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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

  This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff in collaboration with Sanford Health Systems.
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Spicy Pecan Popcorn Chicken

WebMD Recipe from

Spicy Pecan Popcorn Chicken

These spicy and crunchy pecan-crusted chicken nuggets are paired with a quick, creamy ranch dip. 

This Recipe Is:
Prep: 25 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes
  • 3/4   cup
    coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs, (see Tip)
  • 1/2   cup
    pecan pieces
  • 2   tablespoons
    chili powder
  • 1/4   teaspoon
  • 1  
    egg white
  • 1   tablespoon
  • 1   pound
    boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4   cup
    low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4   cup
    low-fat buttermilk, or milk
  • 1   teaspoon
    dried dill, or 1 tablespoon fresh
  • 1/2   teaspoon
    garlic powder
    canola oil cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Thoroughly coat a wire rack with cooking spray and set on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. Combine breadcrumbs, pecans, chili powder and salt in a food processor; process until the pecans are finely chopped and the chili powder is mixed throughout, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish.
  3. Whisk egg white and water in a second shallow dish. Add chicken and turn to coat, then dredge in the pecan mixture, turning to coat evenly. Shake off excess. (Discard any remaining egg and pecan mixture.) Place the chicken on the prepared rack and thoroughly coat with cooking spray.
  4. Bake the chicken until no longer pink in the center, about 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile whisk mayonnaise, buttermilk (or milk), dill and garlic powder in a small bowl. Serve the chicken with the dip.
Tip: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. To make fine breadcrumbs, process until very fine. To make dry breadcrumbs, spread coarse or fine breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like panko, a flaky Japanese style. Find them at well-stocked supermarkets.
Nutritional Information

Makes: 4 servings
  • Calories291
  • Fat14 g
    • Saturated fat2 g
  • Cholesterol67 mg
  • Carbohydrates16 g
    • Dietary fiber3 g
  • Protein27 g
  • Sodium379 mg
* Nutritional Guidelines based on the USDA's MyPlate Standards.


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