieces should cook evenly.)

Pour half of the dressing into a shallow bowl. Pour the flour onto a plate. Coat each piece of chicken in the flour, then in the dressing, and then in the bread/pretzel crumb mixture.

Arrange them on the prepared baking sheet.

Once all of the pieces are on the baking sheet place in the oven and bake for 16-25 minutes.

Serve with the remaining dressing either drizzled over or on the side for dipping.

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