baked pecan crusted chicken + quick mac and cheese

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Apparently my cooking (or recipes rather) impress someone. One of my friends offered to buy all the ingredients for a meal if I would come cook for him and his roommate. Clearly I do love cooking, so I agreed. He requested chicken, which I’ve never worked with before, so it was off to Pinterest for inspiration and direction. I came across many delicious looking recipes, but most were way to complicated for this amateur college cook. Plus, buying ingredients gets pretty pricy. I settled on this (and this) simple, tasty meal that took no time at all to prepare (and requires minimal supplies.) Keep in mind I made this in a college male’s kitchen; meaning you don’t need much to make this dish.

What I really liked about this meal was yes, the quick turnaround time, but mostly that it’s an updated classic. The amount of times I had breaded chicken and mac & cheese as a school-night meal are countless. This is a slightly more adult version of that doesn’t compromise taste. If you’re ever feeling a little homesick or nostalgic, I’d highly recommend this.

Baked Pecan Crusted Chicken

3 – 4 Chicken breasts or tenders, skinned

2 egg whites

1/4 tsp chili powder

2 cups pecans chopped (I misread the ingredient list and didn’t get enough pecans but chopped almonds worked fine as a substitute – or addition)

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 1/2 tsp salt (I thought it was too salty, although the guys begged to differ, so depending on your taste less salt might be something to consider)

2 tsp paprika (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine pecans, parsley, salt, chili powder (and paprika if used.)
  3. Prepare egg whites in a separate bowl.
  4. Place one chicken in egg whites, coat each side, and place in the pecan mixture. Make sure the chicken is well coated. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
  5. Place coated chicken on a greased baking/cookie sheet and cook for 22-25 minutes.

Quick Mac and Cheese

3/4 pound elbow macaroni (I used a whole box and it came out fine)

4 tbsp butter

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Few dashes of Tabasco sauce

1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste

1/8 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the macaroni until just done, about 8 minutes. Drain and return to hot pot.
  2. Put the pot over the lowest possible heat and add butter, cheese, mustard, Tabasco, salt, and pepper. Stir until the cheese melts, and serve.
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baked pecan crusted chicken + quick mac and cheese

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