Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you know me well then you know I love chicken fingers. They’re crispy, crunchy, perfect for dipping and full of childhood nostalgia. I even mention them in my about Lauren section. Although I usually only have chicken fingers while I’m eating out, I do (attempt) to keep homemade panko crusted chicken bites in the freezer. I say attempt because the batch is usually gone before the week is over.

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

While going through my recipe binders that I mentioned in the Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts post I came across these Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders from a 2011 issue of Food Network Magazine. Their recipe calls for shallow frying the tenders, but I knew my baking method for my panko crusted chicken bites was tried and true for creating crispy coated chicken so I baked them instead.

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

The chicken tenders get dipped in frothy egg whites and then are coated in a combination of panko breadcrumbs, finely chopped pecans, sesame seeds, paprika and salt. The key to achieving crispy chicken tenders in the oven is to place them on a wire cooling rack coated with nonstick cooking spray that you’ve placed on a large baking sheet. This is the same method used for my Baked Pistachio Crusted Chicken. The hot oven air circulates around all sides of the chicken tenders making sure every single bite is crispy – no air fryer needed!

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I was a little shocked at how obsessed I was with the panko-pecan-sesame combination. They taste so well together and provide a perfect crunch.

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Since these aren’t ordinary chicken tenders I thought they deserved a simple, but stepped-up dipping sauce. The sesame had me thinking of Asian flavors and since I still had hoisin in the fridge from the Hoisin Beef Kebobs I whipped up a quick dipping sauce of hoisin, mayonnaise and lime juice. It’s creamy, sweet and a little tangy. I hope you love these Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders as much as we do!

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1½ pounds bone skinless chicken tenders, or breasts cut into 1” wide strips
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • Cooking spray
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a wire cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray then place on top of a large baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a shallow, wide bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, chopped pecans, sesame seeds, paprika and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Working with 1 tender at a time, dip the chicken in the egg whites then dip in the panko mixture to coat completely. Place on the prepared wire rack so the chicken tenders aren’t touching. Lightly spray the top of the chicken with cooking spray (I use olive oil or coconut oil spray) then bake for 20-22 minutes. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Keep on the wire rack until serving with the hoisin dipping sauce.
  4. While the chicken is baking, make the hoisin dipping sauce. In a medium bowl combine the hoisin, mayo and lime juice.

 Recipe adapted from September 2011 issue of Food Network Magazine.

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Re-do of the Pineapple Bread Pudding

Pineapple Bread Pudding  |  Lemon & Mocha

Time for another post re-do! Since Easter is this weekend I thought it was only fitting to give a refresh to my favorite Easter dish – Pineapple Bread Pudding. If you’ve never had Pineapple Bread Pudding alongside spiral ham then you are in for a treat! I’ve updated the post with new photos, some new content and minor recipe adjustments. Check out the updated recipe here. Below is one of the original photos posted in April 2014. The old photos were just, well, boring!  This time I photographed the whole mini Easter meal to provide some context for the dish. More colors and textures definitely lends itself to more interesting photos. If you haven’t made Pineapple Bread Pudding yet now is the time, especially considering it is the fourth most popular recipe on Lemon & Mocha!

Pineapple Bread Pudding  |  Lemon & Mocha

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

How cute are these Easter jelly bean cookies?! These Carrot Cake Nest Cookies are the Food Network Magazine’s April cookies, which is perfectly fitting because they just scream springtime. After last month’s complicated Rainbow Slice-and-Bake Cookies I was very excited to see a classic drop cookie – with a twist of course.

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The cookie batter is filled with all the carrot cake staples: grated carrots, chopped toasted walnuts, and the warming spices of cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Using brown sugar and an egg yolk gives the cookies that ideal chewy texture, which are similar tips I use in my Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. Before being baked, the cookie dough balls are rolled in shredded sweetened coconut. In addition to the chewiness, I love the crunch and texture you get in each bite from the chopped walnuts and shredded coconut.

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

If it stopped there I would still gladly chow down on these carrot cake cookies any day of the week. But there’s more! Piped onto each cooled cookie is a pocket of sweet and buttery cream cheese frosting and some pretty jelly beans. Carrot cake is not complete without cream cheese frosting so it only makes sense for us to frost these cookies to make them truly carrot cake cookies! The little dollop in the middle of the cookie gives just the right balance of cookie to frosting.

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Even though they’re so cute, I thought I was going to end up picking off the jelly beans and eating them separately, but I actually really loved a bite of everything all together! Something about the added texture and sweetness of the jelly bean was a nice touch. I also used some of my favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavors so that might have been part of it!

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The recipe calls for blue and white jelly beans, but if you don’t have enough feel free to branch out into other fun Easter pastel colors. I used the blue and white combo ones for the photos, but I had other cookies in this batch topped with pink and purple jelly beans as well. I hope you all enjoy these Carrot Cake Nest Cookies – they were one of my favorites so far!

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Carrot Cake Nest Cookies
 
Yield: about 22 cookies
Ingredients
for the cookies
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup finely grated carrots (about 2 carrots)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1¾ cups shredded sweetened coconut
for the frosting
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • Blue and white jelly beans, for topping
Directions
for the cookies
  1. Place oven racks in the upper and lower thirds. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and the vanilla then beat again until well combined. Add the carrots and walnuts then beat again. Slowly add the flour mixture while on low speed and beat until just combined.
  3. Scoop tablespoons of dough then roll the balls into the shredded coconut. I used my medium Oxo cookie scoop. Place 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use the handle of a wooden spoon or something round similar in size to make a deep indentation into the centers of the cookies. Bake the cookies, switching the baking pans halfway through from top to bottom, for 22-24 minutes, or until the cookies are set and the coconut is golden brown. Let cool completely on the pans placed on wire cooling racks.
for the frosting
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag with the corner snipped or a pastry bag fitting with a round tip. If you aren’t ready to use right away, keep refrigerated. Pipe the frosting into the indentation if each cooled cookie then top each cookie with 3 jelly beans.

 Recipe from January/February 2019 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

We made it to Friday! Woo hoo! Time to celebrate with these Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts.

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve written about my large quantity of cookbook recipes I have yet to try, but I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned all my recipe binders here before. I have four enormous binders that are filled to the brim with recipes. Most of them contain recipes from magazines although one of them is devoted to recipes I’ve printed out. And you guessed it – most of them are waiting for me to try them!

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have a somewhat decent system where once I try one of the recipes if I like it then the recipe will usually end up on Lemon & Mocha so I can recycle the original. Of course, if I don’t like it then it immediately gets recycled. This way if I’m able to try some new recipes from the binder every once in a while I’m able to make room for all the new recipes I’m continually trying to shove in them. I figured I was long overdue in turning to my binders for some dinner inspiration. These roasted sweet potatoes from Cuisine at Home immediately caught my eye.

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love sweet potatoes, but I tend to simply roast them as wedges or bake them whole, which can get really boring. This recipe is just as easy, but adds an extra depth of flavor and richness to the potatoes. The sweet potato wedges are tossed in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and salt and pepper. The brown sugar creates a subtle sweetness and caramelization, while the balsamic vinegar provides the right amount of acidity.

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

Crunchy toasted walnuts and creamy gorgonzola crumbles get tossed on top as soon as the roasted wedges are out of the oven. I decided to toss half the cheese crumbles on top of the potatoes during the last minute of cooking so that some of them got nicely melted while the others I sprinkled on top after they were out of the oven held their shape more to add an additional textural element to the dish. This works well with blue cheese crumbles as well, which is what I used since that’s what was in my fridge. I hope you enjoy this simple and delicious sweet potato recipe!

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts  |  Lemon & Mocha

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 sweet potatoes, about 16 ounces total
  • Salt and pepper
  • Toasted walnuts, for topping (see note)
  • Gorgonzola crumbles, for topping
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cut each sweet potatoes into 16 wedges. First, cut the sweet potato lengthwise. Then cut the sweet potato half into 4 long wedges. Cut each wedge in half to create 8 shorter wedges. Repeat for the other half of the sweet potato then repeat completely for the second sweet potato. Toss the sweet potato wedges in the bowl with the balsamic mixture. Place the wedges in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake the sweet potato wedges for 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until they are slightly caramelized and tender. Remove from the oven and immediately top with the toasted walnuts and gorgonzola crumbles before serving.
Notes
To toast walnuts, lay them on a single layer baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes at 350 degrees F. Watch them carefully as you do not want them to burn and it doesn’t take long for them to get toasted.

 Recipe from December 2011 issue of Cuisine at Home.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Hoisin Beef Kebobs

Hoisin Beef Kebobs  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m back with another favorite from the simplest healthy cookbook, Cook This, Not That! These Hoisin Beef Kebobs are tender, sweet and savory. Pieces of sirloin steak get alternated with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and scallions before being glazed in a five ingredient sauce and grilled.

Hoisin Beef Kebobs  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love that the scallions get nicely charred while the cherry tomatoes burst, which brings the best flavor to the steak. These kebobs are a perfect dinner dish because the vegetables could be swapped out with so many other kinds of vegetables since the sauce is versatile and really would taste delicious with most veggies.

Hoisin Beef Kebobs  |  Lemon & Mocha

I usually serve these kebobs over rice, but they would also be great served with salad or alongside some more vegetables, like some grilled corn.

Hoisin Beef Kebobs  |  Lemon & Mocha

The most important thing to remember when you’re making this recipe is that the other vegetables can’t be taller than the cuts of steak – and that the cuts of steak need to be equal. Particularly if you are cooking on a grill pan, which is requiring direct heat, if you have one large mushroom or one large piece of beef, that other piece of steak won’t get cooked enough since it won’t be touching the grill pan. This is less important if you are using an actual grill.

Hoisin Beef Kebobs  |  Lemon & Mocha

If I’m making these in our grill pan, I actually usually grill the steak and vegetables individually in two batches since our grill pan isn’t long enough for the kebob sticks. Either way, Matt and I can’t get enough of the juicy bites of steak and glazed veggies!

Hoisin Beef Kebobs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Hoisin Beef Kebobs
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce (I use Trader Joe’s green dragon sauce)
  • 16 ounces sirloin steak, cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 20 small mushroom caps
  • 20 small cherry tomatoes
  • 8 scallion whites, sliced into ½-inch long pieces
  • 8 skewers (if wood, soaked in water for 5-10 minutes)
Directions
  1. Combine the hoisin, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili sauce. Divide between 2 small bowls and set aside.
  2. Skewer the steak, mushrooms, tomatoes and scallions, alternating between the meat and vegetables. Try to make sure the mushrooms aren’t larger than the steak pieces, and if the mushrooms are too big then cut them in half. Also make sure the vegetables aren’t pressed against the steak pieces to give the steak enough room to cook.
  3. Using one bowl of the sauce, brush the skewers with sauce and grill for 3-4 minutes per side, basting the other side with sauce before flipping. If you’re using a grill pan, lightly brush the pan with vegetable oil before grilling and grill over medium-high heat. Remove from the grill and brush with the sauce from the second reserved bowl before serving.

Recipe from Cook This, Not That!.
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!