Memorial day weekend was crazy busy for us. We were determined to get our garden in the ground. You will be seeing the results of all of that planting sooner rather than later (hopefully). After several long days (some of this was planted before, but there was weeding involved) we have in 6 hills of cucumbers, an eggplant, 4 peppers, 6 tomatoes (including one called Mr. Stripey), 5 kinds of beans, several kinds of carrots, chard, herbs galore, onions, beets, parsnips, rutabegas, turnips, kolrabi, shelling peas, snow peas, radishes, several kinds of lettuce, spinach, kale, 2 raspberry bushes (and their new cleared out area for a raspberry patch), a blackberry bush, 2 mounts of acorn squash, 2 of yellow zuccini, one mound of white pumpkins, 2 mounds of normal jack o’ lantern pumpkins (planted over in the extra dirt near the compost pile), and 4 barrels of potatoes. So we were very busy, but we are also very happy. We will be happier when we can eat it all.
The moral of that story is that it was 8pm and we were very hungry and all I had was thawed chicken breasts. I made grilled chicken with dashed on seasonings the previous few nights, and I was bored of it. But I wanted something still easy. I bought panko crumbs for something else (now I can’t remember), but I had some in the pantry, so I decided to use it and make chicken tenders. They turned out delicious and perfect, so I had to share them.
I had heard of panko crumbs but had never used them until Thursday. I was going to make a recipe with them, but was lazy and got some coconut Thai chicken from Whole Foods instead. So then I just had some laying around. There is a picture of onion rings on the front. I had never made onion rings at home before, so I decided to try. It was not very hard (though labor intensive) and turned out DELICIOUS! Being deep fried, though, they were not suitable for this blog. But I took the lessons I learned from that to make wonderful baked crunchy chicken tenders that are so much healthier for you than the stuff in the frozen section. Have you looked at how much salt is in those things? And how many fillers in the chicken? This has 1 tsp of salt for the whole thing, that’s it.
TV chefs have been raving about panko crumbs for years, and for good reason. While normal bread crumbs become soggy and greasy, panko crumbs stay light and crunchy. Panko is the Japanese word for bread crumbs, so it isn’t a type of bread. They are done differently than in the west. They are flaky and crisp, instead of little crumbs. Because of that it doesn’t soak up as much grease (or it drains off more easily), and it stays light and crisp.
Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders
- 2 large chicken breasts (or more, there is probably enough batter for 4 breasts). You can also use actual chicken tenders as sold in the store. But the breasts are cheaper.
- 1 egg
- 3/4 C water or milk (and more as needed)
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Panko crumbs (as much as you need)
- Preheat oven to 425 (400 in lower elevations than Denver)
- Cut your chicken breasts into strips as large as you like. You can also cut into nugget size.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. You can add other seasonings if you want too. You can do herbs de provence for a herbal taste, or chili powder and cumin for chili flavor. I just did plain. Dredge the chicken in the flour and set aside.
- In a med size bowl mix together the egg and the water or milk. Add in the flour mixture and whisk until blended into a batter. The thicker your batter, the thicker the breading on the outside. So if you want more bread than chicken make it really thick. If you want less thick breading then thin out the batter.
- Put your panko crumbs on a large plate or bowl next to the batter bowl. Put a cookie sheet or casserole dish next to the panko. Make sure you spray the cooking sheet. You’re making an assembly line.
- Put your chicken pieces in the batter. Using a fork, push it in and make sure it is covered. Then pick it up with the fork and let it drip off a bit. Put it in the panko, and using a different fork, cover it in crumbs. Put the piece on the cookie sheet.
- Do this to all the rest of them. Spray the top of the tenders with cooking spray. If you have a misto or other thing that sprays olive oil this is preferable (Pam now makes an olive oil spray, too).
- Bake at 425 (or 400) for about 20 min. Check to see if they’re done. Once they are mostly cooked, turn on the broiler. Move to the top of your oven (or under the broiler if in a different place) and broil for about 3 minutes, or until the tops are nice and crispy.
- Enjoy with the dipping sauce of your choice.