Ranch Dipped Jalapeno Cheddar Chicken Tenders Win Game Day

In the epic battle between chicken wings and chicken tenders, the later come out victorious at my house every time– it’s just a matter of personal preference. However, whether you’re on Team Wing or Team Tender, there’s no argument that Homestyle Ranch Dressing is the most delicious dip ever created for chicken, and really all the foods, to be dunked, dipped, drizzled or doused.   My recipe for Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Tenders with Ranch Dressing is a winner as an appetizer for your big football party or as a quick, weeknight dinner.

Even if you’ve never made a homemade tender or chicken nugget in your life, this easy recipe will prove that you are a bona fide snack-making champ. The coating for the uncooked chicken tenders takes two simple steps. First a quick dredge in an egg, flour and ranch dressing mixture and second, a shake-shake-shake in a bag filled with the crumbs of cheddar crackers and crispy jalapenos. Prep to oven to plate in just 30 minutes, leaving your more time to stock the fridge with cold beverages for your guests!

I’ve made these Jalapeno Chicken Tenders with Ranch Dressing as a game-day finger food to share with friends and family. They are also quite delicious served on a big salad (with Ranch Dressing, naturally) or in tortillas with salsa for Taco Tuesday! If a little spicy doesn’t work for you, just substitute the crispy jalapenos with French-fried onions (those kind put atop a green bean casserole). Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, these are so much, much lower fat than fried chicken tenders, nuggets and wings – so munch away!

Jalapeno Cheddar Chicken Tenders with Homestyle Ranch Dressing

Serves 6 | Finish in 30 minutes
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Become the snack-making champ of any game day party with Jalapeno Cheddar Tenders, an easy chicken appetizer done in 30 minutes. Dip in Ranch Dressing for an epic end-zone celebration.

Ingredients

1 large egg
1/3 cup Litehouse Foods Homestyle Ranch Dressing
2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour (or gluten-free blend)
1 ½ cups crushed cheese crackers like Goldfish, Cheese Nips, etc. (may substitute gluten-free crackers)
½ cup crushed crispy jalapenos (a packaged salad topper found in produce department or crouton aisle)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Instantly Fresh Cilantro
1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken tenders
Cooking spray
Garnish: Jalapeno slices and fresh cilantro

Directions

Preheat oven to 390 F degrees.

In shallow dish, whisk together egg, Ranch dressing, flour and ground pepper. Mixture will be thick and glue-ish. Depending on actual egg size, you may need to thin with another tablespoon or so of Ranch dressing.

Add cheese crackers, crispy jalapenos, garlic powder and Instantly Fresh Cilantro to heavy-duty  gallon-capacity zip-top bag. Use rolling pin to crush contents into medium-coarse crumbs.

Taking one tender at a time, dredge in egg mixture and then shake in crumb mixture until coated. Place on rimmed baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray, or for even more crispness, use a mesh baking tray on top.

Bake at 390 F degrees for 20 minutes, or until cooked through at thickest portion of tender. If placed straight on the baking sheet, flip tenders once after 10 minutes of baking. If using a raised mesh tray, no need to flip.

Remove tenders from oven, let cook for 3 minutes, garnish with jalapeno slices and cilantro, and serve with a bowl of Homestyle Ranch Dressing for dipping.


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