Oven Chicken Tenders with BBQ Tahini Sauce

Oven Chicken Tenders with BBQ Tahini are chicken tenders suitable for any adult dinner. Crispy seasoned chicken tenders dipped in a tahini sauce with BBQ sauce, lime juice, and almond butter will satisfy your craving for a chicken tender. The kids will even like these too!
They tell you all about the sleepless nights with a baby. People love to talk about that. I think that’s one of the first things out of someone’s mouth when they respond to news about a new baby. “Hope you enjoyed your last restful night!” or “You’ll sleep again when they’re 18!” And to an extent, they are right. The no sleep, terrible sleep, can’t even sleep on a business trip because I’m used to be woken from my sleep is all very very true. But there’s something people don’t mention that I struggle with daily: never-ending cleaning.
The messes. The cleaning…constant cleaning. After meal time Lilly’s highchair looks like I dumped out the contents of a dustbuster all over it. The table top of her highchair becomes a finger-painting masterpiece of tomato sauce. I’ll admit, I fall back on feeding her just to avoid creating yet another crumbly, saucy, all over the floor mess. And for all you pet-owners, you know where I’m going next. Our furry friends have learned if they wait underneath the highchair it’s only a matter of time before  a morsel of something is dropped from those little baby fingers on it’s way to the floor….well now the pet’s mouth. The added problem for me is, my kitty cat has IBS. So when he’s in a flare-up these little treasures don’t sit well with his tummy…so guess what I’ll be cleaning up next? I’m writing this as there’s a sink piled high with dishes, I have a dishwasher but it’s full with clean dishes that I’m too tired to unload and reload with the dirty ones. Sometimes, it ends up being a night we eat dinner on a paper plate. Parenting takes every last ounce of mental and physical energy you have, and at the end of the day sometimes the dishes sit, the crumbs stay in the highchair, and I eat off a paper plate. 
 Oven chicken tenders are great because you’ll cut down on dirtying up some silverware, all cheer for less cleanup! Chicken tenders are really easy to throw together, slice up some chicken breasts, coat them in some seasoned breadcrumbs, and bake. DONE. Then you can have a little fun with the sauces, which is what I did here. BBQ Tahini sauce is THE sauce of the summer. I’m not making that up. You’re going to want this on everything, I’m already thinking of burger recipes I can use this on. 
A couple things to note about this recipe:
  • Tahini sauce can be made with tahini or nut butters, you’ll see below I use almond butter and I do this quite often. Tahini sauce might not be something you can find in your grocery store so don’t worry, almond butter or cashew butter is a completely acceptable replacement. 
  • I always buy chicken breasts and slice them into my tenders, I never buy the chicken tenderloins. I find that the tenderloins are tougher and don’t cook as well for me.
  • The seasoned breadcrumbs recipe below is a basic mix of spices, it has lots of flavor but feel free to mix it up or add heat like chili powder if that’s your thing.
  • These are kid-friendly! Lilly ate these up, after I tore them up into bite-sized pieces that eventually made a crumbly mess I had to cleanup.
If you have extra tahini sauce you can store it in the fridge for a few days, just know you’ll need to add some water to it before you use it next since it will set into a thick paste consistency once it is chilled. It will loosen back up, add water a little at a time until it reaches a nice saucy consistency again.
Eat these oven chicken tenders with BBQ tahini and enjoy a childhood favorite with a bit of a mature spin to them.

For the Chicken Tenders
-2 large chicken breasts, slice into chicken tenders
-1 cup plain breadcrumbs
-1 cup Panko
-1 cup half and half
-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon paprika
-1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-Olive oil for brushing chicken
For the BBQ Tahini Sauce
-1/4 cup almond butter
-1 lime, juiced
-1 teaspoon soy sauce
-3 garlic cloves, grated
-3 and 1/2 tablespoons BBQ sauce 
-4 tablespoons water
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Pour the half and half into a large bowl. In another large bowl, mix the Panko, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, paprika, dry mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper. Take your chicken tenders and dip into the half and half, then into the seasoned breadcrumbs making sure they are well coated all around. Press the chicken firmly into the breadcrumbs to help them stick and get a nice coating. Place all coated chicken tenders onto a large baking sheet that’s been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Last, pour some olive oil into a bowl and use a basting brush to dab a little oil over each chicken tender. Bake for 18-20 minutes. 18 minutes was perfect in my oven.
3. While the chicken tenders are baking, make the tahini sauce. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until everything is combined. If it’s too thick, add more water a tablespoon at a time until it has thinned out.
4. To serve drizzle a little of the BBQ tahini over each chicken tender and serve with a generous bowl of tahini for dipping.

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