Pecan Crusted Chicken Bites

Isn’t kid food secretly kind of the best? Mac and cheese bites, miniature sandwiches, mini pizzas, chicken nuggets. Are you seeing a theme here? Mini, mini, mini. It’s no secret that I think miniature things are adorable. Luckily for me, my fascination is right in line with the restaurant trends. Call it “small plates” or “tapas,” and apparently, you’re allowed to charge $1 per olive. So today, we’re making our own small plate, minus the big price tag, by taking chicken and turning it bite-size. But don’t worry – just because we’re making kid-sized food doesn’t mean we’re going kid-sized on the flavor.

Crunchy, tasty, and flavorful – these little guys have it all. And you’ll be surprised by how quickly they come together. Plus, you can feel good about what you’re eating. The breadcrumb coating is made with light and fluffy breadcrumbs, chopped up pecans, and spiced lightly with paprika, garlic, and cumin. Dip these little guys in a greek yogurt dill sauce, and you’ve got yourself a seriously protein-packed meal. Because the chicken is cut up into little pieces, it won’t take very long in the oven for these to be cooked through, which means you’ll be eating in no time, and there’s less risk of drying out your chicken by leaving it in the oven too long. A win-win in my bite-sized book.

 

Feel free to serve these alongside other appetizers and make your own small plates dinner, or let them shine on their own as the main dish. If you manage to have any leftovers, the chicken works perfectly on a salad for lunch the next day – I suggest you use the rest of the greek yogurt dip as your dressing!

Pecan Crusted Chicken Bites

Cook time: 15 minutes; Total time: 30 minutes

Adapted from: Spicy Pecan Popcorn Chicken

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup pecan pieces

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes*

1/2 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt

2 tbsp milk

1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried dill

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Splash lemon juice (~1/2 tsp)

 

Directions:

First, preheat your oven to 450℉, and cover a baking sheet with foil.

Combine the bread crumbs, pecan pieces, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined, about 30 seconds. Pour breadcrumbs into a bowl (I like to pour them a little at a time, so that if I have extra I can save it without worrying about having egg in the extra crumbs).

In another small bowl, whisk the teaspoon of water with the egg white.

Set up your breading station. I find it easiest to put everything in order you’ll need it, so you’ll want: chicken pieces, then egg white, then breadcrumbs, and finally your baking sheet.

Dip the chicken pieces first in the egg white, then roll them in the breadcrumb mixture to coat them, and place them on your baking sheet. They can be close together, but try not to have them touching.

Bake at 450℉ for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

While the chicken is baking, mix together yogurt, milk, dill, garlic powder, and lemon juice.

Serve the chicken bites with dipping sauce on the side.

 

*I originally made this with just 1 pound, but found the breadcrumbs make enough to cover 2 pounds of chicken. If you don’t want to make this much chicken, I suggest making the breadcrumbs and then pouring about half of them into the bowl you will dip the chicken into, and saving the rest for later.