Vince and I, though newly wed, have lived together for a few years now. Having had the time to get to know one another and settle into our weekly rituals, one of our Sunday morning (or, I'll admit, sometimes early afternoon) rituals involves the Sunday paper. We bring it in the house, and of course the first thing Vince grabs is the Sports section and the Best Buy ad, while I go right for the comics (gotta love Dilbert), the coupon circulars, and the Price Chopper ad. Well, imagine my surprise a couple of Sundays ago when I saw a new featured item, Bell & Evans Gluten Free chicken. Of course, my curiosity was piqued, and Vince and I made a point to add it to our weekly shopping list.
Now, we haven't shared quality chicken tenders since his celiac diagnosis. We have purchased Ian's products in the natural food section of our grocery store - while the fish sticks are decent, the "chicken" tenders leave a lot to be desired. Keeping that in mind along with the fact that, hey, we both work full time and we're in the process of house hunting, well, quick and easy dinners are A-OK in my book! So, Thursday afternoon comes and we head to Price Chopper, shopping list in hand. We located the new Bell & Evans frozen chicken in the meat case, and despite the relatively steep price of almost $6 per box we picked up a box of their breaded chicken tenders as well as a box of their chicken nuggets for our usually well-stocked freezer.
Monday evening rolled around and I, being the slacker that I am, couldn't bring myself to row in the muggy heat. We hadn't planned anything for dinner but were very sick of burgers after the BBQ-filled holiday weekend, so we eyed the chicken tenders. According to the boxed instructions you can either pan-fry the tenders or bake them in the oven - I chose to go the somewhat healthier route and bake them. The box came with five decent-sized chicken tenders - I'd say they're about the same size as you'd get if you ordered them at a diner. It might not have been enough had we been absolutely famished or had we not had a ton of BBQ leftovers to use up, but paired with green salad, gluten free macaroni salad (Vince's specialty, using Tinkyada pasta), and corn on the cob it was just the right amount. I've also recently learned that Jack Daniel's Honey Smokehouse BBQ sauce is also gluten free (yay!), so we heated some of that up to dip the tenders.
I baked the tenders for 20 minutes, and it might have been a shade too long or else I should have greased my cookie sheet because they were just starting to get dark on the bottom. Still, they tasted done to perfection. The chicken was real chicken, not the fake-tasting stuff that Ian's uses in their chicken nuggets. It cut easily and was moist, tender and juicy. The breading has just the right amount of crispiness, and you couldn't tell it's gluten free at all from the color, flavor or texture. We devoured them, and immediately decided to add them to the short list of frozen convenience foods we keep permanently stocked in our freezer. We also decided that next time we'll have to try pan-frying them (or maybe experimenting with the deep fryer) to get the taste and texture of chicken tenders from a restaurant.
All in all - I would highly recommend Bell & Evan's Gluten Free Breaded Chicken Breast Tenders, and I look forward to trying the Bell & Evan's Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets in our freezer. According to their package and website, Bell & Evan's makes several other gluten free products, including gluten free breaded chicken patties, gluten free breaded chicken breasts, gluten free Italian Style breaded chicken patties, and gluten free parmesan breaded chicken breasts. I hope that Price Chopper realizes what a great find this is and starts carrying more chicken products from Bell & Evans!
If you get a moment - pick some Bell & Evan's gluten free chicken up at Price Chopper - you won't be disappointed, whether you follow a gluten free diet or not - and let them know not only how much you enjoy this product but also how great it is that local grocery stores are expanding their gluten free selection!