M-o-z-z-a-r-e-l-l-a. If anything, I sure hope this blog improves spelling skills. As a 24 year-old woman who studied Writing in college, I proooobably shouldn’t have to google the word “mozarella” to learn how to spell it. Sigh.
But we have more important things to talk about. Last week, I tried a variation of these chicken fingers from one of my favorite blogs, How Sweet It Is. A little disclaimer: I’m not good at cooking chicken. Don’t get me wrong, I love meat, but for some reason, it just isn’t my favorite thing to cook.
So I figured that if I doused chicken with enough breading and spices, maybe they would cover up the fact that I’m not an expert in this.
It definitely worked. I had some mozzarella (mozz-ar-ELLA?…ugh, I don’t know how to memorize the spelling of that one) in the fridge, so I used that as my cheese. I LOVED the results of this recipe, and especially like how versatile it is. I work a lot and don’t have much time to cook or pack lunch, so I need to make things that will last me a while and, ideally, that I can repurpose so I’m not bored by the end of the week. This chicken did just that. I ate it with some rice on the side the first night, cut it onto a salad for lunch the next day, and even chopped some into spaghetti to mix things up.
It’s not very photogenic, but I promise you’ll love it.
Mozzarella Crusted Chicken Tenders
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup regular bread crumbs
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 ounces of mozzarella, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
At least 2 hours before serving (or even overnight), pour buttermilk over chicken in a baking dish. Allow to soak. I did this in the morning before I left for work and let soak for the day.
When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, flour, salt, pepper, mustard, garlic powder, and paprika. Stir in cheese. Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet and spray the rack with non-stick spray.
Piece by piece, toss each piece of chicken in the breadcrumbs. It helps to gently press the piece of chicken into the breadcrumbs so that they stick. Once each piece of chicken is covered in the breadcrumb mixture, lay on the wire rack. It helps to gently spray the chicken at this point with some of the cooking spray or drizzle some olive oil. This helps everything to stick and the chicken to become crispier. Be careful, though. The first time I sprayed mine with cooking spray, most of the breading flew off. That’s why I used olive oil instead. Bake the chicken for 12-14 minutes, then turn over and bake for another 10-12 minutes on the other side. Remove from oven and, after cooling for a few minutes, serve with the dip of your choice. I used BBQ sauce, but ketchup, ranch dressing, or any other sauce you usually eat with chicken tenders will be great.
And of course, the next day you can chop the chicken into a salad, pasta, or just eat alone again with some sauce. Delicious!