I’ve been cooking with the kids since they were babies. In the beginning I gave them food to play with on their high chair table. Later the oldest seemed to have a real flair for cooking gourmet with little encouragement, while the youngest stayed with easier fare and a lot of pushing. They’re adults now and the oldest travels the world eating the craziest stuff. The youngest? He’s still a mac and cheese guy.
The oldest came by the other night to help me out with some Once a Month Cooking. We made baked pecan-crusted chicken strips – even the hubby came and helped out. This chicken is packed in the freezer with mashed potatoes and vegetables for the hubby’s lunch. Eight lunches total, plus dinner for both of them that night. It just took an hour or so of prepping, baking, and freezing and the hubby is set for a few weeks as the chicken is interspersed with other meals from the freezer.
This can be made two ways – fix it and freeze the chicken and breading separately to be thawed and cooked on serving day. Or cook it and freeze it to be thawed and warmed on serving day. Since the hubby is a fire fighter and he never knows how much time he’ll have for lunch, we fully cook his so if he gets a minute to sit down to eat, he can heat it up in the microwave. Too many dinners have been ruined when the oven auto-shuts off when the bells go off and he comes back hours later to dinner in the oven, uncooked and not chilled…a dangerous combination.
Do you cook with your kids? This is a great recipe to try – lots of hands on and fun dredging and breading!
Baked Pecan-Crusted Chicken Strips Recipe – OAMC Version
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Recipe Type: Entree, OAMC
Author: Based on the Freeze, Fix & Feast Recipe
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Two different cooking methods – do one or the other or combine
6 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 cups honey
1 cup spicy brown mustard
1 T garlic, chopped
1 T salt
1 T pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cups Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs – 8oz box)
1-1/2 cups (8 oz) pecans, finely ground
6 one-gallon freezer bags
3 one-quart freezer bags
3 snack-size or sandwich size bags
Cut each half-breasts lengthwise into three strips for adults. For children, cut into 6 pieces. Cut all that will be baked together the same size.
Mix honey, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl. When incorporated, remove one cup and set aside (this will be your serving sauce).
In original bowl, add olive oil (this is your dredging liquid).
DIRECTIONS FOR COOKING BEFORE FREEZING
Dip the chicken in the wet ingredients and then press into pecan coating. Press to coat well.
Place on prepared baking pan – use Silpat or non-stick cooking spray
Bake for 30 minutes for thin chicken, 45 for thick at 450, turning carefully once. Chicken should be golden brown and internal temperature has reached 165 °F
DIRECTIONS OR FREEZING THEN COOKING ON SERVING DAY
Divide cut chicken into 3 gallon bags. Pour dredging sauce evenly into the three bags. Remove air and seal
In quart bags divide the Panko/Pecan mixture into the three bags. Seal
In snack or sandwich bags, divide the dipping sauce evenly. Remove air; seal.
Put one chicken, one crumb mixture, and one dipping sauce mixture each into the last 3 gallon freezer bags.
Mark the bags with name, baking instructions, and date.
Thaw the chicken overnight in the refrigerator. Remove chicken from sauce, shake off excess, discard extra sauce.
Dredge in Panko/Pecan mixture – patting to help breading adhere to chicken.