Chicken Tenders + Blueberry Sauce

July 5, 2015

Do you ever have one of those weeks where all events and items and tasks and adventures and deeds and life demands happen at once? A week that may leave you at the end of the night wondering, “What did I have for dinner? Did I even eat dinner? Does half of that granola bar count?”

It’s weeks like these when the overwhelming activities of life (the good and bad!) can stall our ability to get in the kitchen and cook-up a nice dinner for ourselves. Spending time in the kitchen is something that we have found that helps to slow us down and allows us to recharge, and it also gifts us with time for some good vent sessions when we need them most.

This week we needed some of this sister-kitchen time as Ashley was managing a traffic ticket she got a couple of months ago for California-styling a stop sign (I mean, really? Of all humans on that Cinco de Mayo day enjoying their margaritas, he snagged me? Margarita-less in a quiet neighborhood? Regardless, traffic school was actually fun (who am I?)). Allison was picking up many shifts at work while attempting to figure out the mystery ticking sound her car started to make once again (car probz, something we’re not real savvy with). And the two of us received word that we’ll be in charge of the baby shower games (help us with some ideas, ladies) for our soon-to-be-nephew (!!!).

Chicken Tenders -- Blueberry Sauce Abbey Kitchen10-Chicken Tenders -- Blueberry Sauce Abbey KitchenChicken Tenders -- Blueberry Sauce Abbey Kitchen Chicken Tenders -- Blueberry Sauce Abbey Kitchen

More and more things trickled into our schedules and into our heads, exhausting us as we tried to mentally prioritize and manage our adventures and duties. But one afternoon this weekend, we plopped a big box of blueberries on the kitchen counter.

“Dude… let’s do this.”

We both tied up our aprons and scanned our fridge inventory, which leads us to this important question: how often do people wash their aprons? Only when they are noticeably stinky, right? Similar to how you know when to wash your workout clothes (right?), because we shrug at our cookie dough crusties and the olive oil stains, but like, everybody’s aprons are like this, right?

Anyway, our fridge findings included: chicken tenders, oranges, and fresh herbs to be used up ASAP.

“This can work.”

And so, we relaxed and surrendered our busy, busy thoughts and cooked up a new chicken dinner for ourselves. This gave us a joyful time to brainstorm baby shower games (super hard to do without some Pinterest research first) and to mark down what movies we’re dying to see in the theater (Inside Out with our home girl Amy Poehler is the #1 priority).

Chicken Tenders + Blueberry Sauce Abbey KitchenChicken Tenders -- Blueberry Sauce Abbey KitchenChicken Tenders + Blueberry Sauce Abbey KitchenChicken Tenders -- Blueberry Sauce Abbey Kitchen

We were very excited to see blueberries on sale at our local Sprouts as we love to eat them as snacks, in our smoothies or topped on our morning oatmeal bowls. This honestly was the first time we even considered pairing them with our chicken, but we get excited when we have ideas that force us to be more adventurous in the kitchen (even if we fail miserably).

So, to dress our chicken tenders we used the blueberries to make a sauce that included fresh ingredients like orange juice and rosemary and thyme to create a beautiful sweet, savory, and tangy chicken dressing.

This sauce was delicious and took about 20 minutes to make and can be easily prepared while your chicken tenders bake in the oven.

WHY EAT THAT: Blueberries

Our dietary habits and our lifestyle can be major risk or protective factors in the progression of chronic and/or degenerative diseases. We hear quite frequently that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a recommended lifestyle change to decrease the risk of health complications, but why?

Blueberries are a great example to showcase how consuming fruits can be a great preventive and dietary habit that we can establish.

Blueberries are packed with polyphenols, antioxidants that can be found in many fruits/veggies that may protect us against some health problems and some effects of aging. Studies have shown an inverse relationship between diets rich in polyphenols and heart complications, meaning that a diet rich in fruits/veggies that contain polyphenols like blueberries, may limit the risk of chronic heart disease. They are also loaded with other nutrients that our bodies need that we shared here!

1 package chicken tenders, thawed
Olive oil/non-stick cooking spray
Black Pepper
Fresh rosemary and thyme
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup blueberries
Juice from 1 large orange (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cold water

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Pull out chicken tenders and place in a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray or covered with olive oil. We used a cast iron skillet drizzled with enough olive oil to cover the bottom. (NOTE: Be sure to always wash your hands after touching uncooked chicken.)
3. Sprinkle black pepper on the chicken and place a few fresh rosemary and thyme springs on top of the chicken tenders.
4. Place in oven and set timer for 15-20 minutes. They will be done when they are no longer pink inside and are golden brown on the outside.
5. In a sauce pan, heat up the minced garlic, about 2-3 minutes.
6. Add in the blueberries, the orange juice, the apple cider vinegar, and the honey. Stir gently and bring to a boil.
7. In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and cold water.
8. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the blueberry mixture and add in a few fresh springs of rosemary and thyme. Simmer gently until thick, about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Enjoy! Serve chicken tenders topped with blueberry sauce with a couple fresh blueberries and orange slices on the side!

Chicken Tenders + Blueberry Sauce Abbey Kitchen

1. Kay C, and Holub B. The effect of wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) consumption on postprandial serum antioxidant status in human subjects. British Journal of Nutrition. Vol 88(04), Oct 2002, 389-397.
2. Norberto S, et al. Blueberry anthocyanins in health promotion: A metabolic overview. Journal of Functional Foods. Vol 5(4), Oct 2013, 1518-1528.
3. Pandey K, Rizvi S. Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Vol 2(5), Nov 2009, 270-280.
4. Zafra-Stone S, et al. Berry anyhocyanins as novel antioxidants in human health and disease prevention. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. Vol 51(6), Jun 2007, 675-683.

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