Comfort food doesn’t always have to be greasy, heavy and full of preservatives. These chicken tenders are juicy and crispy just oven baked with panko bread crumbs and aged hard cheese.
Baking set up is important for these to turn out right without sticking to your baking dish. If you don’t have a specifically made baking rack you can make an easy crispy baking set-up using a Sheet Pan and a couple little racks that come from a toaster oven or cooling racks (just make sure they’re oven safe). If you want a perfect fitting set up can use this sort of half sheet pan rack that fits a 13 X 18 sheet pan perfectly.
Make sure you spray the rack with oil before placing your tenders on them and they’ll turn out great on all sides, so soggy or sticky bottoms.
Watch the Breadcrumbs
I’ve used bread crumbs for years not even thinking to look at the labels as much as other products, thinking, “They’re just breadcrumbs, what could be so bad about them?” Too much of everything is the answer. Just check out the label of a standard container of breadcrumbs on the left. Why are there over 25 ingredients in them? It’s supposed to be just breadcrumbs. Instead they’re filled with all sorts of preservatives, all sorts of heavily processed oils and extra sodium.
If you compare these to the panko breadcrumbs on the right side you’ll see there are only 4 ingredients in the panko breadcrumbs; now they’re still not the healthiest option, but they’re way better than the preservative rich standard breadcrumbs you’ve had sitting in your pantry for years. The best option in a perfect world would be homemade breadcrumbs, but not many people will take the time to make them so at least try the “better” and actually crispier option for oven crispy dishes like this one.
Kid Friendly Tenders
I’ve found that my kids prefer these in smaller chunks instead of whole tenders, so I just cut a few tenders into 3 or 4 pieces that are more nugget sized. This way food doesn’t get wasted as much and you can just give them a nugget or two at a time. They like them with BBQ sauce (try to find one with less sugar) or a homemade Buttermilk Ranch dip I make.
Give these a try and let me know how they turn out for you!