Cashew Panko Chicken Tenders with Polynesian Sauce

6 years ago

My very first job was working at the brand-spankin’ new (at the time) Chik-fil-a in the Boca Mall. Yes. I thought I was big. time. Free chicken nuggets and chicken sandwiches? That was worth more than my actual hourly wages. haha

I LOVED working there… me, my brother, my cousins, and some friends from Church all worked there. We had a blast. Minus the one time my cousin sprayed me with the dishwashing hose, picked me up, threw me in the freezer and held the door shut. It wasn’t exactly a fair shot he is just shy of 7 feet tall and 300 lbs… it was a hopeless cause to fight back. haha

Anyhow, my favorite thing from Chik-philly (as I like to call it)? The Polynesian Sauce. Not what you thought I was going to say, was it?!

I have it on good authority that the Chik-fil-a Polynesian Sauce is actually: Marzetti’s Honey French Dressing!!! I scoured my grocery store, but to my disappointment, they did not have it. :( So, I made it my mission to figure out a way to make my own!

I bought the only red (non-creamy) French dressing I could find on the shelf, mixed in some honey and a touch of apple cider vinegar… and VOILA! A sauce that came so darn close to my beloved Polynesian sauce, that I didn’t care it wasn’t actually the real thing! 

Now let’s talk about the Chicken Tenders… um YUM. This was actually a concept courtesy of ‘the hubs’ (my kitchen co-conspirator). He wanted Cashew Panko Chicken Tenders, and that’s exactly what we made! SO delicious. Crispy from the panko, nutty and a little sweet from the Cashews… perfection.  

Plus, they look fried… but guess what? They are BAKED, making this meal a healthy option for the kiddos (or like me… the kiddos at heart). No oil, no grease, just a little baking technique using a sheet pan topped with cookie cooling rack and the use of some non-stick cooking spray!

You get the crunch minus the calories (can I get an amen?!)!

Who DOESN’T love guiltless guilty pleasures?! I know I for one, am always looking for healthy versions of my favorite treats (that ACTUALLY tastes good!). This is one of those things. 

Serve with a side of roasted broccoli, another one of my new favorite healthy treats (i’ll post a how-to very soon), and call it a day! What kid (or adult for that matter) wouldn’t love dunking crispy broccoli bites into that polynesian sauce?!

Friends, go make this. You’ll thank me later. 

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