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Introducing Guest Cook: Christie Sal and her Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders

I am really excited to introduce our guest cook for September!  I have been looking forward to having her on this blog all summer long. I was planning on posting over the weekend, but our family minivan D-I-E-D and we had to quickly hurry and find us a new one. So.. between going to a lot of car lots and searching online we finally got a new van AND now I can take a huge breath and get back to my freezer work!  I will let Christie introduce herself and share with you her awesome meal for this week!  Next week I will share the fun questionaire that all my guest cooks fill out and another fabulous recipe! Also this week is my own meal groups swap and I will post some of those recipes as well.  O.K…. here’s Christie…………… 

Hello! My name is Christie Sal and I live just south of Grand Rapids, Michigan with my husband James and our son Santiago. Santi is 20 months old and it took us 4 years to adopt him from Bogota, Colombia. I work as an Oncology nurse in Grand Rapids. I am blessed to be able to work full time, yet get 4 days home a week to spend with my son. I can do this because I work three 12 hour shifts a week. I have found that with working long shifts it is essential that I use freezer cooking to feed my family while I am at the hospital. Then my husband and son can have my quality homecooked food while I am working; I have a homecooked meal waiting for me when I get home at 8:30pm, and we have great leftovers for lunch the next day.   My husband and son are great eaters. They will usually try anything. I cannot make a lot of dairy for my son because he is lactose intolerant. We do not eat a lot of fish so my recipes include a lot of pork, beef and chicken. I do 100% of the cooking in my house and I usually do the grilling too. I have a passion for cooking and trying new recipes and my husband doesn’t care to cook…ever.So many of my friends and coworkers kept asking me how I made my freezer meals and I would explain over and over the basic equation. Double the recipe, divide it into three 8×8″ pans. Eat one and freeze two. But this was not enough instruction for my friends. So one day I started a blog with a lot of step by step instructions and all my favorite tried and true recipes. It has become my hobby ever since. I now have over 50 reipces posted on my blog with lots of photos of each meal being prepared. Please stop by and check it out.   This first recipe that I am sharing with you has so much flavor! The marinade is sweet and tangy, and the pretzel crust is crunchy and salty. The prep makes three meal kits. Then when thawed and ready to bake you pull the tenders out of the marinade and dip the chicken tenders in crushed pretzels. Bake them up and voila! Better than take out! This one will wow the kids and dazzle the spouse.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken  TendersIngredients:6 boneless skinless chicken breasts6 oz Dijon mustard12 oz honey16 oz bag pretzels1 tsp paprika1 tsp black pepperFor these meal kits you will also need six gallon freezer bags, three press to seal sandwich bags and three 1/2 cup containers with lids.Directions:Cut each chicken breast into 1 inch wide strips. Place two cut up breasts into each gallon press and seal bag.

In a small mixing bowl pour in 6 oz of Dijon mustard, 12 oz honey, one tsp of paprika and 1 tsp black pepper. Stir well. This will make about 1 1/2 cups of honey mustard sauce. Pour 1/4 cup of the honey mustard into 3 small containers and cover. This will become the dipping sauce after the chicken tenders are cooked. Take the remainder of the honey mustard sauce and pour one third of the sauce into each of the gallon bags over the chicken strips. Seal and squeeze to mix. 

 Now we make the breading. I use a small food chopper to crush up the 16 oz bag of pretzels in batches. You can use a food processor or the pulse option on your blender. If you would like to go low tech then a bag and a rolling pin will do nicely. Just seal the bag and whack away!

Divide the crushed pretzels into three press to seal sandwich bags.

Using three new gallon bags place one sealed bag of chicken with marinade, one container of honey mustard dipping sauce and one sandwich bag full of crushed pretzels. Label with the name of the meal and place one scrap of paper inside with cooking directions.

These are your meal kits. I put one in the fridge for tonight and two in the freezer for later. Please thaw two days in the fridge before baking.Baking day Directions!Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Make sure your chicken has had two days to thaw in the fridge if you are making a meal from a freezer meal kit. Pour the crushed pretzels onto a plate. Open the gallon bag with the marinated chicken. Use a fork to lift out one chicken tender at a time. Put the chicken on top of the crushed pretzel. Press down on the chicken with the fork to get a lot of the pretzels to adhere to the chicken. Flip the tender over with the fork to coat the other side.

Place a cooling rack on top of a large baking sheet. Lay the coated chicken tenders on the cooling rack.

Bake in the center of your oven for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the chicken from the racks with tongs and serve hot with a spoonful of honey mustard dipping sauce from your meal kit.

This meal is fantastic. I think your family is going to love it as much as my family does. I was able to make three meal kits for $5.80 each. That’s cheaper and more flavorful than a bucket of chicken!

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