Texas ——–> California

santamonica2-3My husband and I are still recovering from our spontaneous 22-hour road trip to California last week. Can you believe that it takes longer to get across the state of Texas than it does to cross New Mexico, Arizona, and California? Crazy. I honestly thought that I have been tired before, but I have never been THIS tired. Because we are us, we didn’t stick to Whole 30 while on the trip. Shocker.
santamonica1We were so delirious and happy the entire time we were in California. We found an amazing apartment to live in, spent time with my family and their dog, discovered that the apartment we are moving into is 2 blocks from where my best friend works, and ate this delicious bread+butter pudding with cognac sabayon (among lots of other things). Complete perfection.
I’m trying to get back into the swing of normal things with Whole 30 again. It’s tough because my husband can only eat soft foods for a few days (so basically mashed potatoes and smoothies) while he recovers from dental surgery. But before his surgery I made pecan crusted chicken tenders that taste just like Fall. I loved dipping them in mustard and served them with garlic mashed potatoes. They reminded me of soft pretzels dipped in mustard. Bonus: they are baked. I’ll definitely be making them again when my husband recovers, hopefully soon!
Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
pecanchicken9These chicken tenders start with a boneless, skinless chicken breast. If the chicken is thick in the middle, use a meat mallet to make it a consistent thickness throughout so that every piece bakes evenly. Cut the chicken breast into bite-size tenders.
pecanchicken6The spice mixture that I used to bread the chicken is ground pecans with paprika, egg, and lightly ground pecans (for texture). It creates the perfect coating on the outside of the chicken to keep it moist but also adds flavor.
pecanchicken1pecanchicken2In a blender, I finely ground pecans and paprika. Don’t blend it too long or it will turn to pecan butter :). Which sounds delicious, but not for this. I put those into a glass bowl and added more pecans to the blender to make a coarser ground pecan mixture.
pecanchicken3 copyIn three separate bowls, place the finely ground pecan+paprika mixture, coarse ground pecans, and two eggs seasoned with salt and pepper (lightly beaten). First bread the chicken tenders in the finely ground pecans, then in the lightly beaten egg mixture, then in the coarsely chopped pecans. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. pecanchicken8The chicken will bake for approximately 20 minutes and will be crispy on the outside and moist and flavorlful on the inside.
pecanchicken4pecanchicken10I really love red potatoes. Boil them with garlic, salt, and pepper, and they have so much flavor. I think when I make this chicken again I will pair it with spicy braised cabbage. It’s hearty enough of a dish to be a perfect weeknight supper without weighing you down with any processed ingredients.
santamonica3I can’t wait to move back to LA and be by the ocean again. I think Whole 30 will be so much easier when I have the beautiful beach to go to everyday.

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cups raw pecans
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 pound red potatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp ghee
Mustard, to taste (as dipping sauce)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a blender, place 1/2 cup pecans and finely grind. Combine with paprika and place in small bowl
3. Place 1/2 cup pecans in blender and coarsely grind. Place in separate small bowl
4. Crack two eggs in separate small bowl and lightly beat, add salt and pepper
5. Cut chicken into bite-size tenders
6. Place chicken into finely ground pecans, then in egg, then in coarsely ground pecans, and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes
7. Fill a large pot with water and place potatoes in with garlic and salt
8. Boil for 20 minutes on medium heat and drain. Mash with ghee
9. Serve chicken with mustard dipping sauce and mashed potatoes with ghee on top

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