Thursday, September 10, 2020

Game Day Food...Featuring Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Fingers with Salsa-Ranch Dipping Sauce #homegating #gamedayeats #fingerfoods #chickentenders #ranch


is week is the official return of the NFL football season! For me, the return of professional sports has provided a bit of normalcy in a crazy year. As you likely know by now, w
e're huge Houston Texans we're gearing up for the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs this Thursday night! Cheering for our favorite teams will definitely be a bit different this season. For example, there will be no large game-watching parties at local sports bars or restaurants. That means cheering at home with our immediate family and/or close friends. For us, that means serving lots of tasty appetizers and finger foods to munch on while we're cheering for our Texans.

My Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Fingers with Salsa-Ranch Dipping Sauce are filling and tasty. Because they're baked, they're healthier than fried chicken tenders. These chicken fingers feature a crunchy tortilla chip coating, a bit of spice, and a simple homemade salsa-ranch dip. Everyone who tries these chicken strips goes crazy for them. I like to use nacho cheese flavored tortilla chips, but feel free to use any flavor of tortilla chips your group loves. Taco-and ranch-flavored tortilla chips are also really yummy!

Tortilla-Crusted Chicken Fingers
with Salsa-Ranch Dipping Sauce
a Weekend Gourmet Original
Ingredients (10 chicken fingers and 1.5 cups of dip):
  • 1 lb. chicken tenderloins OR chicken breast cut into strips
  • 2 tbs. taco seasoning
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups nacho cheese tortilla chips 
For the dipping sauce:
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 chunky salsa -- select the heat level you prefer
  • 1 tsp. dried cilantro
  • 1 packet ranch dressing and dip mix
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375℉. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and generously spray with non-stick spray. Set aside while you prep the chicken tenders. Sprinkle the chicken tenders with taco seasoning on both sides. Crush the tortilla chips in a plastic zip-top bag -- you should end up with approximately 2 cups of crushed chips. Place the crushed tortilla chips in a shallow dish.
Step 2: Add the eggs, milk, hot sauce, and a bit of salt & pepper to a small bowl. Whisk well to combine. Dip the chicken tenders in the egg wash, then coat them with with the crushed tortilla chips. Arrange the tenders on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, flipping the tenders over halfway through baking so they're crispy on both sides.

Step 3: While the chicken tenders bake, make the dipping sauce. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, hot sauce, cilantro, and ranch seasoning in a small mixing bowl. Stir to completely combine and spoon into a decorative serving bowl. Note: the dip can be made up to 24 hours ahead to save time on game day.
Step 4: When the chicken tenders are finished cooking, arrange them on a serving platter. Serve them with the dipping sauce on the side...with some icy-cold beverages served in team logo cups!
These baked chicken tenders are simple to make, but they feature the big flavors that we love! The tortilla chip coating ensures the tenders bake up super crunchy -- and the mildly spicy dipping sauce pairs perfectly with the the tortilla chip coating. Even better, the salsa-ranch sauce pulls double duty as a delicious dip for any chips you also have on your snack table!

This is actually a really fun time to be a fan of ALL Houston sports. Due to this year's COVID-altered season schedules, this is the first time I ever recall Texans NFL games, Astros baseball games, and Rockets NBA playoff games taking place simultaneously. All these games mean lots of at-home munching the rest of the I'll be sharing lots of great gameday munchies over the next few months! What do YOU like to serve on for gameday sports viewing? Let me know in the Comments below!

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