Cheddar Crusted Chicken Tenders

For about an hour yesterday, it seemed that Izzy’s stitches were bothering her a bit.  She would flop down on her belly and sprawl her legs out behind her, get up, and repeat in various locations inside her cage and pen.  It only lasted an hour, so I’m assuming it was just a passing itchy fit.  Poor bunny.  Is it wrong that I took advantage of her discomfort by taking cute photos of her?

Behind her is her foot, not her tail.

Little paw sticking out!

I know, I can be a bad person sometimes.  Let me redeem myself by offering up these tasty chicken tenders you can make at home without the use of a deep fryer.

The dredging mixture.

I don’t eat fast food, nor am I at all a fan of deep fried food, so when I saw this recipe on How Sweet Eats, (love this blog) I knew I was destined to make it one day.  I also happened to have a pack of thin boneless chicken tenders in the freezer and a package of finely shredded orange cheddar.  Oh yes, it was fate.

Well, I did have to go out and get the buttermilk, but close enough.  This dish lived up to all of my expectations.  The chicken was moist, and the breading was crisp and cheesy and delicious.

Of course I doused mine in ketchup like I do with most meats (don’t judge me too harshly) and was a very happy girl.  Luke ate his plain and was a very happy boy.  And with the leftover breading mixture…I made baked onion rings!

Cheddar Crusted Chicken Tenders

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Makes 2-3 servings

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders

2 cups low-fat buttermilk

3 cups panko bread crumbs

1 cup seasoned regular bread crumbs

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

4 ounces of cheddar, freshly & finely grated

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

2-4 hours before serving (or even overnight), add chicken to a baking dish and cover with buttermilk. Let soak.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, flour, salt (quantity should be adjusted to taste given the amount of salty cheese), pepper, mustard and paprika and stir with a spoon. Fold in cheese. Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray (if you don’t have a rack that fits, just line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat, or grease it with cooking spray).

Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk (it should have a layer of milk around it), and dredge through the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Lay on the wire rack and repeat. Before baking, hit each chicken tender with a spray of non-stick spray or mist of olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then gently flip using kitchen tongs and spray the other side. Bake for 10-12 minutes more, then remove from oven and serve with dips of choice.

The procedure for making baked onion rings is exactly the same as above, only you don’t have to soak the onion slices beforehand.  Just cut them up, dip them in buttermilk, dredge them through the breadcrumbs and bake for 10-15 mins at 400 degrees F.


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