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Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders


American restaurants cater to younger clientele by offering smaller portions on "Kids' Menus." Unfortunately, no matter the restaurant, they all seem to offer the same options: hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders and perhaps some mac n' cheese. I find it sad to limit our children's choices to only those foods - why not smaller portions of the entire menu?

Nonetheless, those are the foods that kids want to eat. Children are obsessed with creamy mac n’ cheese and love the finger food selections of hot dogs and hamburgers. Even McDonald's has Chicken McNuggets© on their children's menus. But convenience doesn't have to sacrifice quality. Chicken tenders can make a delicious - and healthy - dinner for your entire family!

Don't purchase frozen premade chicken nuggets for your family. The list of ingredients is terrifying. I'd find those ingredients scary in cat food never mind feeding them to my family.

Besides, homemade chicken tenders are extremely easy to make. You can make them spicy for the adults and milder for the children. If you happen to want make the recipe gluten-free, just omit the panko and double the amount of cheese. For this recipe, I prefer using a block of Parmesan and grating it with a microplane. The finer wisps of cheese melt combine nicely with the panko flakes and make an extra flavorful crust.


1 lb. chicken tenders
Olive oil cooking spray
Parmesan Reggiano cheese (preferably in block form)
1 whole egg and 1 additional yolk
1 cup panko
½ teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil and lightly coat with olive oil spray.

Using a microplane, finely grate the parmesan into a 1-cup measuring cup. Be careful to not press the cheese into a clump.

In a small bowl, beat the whole egg and extra yolk until well-combined.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the panko, parmesan, garlic and onion powders, salt and pepper. As you add the marjoram, crush the dried herb between your fingers to help release more flavor and aroma. If you want spicy chicken tenders you can add the cayenne pepper.

Dip each chicken tender into the beaten eggs, then coat with the panko mixture. Place on the foil-lined baking sheet, pressing a little more panko onto any bare spots.

Lightly spray a little more olive oil on the chicken to help it brown.

Bake at 400° for 10 minutes then carefully remove the tray from the oven, flip the tenders over with a thin metal spatula, lightly spritz with olive oil again and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes. If the chicken isn’t as browned as you would like, you can put them under the broiler for a minute or two. Serve with additional salt and pepper to taste.