Oven Baked Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders: A Keto Delight
Welcome to a recipe that marries simplicity with indulgence – Oven Baked Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders. This dish is a testament to the fact that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor for health. As someone following a keto diet, you’re always on the lookout for meals that fit within your low-carb, high-fat regimen. These chicken tenders, enrobed in crispy bacon, offer just that. Not only are they gluten-free and packed with protein, but they also boast a net carb count that will keep you well within your daily limits. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or looking for a satisfying family meal, this recipe is sure to be a hit.
Imagine biting into a tender piece of chicken, seasoned to perfection, with the smoky flavor of bacon in every bite. That’s what you get with these oven-baked delights. They’re not just a treat for your taste buds; they’re also incredibly easy to prepare. With a prep time of mere minutes and a cook time that allows you to multitask, you can have a delicious keto-friendly meal on the table in no time. Let’s embark on this culinary journey together and discover why this dish is a staple for anyone on a ketogenic diet.
The Story Behind The Recipe
Every recipe has a story, and these bacon wrapped chicken tenders are no exception. This dish was born out of a desire for something that felt indulgent yet fit within the stringent requirements of a ketogenic lifestyle. The key to its success is in the balance of flavors and textures – the juicy tenderness of the chicken, the robust smokiness of the bacon, and the subtle spices that bring it all together.
Chicken is a staple in the keto diet due to its high protein content and versatility. When selecting chicken tenders for this recipe, you’re choosing a lean source of protein that’s low in carbohydrates but high in satisfaction. Wrapping them in bacon not only adds a rich layer of flavor but also introduces healthy fats that are essential for maintaining ketosis. The spices used – garlic powder and paprika – not only enhance the taste but also offer health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.
Moreover, this recipe aligns perfectly with the keto philosophy. It’s low in carbs, high in fats, and moderate in protein, which is the golden ratio for anyone trying to maintain or achieve ketosis. The simplicity of the ingredients list also means that these tenders are free from unnecessary additives, aligning with a clean eating approach.
For those on keto, the importance of meal prep cannot be overstated. This recipe is not only quick to prepare but also stores well, making it an excellent option for meal prepping. You can easily scale up the quantities to have a ready-to-go meal for several days, saving time while ensuring you stay on track with your dietary goals.
The combination of savory bacon and juicy chicken creates a symphony of flavors that’s hard to resist. And the fact that it’s a dish that can be enjoyed by those on and off the keto diet alike makes it a versatile option for any occasion. Whether you’re new to keto or a seasoned pro, this recipe is bound to become a regular in your culinary repertoire.
Perfecting the Method
The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity, but as any seasoned chef knows, the devil is in the details. Here, I’ll share some chef’s tips to elevate your bacon wrapped chicken tenders from good to great.
Firstly, when preparing your chicken, ensure that each tender is patted dry before you brush on the olive oil. This will help the spices adhere better and ensure that the bacon crisps up nicely in the oven. Speaking of spices, feel free to adjust the quantities to suit your taste. If you love garlic, don’t hesitate to add a little extra!
Secondly, when wrapping the tenders in bacon, aim for an even layer without overlapping too much. This will promote even cooking and ensure that every bite is as crispy as the last. If you find the bacon isn’t crisping to your liking, a quick broil at the end of the cooking time can add that desired crunch – just keep a close eye to prevent burning.
Finally, let’s talk about resting. It may be tempting to dive right in once these tenders come out of the oven, but allowing them to rest for a few minutes will help the juices redistribute, ensuring that each bite is moist and flavorful. Use this time to prepare a simple keto-friendly side, like a green salad or roasted vegetables, to complete your meal.
Remember, the key to perfecting any dish is patience and attention to detail. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a meal that’s sure to impress.
Variations to Keep It Fresh
Spicy Jalapeño Popper Chicken Tenders
For those who love a little heat, try incorporating jalapeños into your chicken tenders. Slice the jalapeños and place a few pieces on top of each chicken tender before wrapping them in bacon. The heat from the peppers will infuse the chicken, and the bacon will help temper the spiciness, creating a balanced and flavorful dish.
Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders
Cheese and bacon are a match made in heaven. Sprinkle a little shredded cheddar or mozzarella on each chicken tender before wrapping it in bacon. As the cheese melts, it will blend with the juices from the chicken and bacon, creating a gooey, delicious experience with every bite.
Herb-Infused Chicken Tenders
If you’re a fan of herbs, try adding some fresh thyme or rosemary to your spice mix. The aromatic qualities of the herbs will complement the smokiness of the bacon and add a new dimension of flavor to the chicken tenders.
Substitutions for Dietary Needs
While this recipe is already keto-friendly, there may be times when you need to make substitutions to cater to other dietary restrictions or preferences. Here are a few options:
Turkey Bacon: If you’re looking to reduce the fat content, turkey bacon can be a suitable substitute for pork bacon. It’s leaner but still provides that satisfying crunch.
Coconut Oil: For those who prefer not to use olive oil, coconut oil is a great alternative. It’s a staple in keto diets and can add a subtle, sweet flavor to the dish.
Seasoning Variations: Feel free to experiment with different spice blends. For example, if you’re avoiding garlic, try onion powder or a pinch of smoked paprika for a different flavor profile.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
A: Absolutely! You can prepare the chicken tenders and wrap them in bacon, then store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake. Just be sure to let them come to room temperature before cooking for even results.
Q: Is this recipe suitable for meal prep?
A: Yes, these bacon wrapped chicken tenders reheat well and can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave for best results.
Q: Can I use chicken breasts instead of tenders?
A: You can, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time as chicken breasts are thicker. Cut them into strips similar to tenders for consistent cooking.
Q: What sides go well with this dish?
A: Keto-friendly sides like cauliflower mash, sautéed greens, or a fresh salad make excellent accompaniments.
Q: Can I cook these tenders on the grill?
A: Yes, grilling is a great option for the summertime. Just be sure to watch them closely to prevent flare-ups from the bacon fat.
Oven Baked Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper or silicone baking mat
- Small mixing bowl
- Pastry brush
- Measuring spoons
- 1 lb chicken tenders (approximately 8 tenders)
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for easy cleanup.
- In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
- Lay the chicken tenders out on a clean surface. Brush each tender with olive oil, then sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the chicken to coat thoroughly.
- Take one slice of bacon and wrap it around a chicken tender, making sure to cover as much of the chicken as possible. Repeat with the remaining chicken tenders.
- Place the bacon-wrapped chicken tenders on the prepared baking sheet, ensuring they are not touching each other for even cooking.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy and the chicken's internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
- Optional: For extra crispiness, broil for an additional 2-3 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.