As promised, here is a post with another toddler-friendly recipe! Every couple of months I try to make a huge batch of chicken tenders and freeze them. I can then just pull out a couple and reheat them for a quick lunch or dinner for T. I usually serve them with a small bowl of homemade ranch dressing or ketchup and a side of steam veggies. I’ve tried a lot of various recipes for chicken tenders, but this one for Baked Panko Chicken Tenders seems to be the biggest hit with him. I prefer baking versus pan-frying them since it’s usually easier to cook and clean up a large batch of baked chicken tenders.
While I’ve categorized this recipe for baked panko chicken tenders as a toddler and kid-friendly recipe, I will admit my husband and I both heavily “sample” the tenders as soon as I pull them out of the oven. These chicken tenders could easily be converted to an “adult meal” by serving them on top of a mixed greens salad dressed with the aforementioned ranch dressing.
If you’ve ever made any kind of chicken or fish that is dunked in buttermilk or an egg wash, then flour, then the liquid, and then another layer of breadcrumbs, you may have encountered what I like to call “monster hands.” All four layers stick to your fingers and after repeating this process for a few times, your fingers look like they have contracted elephantiasis. To avoid this, I recommend dunking your fingers (or tongs) in a bowl of warm water each time to rinse off all the layers. This will help keep each individual bowl somewhat clean as well and prevent huge clumps of ingredients falling off your fingers and into each bowl.
- -2-3 pounds chicken tenders (or chicken breasts cut into tender-sized strips)
- -1 and ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- -1 and ¼ teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
- -2 cups buttermilk
- -2 cups eggs
- -1 cup all-purpose flour
- -4 cups panko (Japanese style breadcrumbs)
- -1 teaspoon thyme
- -cooking spray
- -bowl of warm water
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare two or three baking sheets with foil sprayed with cooking spray.
- Lay out chicken on a large platter or cutting board. Season both sides of chicken with ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper. Prepare three bowls for chicken to be dipped into and add the following ingredients:
- ) buttermilk and egg, whisked together
- ) flour, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper, mixed together
- ) panko and thyme, mixed together
- Dip each individual chicken tender into the buttermilk mixture (1), the flour mixture (2), once again into the buttermilk mixture (1), and finally into the panko mixture (3.) Lay the covered chicken tender onto the prepared baking sheet. Once you fill up a tray of chicken tenders, spray the top of the chicken tenders with a light layer of cooking spray.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes until chicken tenders start to turn golden and the internal temperature of each piece of chicken reaches at least 160 degrees F. Continue to prepare and cook the remaining chicken tenders.
- Serve chicken tenders warm with ranch dressing or ketchup. Alternatively, allow baked panko chicken tenders to cool and place them in gallon-sized freezer bags. To serve, take out the desired amount of chicken tenders and reheat in the oven or microwave until warm.
Source: Adapted from The Picky Palate Cookbook and Recipes for Baby and Toddler: 365 Quick & Healthy Dishes