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Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Yogurt Dill Dip








If you’re a modern-day parent like me, you’ve likely fed your kids–and yourself–a fair share of chicken tenders. For a delicious, nutritious twist to this often calorie- and fat-laden staple, culinary dietitian Michelle Dudash has whipped up her own unique version for her delectable–and practical–new cookbook, Clean Eating for Busy Families. These chicken tenders make a great lunch or dinner treat, whether served fresh from the oven or cold–the way I like ’em best!

I’ll admit it. I love to eat breaded, deep-fried chicken strips dipped in creamy ranch dressing, and on rare occasions, I will order them while out running errands all day. I prepare this recipe at home after a decent lapse since my last fix.

Total Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings, 2 to 3 tenders each (with 2 tablespoons  dip)


For chicken:

½ cup pecans

1/ 3 cup whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon expeller-pressed canola oil

½ cup panko bread crumbs

1 large egg

1 pound chicken tenders, larger pieces cut in half lengthwise

For dip:

¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup light mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon dried dill

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

1 pinch salt

1 pinch freshly ground black pepper


To make the chicken: Preheat oven to 475°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Whirl pecans, flour, paprika, dry mustard, garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper in a food processor until pecans are ground to a powder, about 30 seconds. Drizzle in the oil with the motor running, blending completely. Transfer mixture to a shallow dish and stir in the panko bread crumbs.

Beat egg in a second shallow dish and add chicken tenders, coating them completely. Transfer each tender to the breading, turning to coat evenly. Arrange chicken on the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and nearly firm, 8 minutes.

To make the dip: Stir all the dip ingredients together in a small bowl.

Enjoy the cooked chicken immediately with the dip.

Recipe note:

Chicken tenders come from the undersides of chicken breasts and are naturally portioned into strips, saving you time in cutting them. If you don’t have chicken tenders, substitute chicken breasts cut into 4 x 1-inch strips.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 418 calories; 20 g total fat; 3 g saturated fat; 34 g Protein; 23 g carbohydrate; 4 g dietary fiber; 120 mg cholesterol.


Reprinted with permission from Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes with Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love, by Michelle Dudash, RD (Fair Winds Press, December 2012).

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About The Author

Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized and award-winning health and nutrition expert, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books. An avid walker, she loves motivating others to #moveitorloseit. A book lover, she recently earned a certificate in children’s literature from Stony Brook Southampton and is currently working on several young adult novels. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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