happy meal me

Well, maybe not with mystery nuggets in a card board box, but we’re going to take a PG-13 approach to the idea of a happy meal, and there will be no drive through required. Here is my adult take on crispy chicken fingers & ketchup. Is fried chicken delicious? Heck yeah! Is it healthy? Not a chance. So, we’re going to skillet crisp, then oven bake our tender, white meat chicken. Breading is going to sport herbs, spices & parmesan cheese. Oh…and our regular ketchup? It will be taken up a notch with the addition of red pepper jelly & sour cream, for an awesome dipping sauce. Fries? I love them, but tonight to keep in sync with our healthy dish, we’re going to make some balsamic roasted baby carrots & save the potatoes for another day. Fresh spinach will be there too, so we’re armed and ready for the best Happy Meal this side of the deep fryer! Oh, though we don’t have a cheap, plastic prize to include, we’re going to opt for a nice glass of Pinot instead. This is sounding better by the minute! 

Simple, crispy, healthier and good. Time to make some chicken strips & special sauce kids… 

5 from 1 reviews
breaded chicken fingers & red pepper dipping sauce
Grown-up, spicer and healthier chicken tenders and kicked-up red pepper jelly ketchup dipping sauce, yum!
Serves: about 9-10 chicken breast tenders, crisped up!
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
What to get:
  • 1 package (~9 pcs) chicken tenders, fresh, boneless & skinless
  • 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 4 T shredded or grated fresh parmesan
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 T EVOO (for browning)
  • dried parsley (chopped)
  • paprika
  • fine black pepper
  • Seasoning salt (like Lawry's)
  • garlic powder
  • dried thyme
For the dipping sauce:
  • Heinz ketchup
  • red pepper jelly
  • sour cream
  • Worcestershire sauce
What to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. In 3, separate shallow dishes, place flour, the other the eggs beaten lightly, then breadcrumbs.
  3. In dish with breadcrumbs add spices to your taste. I add about 2 tsp thyme, S&P to taste, 1 tsp garlic powder, 3 tsp paprika, 1 T parsley, and the parmesan cheese. combine.
  4. Rinse raw chicken breast tenders and pat dry with paper towels.
  5. dredge tenders in flour, then egg wash, then breadcrumb mix, making sure to pat crumbs well covering each peice.
  6. Preheat a large nonstick skillet with the EVOO
  7. on medium heat on stove, add breaded tenders and let cook, not moving, for about 10 mins one side (this will depend how large/thick cuts are. Mine were very thick)
  8. Once brown & crispy on one side, carefully flip tenders over in pan with spatula
  9. Continue to cook on other side for about 10 more mins or until crust crisps and darkens.
  10. Then for thicker tenders, transfer strips to baking sheet into pre-heated oven and cook through, without drying-out.
For the dipping sauce:
  1. In small bowl, combine about 4 T Heinz ketchup, 2 T red pepper jelly, dash Worcestershire sauce, and 2 tsp sour cream. Whisk well and serve with tenders. Delicious!
This is easy and healthy.Better than fast food! Good flavors and great crispy texture.

We almost forgot the roasted carrots! OK, these are easy, but don’t be deceived by their healthy facade…they’ll be off your plate faster than you think.

5 from 1 reviews
balsamic roasted baby carrots
Umm, yumm! These are salty sweet good
Serves: great side, enough for 6 easy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
What to get:
  • 1 bag, fresh baby carrots, peeled, the smaller, the sweeter
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp dried prepared mustard
  • 1 T fresh EVOO
  • 1 T fresh balsamic
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
What to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 420
  2. In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients minus carrots
  3. Add sauce mix to carrots in bowl, tossing well
  4. in oiled, small baking dish, roast carrots for about 25 mins till very tender. Check throughout.
  5. Enjoy!
This is really a great side dish. The carrots caramelize with the honey, salt & balsamic, so to add a salty contrast. None left here!
Serving size: as many as you fancy

If you’re looking for an inner-child inspired meal, and want to spare the frying vat food chains, this meal is a great option. I love crispy chicken, and even use this recipe as a foundation for my quick, weeknight chicken parmesan strips. Humm, that’s coming soon! Until then, I will enjoy my grown up ketchup dipage, sweet/salty caramelized carrots & glass of Pinot! Bon Appetit!

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Welcome to the dinnervine!

Thank you for visiting the dinnervine! In the words of Julia Child, "People who love to eat, are always the best people," and I couldn't agree more. I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I did making them. Here's to creating new recipes and memories with friends & family, cheers! 

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