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Italian Garden Salsa with Crunchy Chicken Tenders

“This lunch is brimming with the flavors of an Italian vegetable garden and is very nutritious. We love Italian food and the salsa is something we can make with vegetables from our garden,” says Samantha. “It’s very tasty with chicken combined with the crunchy coating.” Her lunch also includes a 1/2 cup of strawberries, 1 ounce of whole-grain flatbread crackers, and an 8-ounce glass of fat-free milk. - Samantha Mastrati, age 12, Rhode Island

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

For the Italian garden salsa:

  • 2 cups diced ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced Vidalia onion
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

For the chicken tenders:

  • 3/4 cup plain panko bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 1 pound skinless chicken tenders (about 8 to 10 pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preparation:

Make the Italian garden salsa:

  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the tomatoes, peppers, onion, celery, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the basil and parsley and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.

Make the chicken tenders:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a dark baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon basil, garlic powder, parsley, and Parmesan.
  3. In a second small bowl, beat the egg whites, milk, and remaining ½ teaspoon basil.
  4. Working with 1 piece at a time, dip the chicken tenders into the egg mixture, making sure to coat both sides. Dip one side of the chicken tender into the bread crumb mixture, then flip it over to coat the other side. Dip the chicken tender back in the egg mixture and then back in the bread crumb mixture so it has two coats of each. Place the coated chicken tenders on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken, egg mixture, and bread crumb mixture. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken tenders over, drizzle with more olive oil, and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Serve with salsa.

301 calories; 15g protein; 28g carbohydrates; 14g fat (3g saturated fat); 556mg sodium

More information about the Kids' State Dinner:

  • Check out the other winning 2013 Kids' State Dinner Recipes here.
  • Learn more about Kids' State Dinner here.