Sometimes, what life throws our way can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming, can't it?
The things that we say and do to one another can be shocking.
The surprises that get sprung on us that are not of the most celebratory variety; the relationships that end; the “hemorrhaging” of money that we didn't expect; the loss of a loved one we didn't see coming; the sickness that we had no idea was in there, hiding...
You get my point.
And you could probably add to this list some brilliant doozies of your own.
They're moments that seem to stop us cold in our tracks, stop us and make us second guess everything that we thought to be true, everything that we thought we could count on.
And worst of all, they make us question whether we're as capable of picking ourselves up after being knocked down as we had always thought we were.
Life's not always a breeze, that's for sure.
It can be a bit crunchy sometimes, and have a little bit of a rough exterior.
But what's kinda amazing is that, sometimes, taking a big bite of something crunchy can also be exhilarating, and the most satisfying experience we can have; especially when we take it with the full intention of enjoying it specifically for what it is—even perhaps learning from it.
It can teach us a lot about ourself, and how much more resilience we actually have when the rubber meets the road.
There are a lot of things that, though they are crunchy, they're utterly delicious, and such a pleasure to experience.
Actually, they're delicious because they're crunchy.
Take for example these Tortilla Crunch Chicken Strips, coated with a mouthwatering layer of crunchy tortilla chips on the outside, and a guacamole-ranch dipping sauce to plunge them into.
It's the type of crunch that is so unbelievable satisfying, the type that one actually looks forward to experiencing for that very reason.
So is it possible to take a bite out of a crunchy situation that life throws our way and actually enjoy experiencing the unique texture of it?
Could we actually learn to enjoy the challenge of tasting and feeling our way through something that may not be the easiest thing in the world to confront and be immersed in, but willingly do it just because it'll be something that we'll then be able to have in our little bag of experiences, crunchy or other?
See, what's appealing to me about all of the various textures that life brings with it is that they're anything but boring,
And what I really want is to experience all of them, when all is said and done.
So, here's to taking a big, crunchy bite out of life, and these Tortilla Crunch Chicken Strips.
Why miss out on the taste of either?
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Tortilla Crunch Chicken Strips with Guacamole-Ranch Dipping Sauce
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4
• 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken tenderloins, cut in ½ or 1/3's lengthwise to create thinner strips
• ½ teaspoon lime zest
• 1 teaspoon lime juice
• ¼ teaspoon (heaping) salt
• Pinch or two ground cumin
• Pinch or two granulated garlic
• Pinch or two black pepper
• ¾ cup flour
• 2 eggs, whisked
• 1 ½ cups (roughly) white corn tortilla chip crumbs (*see note below)
• Pinch or two cayenne pepper
• ½ teaspoon paprika
• Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
• Guacamole-Ranch Dipping Sauce (recipe below)
(*To make your tortilla chip crumbs, add 6 ounces of salted, broken up white corn tortilla chips to a food processor, and process them until they have a fine texture, similar to panko breadcrumbs.)
-Place the chicken strips into a medium-size bowl, and add in the lime zest plus the remainder of the ingredients up to and including the black pepper, and toss to coat the strips well; allow the strips to marinate for about 20 minutes.
-Prepare your coating station by adding your flour into a bowl, having your whisked eggs there in another bowl, and adding your tortilla chip crumbs, along with the pinch or two of the cayenne pepper and the paprika, in another bowl.
-Add about 4 cups or so the canola or vegetable oil to a medium-sized heavy bottom pot, and clip on a digital thermometer; slowly heat the oil, bringing it up to 360°-365°.
-While the oil heats, add the marinated chicken strips to the flour, and toss to coat them well; next, dip individual strips into the whisked eggs, allowing any excess to drip off; then, dip the strips into the tortilla chip crumbs, pressing them in to coat them well; repeat until all strips are well coated.
-Once your oil is hot, add about 3-4 strips in at a time (you'll work in batches), and fry them for about 2 minutes, until crispy and golden; remove them and allow them to drain on a wire rack (you can also sprinkle a little touch of salt over them while they're freshly fried); repeat with all the strips.
-Enjoy as a simple snack or appetizer with the Guacamole-Ranch; OR, if you're looking to make more of a meal out of these, serve them with some rice, black beans, and a little tomato-cilantro salad, if desired.
Guacamole-Ranch Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
• 2 ripe avocados, skin and pit removed
• ½ cup sour cream
• ½ cup buttermilk
• 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
• 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled of paper
• 2 teaspoons lime zest
• 1 tablespoon (generous) lime juice
• ½ cup loosely-packed cilantro leaves
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
-Add all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, and process until completely smooth and well blended; cover and keep in fridge until ready to use.