There’s nothing like chicken tenders. Even as a 30+ adult, something about them makes me positively giddy. Maybe it’s a guilty pleasure or maybe just because it’s another way to deliver obscene amounts of ketchup into my face. Either way, I will never be too old to enjoy chicken tenders.
Sidenote: I have been looking for the perfect homemade honey mustard recipe for years. Nothing I have ever made has ever come close. Until now. Which is kind of embarassing because it’s only three ingredients. I mean really.
Domestocrat’s Quinoa Crusted Chicken Tenders with The Best Honey Mustard Sauce (inspired by Half Baked Harvest’s Quinoa Crusted Chicken Strips with BBQ Honey Mustard recipe with my own twist)
1.5 lb. (2.5 breasts) chicken, cut into strips
2 cups buttermilk, divided in half
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup seasoned panko
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp. honey mustard sauce
For the honey mustard:
1/3 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ Sauce
This recipe starts with a buttermilk marinade on the chicken. You can skip this step but I wouldn’t. In a ziploc bag, combine the chicken strips, 1 cup buttermilk, and black pepper and marinate in the fridge for 6 hours.
There are a few things that can be done while you are idling for 6 hours…
Make the best honey mustard sauce! In a mason jar, combine the mustard, honey, and BBQ sauce. Shake/stir it up good and that’s it. This will keep, sealed tight, in the fridge for a week or two. (Aside: did I ever mention that a few years back I got John a BBQ of the Month subscription? Well I did and it was glorious. The BBQ sauce I used for this particular recipe came from that: James Gang Sweet Southern Heat Whiskey Grilling Sauce. So good.)
Prep the quinoa! Cook the quinoa as usual, let it cool, spread out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes until dry and crunchy, let it cool, and then process half in a food processor or spice grinder to make quinoa flour. Combine the quinoa flour, reserved quinoa, and panko together in a big bowl.
When the chicken is done marinating, set up an assembly line: chicken tenders, 1 cup buttermilk, panko/quinoa mixture, and a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Take a piece of chicken, dunk in the buttermilk, and then coat with the quinoa/panko mixture. Repeat for all of the tenders.
Bake the tenders at 475 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until your meat thermometer reads 165 degrees (my preferred method).
Serve up the tenders along with the delicious honey mustard sauce and call this one a huge win. This is the perfect “treat” meal without it being unhealthy at all. Enjoy!