Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Tenders
with sage roasted carrots / rice
A little bit of effort upfront to wrap the chicken tenders in bacon yields an elegant meal that's great for an ordinary weeknight or to serve to guests. The bacon doesn't just look and taste good this way - it also helps the chicken to stay tender and juicy as it cooks.
Smarts: Don't worry too much about making these look perfect. They'll still taste great!
- Chicken tenderloin strips - 1 lb (sub boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips)
- Bacon - 8 strips
- Italian seasoning - 1 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
- Cornstarch - 2 tsp
- Stock, chicken - 1/2 cup
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Wine, white - 1/2 cup (sub stock)
- Carrots - 1 1/2 lbs , sliced
- Sage - 4 leaves , chopped
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Vinegar, balsamic - 2 tsp
- Brown rice, uncooked - 1 cup
Brown rice - (Skip if made ahead for Tuesday.) Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice), and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Check at ~45 min. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Carrots - Slice carrots (the thinner you slice the carrots, the faster they will cook). (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Wrap chicken - (If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating before continuing with prep.) Set chicken tenders and bacon out on a sheet pan or cutting board. Combine Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle seasoning on both sides of chicken tenders. Working with one piece of chicken and one piece of bacon at a time, wrap the bacon around the chicken. There’s no need to completely cover the chicken or to be super precise here, just be sure the bacon is folded around the chicken in a single layer. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
Sage - Chop sage.
Make sauce - Whisk cornstarch into stock.
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Heat oven to 400F / 204C.
Toss carrots with sage, oil (portion for carrots), vinegar, and some salt and pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan.
Roast carrots, shaking the pan halfway through cooking, until very tender, 20 to 25 minutes (depending on size).
While carrots are roasting, heat a large skillet with oil (portion for chicken) over low-medium heat. Transfer bacon-wrapped chicken to skillet (if the pan gets crowded, do this in batches). Cook chicken tenders on all sides until the bacon is crisp and golden brown and the chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. (Note: The bacon should release easily from the pan when it’s cooked to crisp. You may need to increase the heat if it seems like the bacon is taking too long to cook.)
As each piece of chicken finishes cooking, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate.
Drain off all but 1 Tbsp / 15 mL (for 4 servings; adjust if customizing) of bacon grease. Return pan to heat.
Pour wine into heated skillet and bring to a simmer. Pour cornstarch / stock mixture over wine. Simmer both together, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until the sauce thickens slightly.
If rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
Serve chicken over rice with pan sauce drizzled over top. Enjoy carrots on the side.