Crunchylicious Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders

After a long day of working in the garden, gathering fiddleheads, and running errands, I needed something super fast for dinner.  In fact, I am so exhausted tonight that I almost decided to have instant oatmeal for dinner instead of these chicken tenders.  I am glad I reconsidered, though, because these little crunchy bites of chicken heaven are about as easy to prepare as opening a packet of instant oats and pouring on boiling water.

I used the same ingredients as the original recipe I found at Gimme Some Oven.  The only thing I changed was a bit of the preparation process, and the cooking time.  For whatever reason, my tenders were nowhere near done at the end of Gimme Some Oven‘s recommended bake time of 12-15 minutes at 350F.  At the end of the 12 minutes, I just cranked the heat up to 400F and set the timer for another 15 minutes.  The tenders came out golden brown, juicy, and SCRUMPTIOUS!  Hubby and I scarfed them down with honey mustard and organic ketchup (which, if I haven’t said it before, tastes completely different from regular ketchup…it was an acquired taste for me, the Heinz girl).  Depending on the thickness of your chicken pieces, your bake time might be shorter or longer.  Just watch them closely, and you’ll be fine.  You can tell they’re done by pressing gently on the thickest part of a tender; if it is firm, it’s done.  If it feels squishy, it’s not.  Also, you can cut into the thickest part of a tender with a sharp knife.  If the juices run clear and the meat is not pink, they’re done.

These are so quick to make, it’s kindof ridiculous that I’ve never made them before.  Hubby and I were coming up with all kinds of ways to use these tenders (as we gobbled them up)…salads, sandwiches, wraps, munchies, buffalo chicken pizza, the list goes on and on.  I am super glad I tried this recipe tonight.  I am pretty sure these yummy, crunchy tenders were infinitely more satisfying than instant oatmeal would have been.

Crunchylicious Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven! who adapted from Love and Olive Oil

Ingredients:
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast tenders, or chicken breast cut into strips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.  You will need three medium bowls for this recipe, in the following “assembly-line” order.

Bowl 1: 1/2 cup flour blended with salt and pepper
Bowl 2: Two eggs, beaten well
Bowl 3: Panko breadcrumbs, blended with oregano, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, sea salt, and pepper

Dredge tenders in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess flour.  Using a fork to help keep your fingers dry, dip the floured chicken tenders into the egg and then roll the chicken tenders with the Panko crumbs.  Arrange tenders on a baking sheet, so they’re not touching each other.  Repeat with remaining tenders.

Bake chicken tenders for 12 minutes at 350F.  Flip over.  Increase oven heat to 400F.  Bake another 15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

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