Thursday, January 24, 2013

Oven Fried Chicken Tenders

Fried chicken is one of my weaknesses. The crispy coating, the moist chicken, the finger-licking goodness. Heck, who am I kidding? The crispy coating is all I really care about. (I may have even been caught in the kitchen eating the crunchy castoffs from the bottom of the bucket once or twice. Maybe.)

Guess what? Re-creating this crunch-tastic-ness in your own kitchen is totally possible! And it doesn't come from potato chips, crushed up butter crackers, or corn flakes. It comes from...

Panko! Japanese bread crumbs that are crispy and crunchy and make everything they touch awesome! (I've heard that you can use crispy rice cereal instead, but I don't like to mess with perfection. Let me know if you give that a go.)

There are so many reasons to love these:
     1. Kids can't get enough of them
     2. You can make these through the breading stage, then freeze them
     2. You're not stuck at the stove juggling toddlers and barking dogs and
          a gallon of hot oil
     3. You'll save about a bazillion calories

Oven Fried Chicken Tenders
4 servings

What I use:
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips (or chunks, if you want to make chicken nuggets)
  • 1/2 c. flour (you may need more)
  • 2 eggs plus 1/4 c. water, beaten
  • 3/4 c. panko crumbs (you may need more)
  • Garlic powder
  • Seasoned salt
  • Non-stick cooking spray

How I do it:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with foil and spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Using 3 shallow bowls, set up a breading station - place the flour in one bowl, the beaten egg and water in another bowl, and the panko crumbs in the last bowl. (You could also put the flour and panko into individual zip-top bags and let the kids shake them to coat the chicken pieces.)

3. Dip the chicken into the flour, coating completely. Shake the excess flour off.

4. Dip the flour-coated chicken into the egg, coating completely. Let the excess drip off.

5. Dip the egg-coated chicken into the panko, coating completely.

6. Lay the chicken on the prepared baking sheet.

7. Spray the chicken with a little non-stick cooking spray.

8. Sprinkle the chicken with the garlic powder and seasoned salt.

9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside (165 degrees F internal temperature).

Crunch. Smile. Repeat.

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