Did you know there is a National Trial Mix Day? It's right around the corner - August 31st! Actually we are in the midst of Trail Mix season...summer is filled with people hiking, camping and lounging about at the beach and they usually pack some kind of Trail Mix to take along...nuts, oats, dried fruit, that sort of thing...unless you're me and then you pack chocolate, candy, dried fruit and one oat...to each his own! I do love Trail Mix and we always have some in the pantry - not only is it a great late-night snack for me, it bakes up great in cookies! Today though, I want to show you how to make a boring chicken dinner into a Trail Mix chicken dinner winner!
I pulled out every different kind of nut I had in my pantry...pecans, hazelnuts, madacamia, pistachios, and almonds. All great in Trail Mix. Then I found some pepitas, dried pumpkin seeds - I love them on salads and as soup toppers but they are great in Trail Mix, too. I also pulled out some dried fruit and instead of reaching for raisins or Craisins, I opted for dried dates and Goji berries...every had them? They're a bit like dried cranberries, same color, same chewiness, just a little more sweet and they're supposed to be a superfood from the Himalayas! Move over Yeti!
My Trail Mix always has oats in them, don't ask me why, it just does. I guess I like the way the oats stick to the dried fruit so I can eat oats and not really know about it. Deception is key in my Trail Mix.
What isn't in this Trail Mix is chocolate or gummy bears or candy...all wonderful additions to Trail Mix but I just didn't think those things would work with chicken, call me crazy!
You can put all of the nuts and fruit into a food processor to chop into little bits but I decided to use a knife so I would have a rougher chop - some larger pieces, some small.
This is really such an easy recipe and it comes together quick...set up your assembly line...chicken tenders, eggs, Trail Mix, then you're ready to dip!
They look so great, no? The crunchiness from the nuts, which get roasted in the oven, provide so much flavor to the chicken...but wait, there's more! The dried dates and the Goji berries provide a sweetness that just hits the spot...and if you're still not sold, these little beauties have their own dipping sauce - a honey mustard with a touch of horseradish - man-o-man-alive, these are dang good my friends! They'll be a hit over the camp-fire, straight from the grill, or pulled from the oven - Trail Mix Chicken, circle the wagons and get out your nuts...this one is dang good!
Trail Mix Crusted Chicken - Pots and Pins
(All nuts must be shelled)
4 tablespoons Hazelnuts, finely chopped
4 tablespoons Macadamia nuts, finely chopped
4 tablespoons almonds, finely chopped
4 tablespoons pecans, finely chopped
4 tablespoons Pistachios, finely chopped
4 tablespoons Goji Berries, finely chopped
4 Tablespoons pitted dates, finely chopped
1/4 cup old-fashioned Oats
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
12 chicken tenders
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then spray with baking spray to prevent sticking.
Finely chop all nuts and dried fruit to desired size. Add nuts and fruit to a medium bowl, stir in oats and flour.
Break eggs into a shallow dish and mix well with a fork. Stir in salt, and pepper. Dip chicken tenders into egg mixture, coating well, then dip into Trail Mix, pressing mixture onto chicken. Place chicken onto prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all chicken is coated. Press any remaining Trail mix on top of chicken.
Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes total, turning each piece over after 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with Honey-Horse Dipping Sauce, recipe below.
If you're sitting around a camp-fire, feel free to eat these with your fingers, just dip them into the sauce and let it drip down your hand, then you can bite and chew and lick till your heart's content!
Honey-Horse Dipping Sauce - Pots and Pins
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, serve with Trail Mix Crusted Chicken...YUM!
Full disclosure: Nuts.com asked me to participate in a Trail Mix contest...so this is my entry...and no matter what they think, this is definitely a winning recipe!!