Thursday, February 4, 2016

Mozzarella Stuffed Panko Chicken Tenders

Before kids, you don't realize as much how long things take... like going out to eat.  The thought of taking my 2 kids out to dinner is basically a night wasted and since I work during the day outside of the home, that takes more time away from my kids and me.   So I've been trying to be better at cooking at home, not only is it healthier, cheaper but it's also time saving.

This meal for example only took about 35 minutes (including prep).
 I'm horrible at creating sides for meals so I simply stock up on the Steamable sides found in the freezer section and I steam them up in the microwave (no this isn't a commercial, it's just my advice for busy parents or people).

I wanted to do something fast, healthy but new.   And I have been lovin' how panko crumbs give you the impression that it's really crispy - and it tricks your mind into thinking it's fried.

Results of this recipe:  We really enjoyed it.  It was about 15 minutes of prep (a bit of dishes, but not too bad) and 15 minutes of baking.

Advice: If you follow the original recipe (HERE), be sure to only "bake" the panko crumbs for 1 to 2 minutes - watch carefully as mine burnt and so I had to trash it and start over fresh (but I didn't prebake).  That's why my panko crumbs aren't as crispy looking as they should be.

Recipe adapted from Yummy Addiction

For the chicken tenders:
  • 1 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 mozzarella cheese sticks, cut into 6 long pieces
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F degrees. 
  2. (Optional) Spread Panko bread crumbs in a thin layer on rimmed baking sheet and bake for 1 to 2 minutes, until lightly toasted. Once mostly cooled, transfer breadcrumbs to a shallow dish. 
  3. Combine the Parmesan, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and olive oil. Mix well. Set aside.
  4. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet; lightly coat rack with cooking spray.
  5. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Lay the chicken breast flat, do not filet but cut into 2 inch chunks.  Use a sharp knife or your finger and cut a pocket or path for the cheese stick to go into. Stuff the mozzarella into the pockets.
  6. Place flour and eggs(beat the eggs) in separate shallow dishes. Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour (shaking off excess), dip into eggs, then dredge in Panko mixture, pressing to coat. Transfer to the rack.
  7. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, 12 to 20 minutes (depends on thickness of pieces).
  8. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce! Enjoy! 

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