If there is one thing I struggle with daily, it’s getting my daughter to eat well. I’m constantly trying to come up with new ways to get her to eat chicken without complaint. So, I decided to combine two flavors I know she likes – barbecue sauce and pretzels – in the hopes the next chicken dinner would get a smile instead of a sneer. By coating chicken tenderloins with these two ingredients and baking instead of frying, my daughter got a hand-held dinner she loved, and I got the satisfaction of knowing she was eating something that’s just a little bit better for her than her favorite fried food.
Start with your chicken. I bought chicken tenderloins, about .75 lbs., which had eight pieces in the package. You can also use a pound of chicken breasts and cut them into eight pieces. Mix ½ cup of barbecue sauce with two tablespoons of water and soak the chicken in it while you prepare your pretzels.
Crush three cups of pretzels to a fine crumb. I like to use my food processor for this, but you can also place them in a large zipper bag and have the kids go at them with a rolling pin. Mix the pretzels with some ground pepper and a tablespoon of olive oil so they’ll stick better to the chicken.
Coat the chicken on both sides with the pretzel mixture. Press the mixture into the chicken to make it stick.
Place each piece of chicken on a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Spray the tops of the chicken with more cooking spray, and then bake at 425°F for 10 minutes. Flip each tenderloin and spray them again with cooking spray, then bake for another 10 minutes, or until the chicken is done.
Serve your pretzel-crusted chicken with a side of barbecue sauce for dipping, some vegetables and crescents. Your kids will eat (and love!) this dinner, I promise you.