Paleofied Chicken Strips

As my family, friends, and kiddos suspect…I am a little crazy! I could possibly even say that at times I feel like a mad scientist when I’m in my kitchen. I am always cooking up some evil plot to help my family eat healthier without them knowing…Or at least until they’ve finished plenty of their food. I am a big proponent of letting my kiddos know that what they are eating is good for them and try to get down on their level to tell them why. For instance, Madison knows that her almond milk is good for her bones and carrots are good for her eyes.
So how does this mom go about getting my kiddos to eat these healthy paleo meals? I make many things that look like old favorites. I call them “classics.” Many people worry when you don’t feed your kids conventionally that you’re stealing their favorites away from them. But, I believe it’s not only good for your kids to enjoy those favorites, but sometimes it helps us parents feel like we’re young at heart again.
For today’s recipe (and my go to kid pleaser) I am going to share the easiest meal that is cost effective, yummy, and good for you! Today is chicken strip and french fry night here! Wait…I know what you’re thinking…that is a kid favorite but how are you going to keep out grains, dairy…and are you using white potatoes! (Gasp!)
Here’s what you will need:
⦁ Raw Unsalted Almonds (Slivered, Blanched, or Sliced Almonds work fine.)
⦁ Pepitas aka Unshelled Pumpkin Seeds (I usually find mine at Wal-Mart.)
⦁ Shelled Sunflower Seeds
⦁ Chicken Breast Tenderloin Strips (This just makes it easier…But if you want to cut up some full size chicken breasts…Go for it!)
⦁ A healthy oil such as olive or coconut oil. (Not necessary if you bake.)
⦁ Sweet Potatoes (I usually do 2 to 3 for my two adults and three itty bitty kids.)
⦁ Seasoning Salt
That is an awful short list don’t you think? I take my favorite Ninja blender and put 1 cup of Almonds, and 1/2 a cup of each sunflower seeds and pepitas. If you have a nut allergy in the family you could simply use a mix of these seeds. Make sure to make this into a fine ground mix and not a paste. Over blending will give you a strange type of almond/seed butter.
Fill a large soup size pot with your oil (or if you have a deep fryer get it prepared and heated). Now you may be wondering about deep frying being healthy!? In paleo we believe that there is a healthy amount of fat that your body needs. I’m not saying make this dish every other night! It’s okay! Don’t fret. This really is the best method of cooking these. Baking them on 350 for 25 to 30 minutes works, and works well…it just isn’t “the best.”
The sweet potatoes are the toughest part of this recipe. Peel your sweet potatoes and slice them into french fry shapes. This takes some time and a very sharp knife, but take your time. The only thing to do at this point is throw them in the pot and deep fry them. Do these first because they leave very little residue in the oil. When you pull them out you can lay them on a paper towel on top of a cookie sheet. Lightly sprinkle with seasoning salt or whatever seasonings you like. Salt and pepper tastes just as good.
Dip the chicken into the almond/seed coating. This makes a beautiful crust. The crust gets very crispy and almost sounds like rocks when they’re close to done! Just cook them till they are a light golden brown. Don’t be afraid to open one up if you’re worried about them being done.
Voila! Now you have a fast yummy meal that looks like a “classic” meal your family is accustomed to without the gut irritants of dairy or gluten. Feel free to play around with this classic and find other sides or veggies you would like. When my budget is feeling generous I may even throw in some Amy’s gluten and dairy free Macoroni & Cheese (found in the freezer section at Kroger).
I hope you enjoy this recipe and am sending you warm meals and big kiddo smiles from my common sense kitchen to yours! Tune in next week…You never know what this mad scientist/common sense cook will think up next!
-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

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