Improvising with Rachel

October 14, 2010

I have been a very lazy, uncreative cook lately.

Not sure what has caused this, my latest slump, but I’ve been dragging in it for a few months.  So tonight I decided that I needed to pull myself up by the proverbial bootstraps, forget about all the Halloween candy calling my name, and try to block out the fact that retailers far and wide are already setting up Christmas displays.  I had to find a way to make supper a little more interesting for a change.

A little bit of background:  brown rice is a staple of our diet.  We have this 4 – 6 nights/week (it’s very healthy, so don’t knock it).  So to accompany our brown rice and steamed green beans, I found a Rachel Ray recipe that sounded appetizing.  Here it is (and I found it here):

Honey-Mustard Sesame Chicken Planks
[why “planks”? I do not know.  I figure it’s a marketing thing.]

1/2 cup yellow or dijon mustard  [I couldn’t decide which to use, so I used a quarter cup of each.]

1/2 cup honey  [I didn’t have quite a whole half-cup, but it didn’t seem to alter things much.

About 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives  [No chives, fresh or dry, in my kitchen.  So I added about a tablespoon of dried minced onion, thinking she must have been going for a little onion flavor here.]

1 tablespoon hot sauce [I have three kids.  They’re more adventurous than most, but there’s no way I could use more than a little “shake” of Tabasco.]

2 eggs

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders [I’m big on dark meat.  I have always preferred the taste (and I know that the majority of you will think I must be on crack after that statement, but alas, my insanity is completely organic, as I’ve never done drugs of any sort), and it’s way cheaper.  So I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of “chicken breast tenders.”]

Salt and pepper  [Sounds like a good idea.  Too bad I forgot them.]

1/2 cup slivered, sliced or blanched whole almonds  [I didn’t have these at all.  Big shocker, I know.  All I had on hand was a vacuum-packed bag of honey-encrusted slivered almonds (such as you’d put on a salad).  So I chopped those up into a fine meal with my Pampered Chef chopper.]

1 cup panko or plain breadcrumbs  [what the H is panko?  I didn’t have time to look it up.  I also didn’t have plain breadcrumbs, so I used the Italian-seasoned ones I always keep on-hand]

1/4 cup sesame seeds  [Hubby is not too keen on sesame seeds, so I used only about a 1/8th cup]

Vegetable oil, for frying  [I am categorically against vegetable oil unless I need it for baking.  I used olive oil.]

Salted red radishes, celery sticks and pickle spears, for serving  [Yeah, right.]

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 275°.  Place a baking sheet in the oven.
  2. In a bowl, combine the mustard, honey, chives and hot sauce. Separate out half of the sauce and reserve.
  3. Beat the eggs into the remaining sauce. Coat the chicken tenders with the egg sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Using a food processor, grind the nuts. Combine with the panko and sesame seeds.
  5. In a large skillet, heat a layer of oil over medium-high heat. Coat the tenders in the nut-breadcrumb mixture and fry, turning, in 2 batches until deep golden. Transfer to the hot baking sheet in the oven.
  6. Serve the tenders with a drizzle of the remaining honey-mustard sauce, or divide the sauce into small bowls for dipping.

Serve with the radishes, celery sticks and pickle spears.  [And again I say:  Yeah, right.]


  • Because of the honey, the chicken browns rather quickly.  Given that I can be a bit distracted around the cooking portion of supper – breaking up squabbles and the like – choosing something that can easily, uh, brown, may not be the best choice.  So if you make this?  Pay close attention through the cooking phase.
  • Overall the family really liked it.  Except Amy, who is boycotting supper this week.  (In case you’re worried, she eats about three breakfasts to compensate.)

So… that was my supper experiment.  Somewhat tastier than what I’ve been cooking in my latest “slump.”  Try it and see what you think.

And if you DO try it, be sure to let me know how it turns out for you.  Especially if you use all the correct ingredients.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa Prechel October 15, 2010 at 7:42 am

I have a really easy Chicken Piccata recipe I could give you….Carter LOVES it! I think Claire and Kate would probably like it, not sure about Amy. :)


2 Angela Seger October 15, 2010 at 3:21 pm

sounds very yummy. I am finally starting to cook (and alas, eat) again.


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