I've mentioned before that my youngest daughter is a particularly picky eater -- but I don't think I've managed to convey just how picky she really is... So let me just give you a quick glimpse into her daily diet.
She'll eat pizza, but only from certain establishments and only topped with pepperoni. If you hand her a slice of plain cheese, she will look at you as if you've lost your mind. No amount of explaining that it's the exact same pizza minus the pepperoni will persuade her -- a single bite will not cross her lips.
And if you think that's crazy, you'll love hearing what her typical order is at our favorite local restaurant. Wait for it, waaaaiiiittttt for it......
A bowl of croutons. Sigh...
I know what you're thinking, but I've learned to choose my battles over the years. As long as she's healthy and growing, I'm willing to put up with her whimsical food choices. She's naturally petite -- but don't underestimate her for a second based on her size. This girl is strong as an ox. At eight years old, she can easily rock out more full pushups and pull-ups than all three of my boys combined! Clearly her limited food choices aren't hindering her in any way.
She eats a lot of cereal with milk, bagels with cream cheese, yogurt with granola, and homemade Uncrustables. I freely admit that her fruits and veggies intake is pretty limited, outside of a handful of raisins and whatever I can sneak into the yogurt and granola, but we're working on it.
Oh, and she'll eat chicken nuggets or tenders -- though again, only from certain establishments. Luckily, one of those establishments is my kitchen! It's always a huge win when I find a recipe that this persnickety child will actually eat, and it's doubly so when the recipe is as simple and easy as these baked chicken tenders.
How To Bake Chicken Tenders
The secret to getting these baked chicken tender onto the table quickly is in setting up your prep area for maximum efficiency. I turn the oven on to preheat, and then quickly whisk the eggs and measure out the Panko bread crumbs. I then line the plates up as shown above: whisked eggs first, Panko bread crumbs second, and a baking sheet with a cooling rack set on top third.
You'll want to season your boneless chicken breast tenders with salt and pepper and then follow these steps for each baked chicken tender:
- First, dip the seasoned chicken tender in the egg mixture, making sure it's completely coated.
- Second, transfer the chicken tender to the Panko bread crumbs, rolling it and pressing the bread crumbs into it firmly.
- Third, place the tenders in a single layer on the wire cooling rack.
The key to keeping your hands relatively clean is to use your left hand for dipping the baked chicken tenders in the egg and also for transferring them to the bread crumbs. Then use your right hand to press the bread crumbs into the tenders and for moving them to the wire cooling rack. This keeps your fingers from getting coated in the process!
Misting the coated chicken tenders with olive oil spray helps the breading to brown while baking without adding lots of calories. If you choose to use plain Panko bread crumbs, as I did, you'll want to reseason the oven baked chicken tenders with salt and pepper before serving -- or you can perk them up by adding your favorite spices! Try adding Parmesan cheese to the Panko bread crumbs for additional flavor, as well.
As you can probably guess, I typically serve these oven baked chicken tenders plain, along with some fun dipping sauces for the more adventurous members of our family!
Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Need a simple dip idea? Mix equal parts dijon mustard and honey for a quick and easy honey mustard dipping sauce!
What's your favorite go-to recipe for satisfying picky eaters?