Yes, it IS possible to make chicken fingers from scratch in the middle of the week and I promise that it will only take up about 10 minutes of your time. Don't believe me?
Ingredients - Panko Bread Crumbs (aka "Japanese Style" Breadcrumbs)
- 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
- 1 pound fresh chicken tenderloins
- Salt & Pepper
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Dried Seasoning (Italian Blend, Oregano & Thyme, Cajun, etc.)
Note: The secret to this recipe is the panko bread crumbs. They're made using a special method that leaves them extra-crunchy (i.e. they're not just crumbled bread). Unfortunately, they're white and don't brown easily in the oven. If you have your heart set on golden-brown chicken fingers, try to locate whole wheat ones. They're more healthy and they'll give you the nice brown color you're expecting to see.
1) Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Wrap a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a cookie cooling rack on top of it. Congrats! You just made a make-shift indoor grill.
2) Pound each of the chicken tenders with the flat side of a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy saucepan to an even thickness of about a half-inch. The objective is to get them the same thickness so they'll cook evenly and not take forever to cook.
3) Spoon the mayo from the container into a small dish. Using a pastry brush, or a butter knife if you don't have a pastry brush, spread mayo generously onto each side of the chicken pieces. It doesn't matter if a little rubs-off onto the cutting board while you work.
4) In a shallow dish such as a baking dish, place about 1 cup of panko. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper (panko is very bland). Add your seasoning mix to taste. Add a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Mix well with dry hands.
5) Using tongs, coat each side of the chicken with panko and gently place on the baking rack. The mayo, which has eggs in it, will act as the "glue". Try not to glop mayo into the bread crumb mixture or it'll get messy.
6) Bake at 375 until the chicken is cooked through (about 165-175 degrees) and the bread crumbs are starting to brown and the texture seems crispy and dry when you press it gently with your finger.
7) Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Bonus Recipe: Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup Mayo
1/4 cup honey
1/8 cup mustard (yellow works fine, brown or dijon are spicier)
Mix ingredients well with a whisk or a fork until no mayo appears.