Weeknight Wonderland- Orange Sesame Chicken Tenders

Some weeknights feel like dinner can’t get on the table fast enough. Other nights, a little delay of reinforcement can be a good thing, as long as it doesn’t take too long. It doesn’t matter which you choose, as long as you can get some of the prep done ahead of time. That’s where marinating comes in.

Marinades don’t always mean that something is going on the grill, in fact, this chicken bakes in the oven after an overnight soak in a citrusy and spicy marinade. It doesn’t go in the oven naked either. It is generously coated in crunchy toasted panko bread crumbs and sesame seeds. Sesame oil, sriracha, and soy sauce give this marinade a distinctly Asian flavor. Fresh orange juice and zest along with orange marmalade give it a citrus zing. Garlic makes it yummy and a little chicken stock helps you not miss the oil.

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The recipe makes a lot of marinade, but it is going to do double duty, marinating the chicken and creating a wonderful glaze for the finished tenders. The do-ahead/time-saving feature here is that you can marinate the chicken for 24 hours. Make the whole batch of marinade and pour half of it over the chicken. It can relax in the fridge overnight along with the reserved marinade (in a separate covered container, of course). The longer marinating time lets the flavors really permeate the chicken.

About 30 minutes before show time, remove the tenders from their marinade and let them drain on a rack. Lightly toast the panko crumbs and sesame seeds in a dry pan then pour them in a shallow bowl. Clean and dry the rack and place it in a foil lined baking sheet. spray it lightly with cooking spray. Coat each tender with the crumb mixture and place on  the rack.

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These will take about 20 minutes or less in the oven. While they bake, you can reduce the reserved marinade. This will take about the same amount of time that the tenders do. Isn’t that convenient?

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Sesame Orange Chicken Tenders
Print Recipe
Servings
2
Servings
2
Sesame Orange Chicken Tenders
Print Recipe
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine the first six ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well to mix things up completely.
  2. Put the chicken tenders into a zip-top bag. Add half of the marinade mixture and seal the bag. Put the chicken and the jar with the remaining marinade in the refrigerator. Allow the chicken to marinate for up to 24 hours.
  3. When you are ready to prepare the chicken, remove the tenders from the marinade and allow to drain briefly on a wire rack. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  4. In a small dry fry pan over medium heat toast the panko and sesame seeds tossing often until the crumbs are light golden and the sesame seeds begin to become fragrant. Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Roll the tenders in the crumb mixture pressing the crumbs in to create a nice thick coat.
  6. Wash and dry the rack you drained the chicken on and put it on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Spray it all lightly with the cooking spray.
  7. Place the coated tenders on the rack leaving plenty of space in between. Bake for 15- 20 minutes. The chicken should be golden brown and feel firm. While the chicken bakes, cook the remaining marinade.
  8. In a small fry pan, heat the remaining marinade over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and allow to simmer,thicken and reduce for about 15 - 20 minutes. If the glaze seems too thick add a little more stock. Continue to cook as necessary until the glaze is the consistency you like.
  9. Remove the tenders from the oven when they are ready . Transfer to serving or individual plates and drizzle with the glaze. Serve with sides of your choice.
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Choose sides that are quick as well. A precooked rice pouch that you can add your own special touches to and a vegetable that stir fries quickly keep time within the 30 minute range. Another time saver is to have ingredients do double ( and even triple) duty. I sliced the whole bunch of green onions; the tops went in the rice, and the bottoms joined the broccolini. The carton of stock just stayed on the counter so I could add it to the veggies and the glaze as needed. It also served as the cooking liquid for my rice.

I opted for home cooked brown rice which added an extra 15 minutes or so to my prep time but it was the passive kind; the stove did the work. A little sesame oil and chicken stock perked up the flavor of the rice. I stir fried the broccolini with a little garlic and ginger that played very nicely  with the onions. Start to finish it took less than 15 minutes.

The combination of flavors and textures was amazing. The best part is that it was super easy and with a few do-ahead steps, quick to fix. It was a satisfying dinner that will appear again in Mama D’s Kitchen. Give it a try in your kitchen.

 

 

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