Pretzel Crusted Chicken Bites

How has this recipe been lingering on my Pinterest board, untouched, for at least a year? The ingredient list is pretty short and basically all things we usually have on hand. My kid loves chicken nuggets and pretzels, so why wouldn’t he love these? (Spoiler alert: he did!) And as I discovered once I put them in the oven and finished reading the recipe post- you can make these and freeze them for 2-3 months! Y’all know I love me a good freezer recipe. These were a hit with everyone in our house – the ones who eat solid food, anyway. 😜 Don’t be like me and wait; make these ASAP! With some honey mustard or cheese dip, yuuummmm…

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups pretzels, crushed 
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet with foil or cooking spray. Get yourself three shallow bowls lined up. In the first, mix combine your flour, salt, and pepper. The 2nd, beat together the 2 eggs. Finally, put your crushed pretzels in the third. Line them up assembly line style to make your life easier!

  

Next, dice your chicken into 1-1.5 inch cubes (pound them down til they’re about 1 inch thick if using chicken breasts). Full disclosure- I don’t think I’d ever used my meat tenderizer for its intended purpose until today. For shame!

    

Next comes the fun part! Dip your chicken chunks into the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Coat with the egg, then dunk in the crushed pretzels. 
 

Once you’ve got all your chicken coated, give the pieces a shot of cooking spray to help seal all that delicious coating in place. Bake for 8 minutes, give the pieces a turn, then bake for another 6-8 minutes. Let cool then serve! We had ours with mashed potatoes and roasted brocolli, which made for a filling and satisfying meal. Hope your family enjoys this one as much as ours did! 

    

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
 

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Spinach and Cheese Manicotti

Have you guys figured out that I really, really like meals I can make in advance? One of my favorite ways to spend a day, usually Sunday, is in the kitchen preparing a meal or two for the week ahead. With the weather getting cooler, of course we tend to gravitate to comfort foods… You know, the hearty, stick-your-ribs, not necessarily good for you stuff. This meal, while full of cheese, also packs a nice veggie punch with spinach and tomato sauce. You could easily add extra veggies or whatever you want. Another theme of mine- customizable meals. Another one of those meals that would be great to bring to a sick friend, a friend who’s just had a baby, etc.
Ingredients:
Makes 2 casseroles
For the pasta and filling:
3 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 oz (~1 cup) grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
To finish (per casserole):
3 cups marinara sauce, divided
1 oz (~ 1/2 cup) grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Pour 1 inch of boiling water into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and slip the lasagna noodles into the water, spreading them out into as even a layer as possible. Obviously mine overlapped a bit! Let the noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes, separating with the tip of a knife to prevent sticking.
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Remove the noodles from the water and place in a single layer on clean dish towels or a baking rack.
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In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, grated/shredded cheeses, spinach, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper.
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Spread about ¼ cup of the mixture over the bottom three-quarters of each noodle. Roll the noodles up around the filling.
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At this point the filled noodles can be frozen for later use by placing seam-side down on a baking sheet and putting in the freezer until firm, about 1 hour. Transfer to Tupperware or ziplock bag until ready to use.
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To finish and serve, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Spread 1 cup of sauce over the bottom of an 8X8 inch baking dish. It might be a tight squeeze but it’ll work! Arrange 6 of the filled manicotti over the sauce. Pour 1 cup of sauce over the top, cover with foil, and bake about 30-35 minutes. Remove the foil, top with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle with the cheese.

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Continue to bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 10 minutes more. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve! If baking from frozen, simply add a few extra minutes to the initial baking time.
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Recipe from Annie’s Eats.