Chipotle Apple Butter Chicken

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Sometimes I’ll go through a phase where I become addicted to a certain type of food. Like really addicted. I’ll have to have it every day, so I’ll buy mass quantities at one time- you know, just to make sure I never have a craving that can’t be satisfied. Because that sucks and definitely gets under my skin (probably more than it should).

At one time, it was Yoplait Boston Creme Pie Yogurt mixed in with Honey Bunches of Oats Just Bunches. I HAD to have some as an after dinner ‘dessert’.

At another, it was an Archers Farm trail mix of cashews, almonds and dried cranberries.

For a while, I was hooked on Panera Cinnamon Crunch bagels, toasted and spread with butter.

Bananas and melted peanut butter on whole wheat toast was a REALLY big favorite.

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Yellow corn chips is still a big one- I’ve got three bags in the house right now. Honestly, I have to be careful- they’re waaaaay too easy for me to eat in large quantities. Same thing with animal crackers; right now they’re my go to work snack.

About two years I developed a huge love of eating fried eggs on toast and experimenting with different spreads to put on top. I loved the contrast of saltiness from the egg with the sweetness of different jam spreads. One day I was in the grocery store looking in the jam aisle for something a little bit different to try and I noticed a jar of Musselman’s Apple Butter. I’d never heard of apple butter before, much less what it tasted like. But I was in the experimenting kind of mood, so I decided to give it a try.

From that first day, I was hooked. I LOVED apple butter. From then on, it was all I wanted to eat on my toast.

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But as we know, interests and passions begin to fade and shift after a while. Eventually,I got a little tired of having my regular fried eggs on toast smeared with apple butter. I moved onto my next obsession.

But I still had two unopened jumbo jars of apple butter in my pantry. For a long while, they just sat there. And sat there. And sat there.

I wasn’t gonna throw them away. I’m too cheap to do that. But I just…I didn’t know what to do with them. One of the jars eventually went to making some Apple Butter Bread- which I’ve posted on the blog a while ago. The other one still didn’t get used for a few months.

Recently, I bought a family pack of chicken breasts and had no idea what I was going to do with them. I just decided that I would look in the pantry and pick out whatever I thought would be good in a dish. When I got home, the first things I came across were the lonely unused jar of apple butter, and a can of adobe chipotle chiles. And that gave me an idea. By itself, the apple butter would make the chicken way too sweet- but the addition of chipotle chiles and sauce- that just could work.

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I’ve never heard of an apple butter and chipotle barbecue sauce before- but after coming up with this here recipe, I’m of the strong opinion that it really should be come a ‘thing’.

Because it’s friggin marvelous stuff.

The marinade alone works really well, but the best part of this recipe is setting aside a sizable portion ahead of time so that when the chicken is done, you can have some sauce to dunk it into. I cut the chicken up into medium sized tenders, then baked them off in the oven on racks, but this would be an EXCELLENT  dish to make over a grill to give a really special charcoal flavor to compliment the flavor of the sauce.

I’m really happy with this one, guys. So you should go ahead and just try this.

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I’m beginning to think that I should just start calling this blog Cooking Chicken Is My Sport-because sometimes, it really does seem to me that all I do is throw a bunch of chicken recipes at you guys. It’s getting kind of ridiculous.

But the truth is, chicken’s just about the most inexpensive meat I can buy. Luckily, it’s also my preference of  protein nine times out of ten. So I have to keep experimenting with different recipes and ingredients just to make it stay interesting.

Sorry. I hope you won’t hold it against me too much.

I’m taking this chicken to this week’s Fiesta Friday #51, hosted by Angie@TheNoviceGardener and co-hosted by  Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook and Juju @cookingwithauntjuju. Thanks ladies- appreciate ya 🙂

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Chipotle Apple Butter Chicken

Recipe Courtesy of Jess@CookingisMySport

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Ingredients

  • 1 28 oz. jar of Apple Butter
  • 2 1/2 canned chipotle chilies, finely chopped, plus 2 tbsp. of the sauce from the jar
  • 1 tbsp. Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 5 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into tender-size strips
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Romaine hearts, optional

 Directions

1. Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl. Divide 1/2 cup of marinade between two ziploc bags, and set aside the rest for later use.

2. Place half of the chicken tenders in one bag, and one half in the other. Seal bags and roll chicken around in marinade to make sure it is evenly coated. Refrigerate overnight, or at least for 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then place a baking rack on top. Spray rack with non stick cooking spray.

4. Remove chicken from marinade and place on top of baking rack. Bake chicken in the oven, about 30-35 minutes (or until chicken reaches an inner temp of 165°), basting with the remaining apple butter/chipotle sauce occasionally.

5. Remove chicken from oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve inside of romaine hearts if desired.

 

Buffalo Chicken Tenders

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Happy New Year everyone!

We made it to 2014, guys. I hope everyone’s New Year’s Eve was lots of fun and that you spent it surrounded by your loved ones. Did everyone stay up nice and late? Did you save a glass of champagne for me? No? Oh, okay.

Today is a very important day, and not just because it’s the first day of the new year. Something very important is happening today. Any guesses? None?

I’ll give you a hint- it involves roses. Lots and lots of roses…

Random, but very important fact about me guys: I’m an alumni of Michigan State University. A proud alumni. So proud, I’m gonna boast about my school for the next solid paragraph:

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Michigan State University {MSU} is:

  • Among the largest single-campus residence hall system in the country with 27 residence halls in five neighborhoods and two apartment villages. There are 538 buildings, including 95 academic buildings. 
  • Nickname: Spartans,  Colors: Green and white,  Mascot: Sparty (Three-time national top collegiate mascot), Conference: Big Ten
  • Outstanding record of students earning prestigious national and international scholarships: Goldwater, 34; Rhodes, 16; Churchill, 16; Truman, 16; Marshall, 16; Udall, nine; Hollings, six; Gates, three; and Mitchell, one.
  • More than 275 study abroad programs on all continents in more than 60 countries (yes, that does include Antarctica. I’m serious.)

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If none of that is impressive enough, then try this one on for size: today, the MSU football team will be competing in the 2014 Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, CA. For my international readers, and non-College football fans (you poor unfortunate souls, you) I’ll give a brief explanation: the Rose Bowl is a championship game matching up the top 2 teams from the Big 10 Conference (mainly mid-west schools) and the Pacific- 12 Conference (schools in the far west). It’s a pretty big deal. As not only a die-hard, I-bleed-green, Spartan fan, but also a college football lover, I am needless to say, SO proud of my team for making it to the Rose Bowl. So much so, that I wanted to try and do a recipe that would pay some kind of homage to the game taking place tonight.

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Well, trying to create a dish around roses was rather tricky. It wasn’t that I couldn’t think of any, I know you can use rose petals or rose water in food. It was just that the idea of trying to hunt down a recipe with either one of those very pricey ingredients that may not even turn out good (considering I’ve never used either) wasn’t worth the effort to me- at least not now. Besides, since this recipe was supposed to be for a football game I decided that less was more and to just keep things simple. What’s one of the top foods that people love to eat when watching ‘The Game’? Buffalo Chicken. I’m not a huge fan of chicken wings, but I LOVE buffalo chicken tenders, so I decided to go with that.

I used a bag of frozen pre-cut chicken strips I got from my grocery store and thawed, but buying boneless, skinless chicken breast and cutting them up will work just as well with this recipe.  There are two things I will insist on though: ‘double dipping’ the chicken in both the egg wash and flour, and having a sheet pan fitted with a wire rack on top to let the chicken rest. The first will make sure that you have a nice, thick n’ crunchy crust on the outside. The second will help make sure that that crust actually sticks and doesn’t slide off when you fry it. Several trials and errors have proven me right. So just take my word for it.

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If you’re a football fan, I hope you’ll join me in watching MSU play (and hopefully win) against Stanford in the Rose Bowl today.

If you’re not a football fan, then I hope you’ll at least give these chicken tenders a try. They’re a real ‘win’.

GO GREEN! GO WHITE! BEAT STANFORD!

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Buffalo Chicken Tenders

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken tender strips, patted dry
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce)
  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chicken seasoning (like Weber Kick’n Chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup, or 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce)
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

 Directions

1. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet, or deep pan to 350°. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Line the bottom of a half sheet pan with wax paper. Place wire rack(s) over sheet pan, and spray rack(s) with cooking spray. Set aside.

3. In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk and 1/4 cup hot sauce. In a smaller, square dish, mix together the flour, chicken seasoning, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder with a fork.

4. Dip chicken tenders into egg mixture, then dip into flour mixture and coat evenly. Place tenders onto wire racks, being careful not to allow them to touch.

5. Repeat step 3, dipping all of the tenders back into egg mixture, then in flour mixture again so that they have a double coating. Place back on wire rack.

6. Fry tenders in hot oil until golden brown and crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Let drain on paper towels when done.

7. Mix together butter, 1/2 cup hot sauce, brown sugar and minced garlic in a large bowl. Add fried tenders to bowl, a few at a time and toss in the sauce with a pair of tongs until evenly coated.

8. Line another sheet pan with parchment paper. Place tenders onto pan and bake for about 5 minutes. Serve.

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