Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Zesty Pesto Ranch Chicken Tenders

Looking for a boost in your boring chicken game with little effort and a big return? Well, look no further.  With a couple of store bought items and few minutes of marination time, you can turn ordinary chicken into an extraordinary and versatile meal option and wake up your sleeping taste buds.  The leftovers from this recipe can be used the next day for a fabulous centerpiece on a delicious salad, for work lunch or healthy dinner for the tweens and teens.  
The tenders may additionally be served alongside a starch like veggie filled rice or potatoes, or even cauliflower rice and  sweet potato fries.  Why not toss them in a nice warm flour tortilla and go Greek with some greens, Kalamata olives, fresh oregano, red onion and tzatziki sauce for a burst of flavors and satisfying crunch.  With food costs rising in unprecedented proportions, we as consumers could use ingredients that are interchangeable and able to be diversified, saving where we can.  
The two ingredients are a packet of Ranch seasoning (1 oz.) and a jar of Pesto (6.5 oz.).  I used 1/2 packet of the seasoning and 2/3 of the Pesto for about 1 1/2 lbs. chicken tenders.  The flavor profile of the items combined is enough to cover many taste bases at once. I blended these items using mayonnaise (1/4 cup) as the binder, but feel free to use full fat or fat free sour cream or even Greek yogurt for the healthiest version possible, the choice is yours.  Fold the protein into mixture and let sit covered in the fridge for 15 minutes and up to 24 hours.  
Using tongs, lift the protein out of the marinade and onto a sheet pan covered with parchment paper.
Execution is  worry free and able to be prepped ahead time for maximum marination time, then baked off in a 375* F oven or zapped in your air fryer, saving even more precious time and energy.  Chicken tenders can be quite expensive at times, so substituting boneless cuts of pork or boneless skinless chicken thighs will fit the bill just fine. 
Next time you need a quick and delicious meal fix, give these a try and let your taste buds have a little fun for a change.  

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