Want a easy, weeknight dinner (and who doesn’t)? Try making some Baked Chicken Tenders and turning them into Jenn’s Shortcut Chicken Parmesan! It is incredibly easy. James and I have tried this with basic marinara sauce and Alfredo sauce, both were very tasty.

If you would rather use whole chicken breasts, increase the baking time to 20-25 minutes. Save time by preparing breading ahead of time and store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Jenn’s Shortcut Chicken Parmesan 

Preheat oven to 450F and place a large pot of water over high heat.

Prepare chicken tenders and bake 12-15 minutes.

While chicken tenders cook, add pasta to water and cook according to package directions.  Empty a jar of pasta sauce into a medium saucepan and slowly heat over low heat.

By the time the chicken is done baking, the pasta and sauce will be ready. Drain pasta and toss with olive oil to prevent sticking. Place pasta and chicken tenders on a plate and spoon sauce over both. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Serve immediately and enjoy! Steamed veggies or a green salad on the side completes the meal.

Baked Chicken Tenders

January 27th, 2009

The latest edition of Everyday Food magazine featured a recipe from a reader in Grand Rapids, Michigan for Baked Chicken Fingers. The recipe called for ground flax seed and wheat germ, items I usually have on hand for smoothies. I was excited to try the recipe because it came from a local cook and chicken tenders are one of my favorite foods, but it becomes a little pointless to use lean, skinless chicken breast when its also battered and deep-fried. At least this breading has some good-for-the-heart omega-3 fortified flax seed and also wheat germ, which is a super grain to use.

Unfortunately, these are both fairly expensive items and I would not recommend purchasing unless you are committed to using them in multiple recipes. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup unprocessed bran, which I do not use and deciding to increase the breadcrumbs from 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup instead. Below is my version of the recipe, but feel free to adjust the proportions to suit your needs.


Baked Chicken Tenders
adapted from Everyday Food

1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic salt or powder
1/2 tsp onion salt or powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders (about 15-16)
bbq or sweet & sour sauce, for dipping (optional)

Preheat oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire rack on top of the baking sheet.

In a food processor, combine wheat germ, breadcrumbs, flax seed, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Pulse until combined. Add olive oil and pulse until ingredients are slightly moist. Place breading mixture in a shallow bowl.

In another shallow bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork. Dip chicken tenders in egg, allowing excess to drip off, then dredge in breading mixture, patting slightly to adhere breading to chicken. Arrange chicken tenders in a single layer on wire rack and place in oven.

Bake 12-15 minutes, until cooked through completely and breading is golden brown and lightly toasted (place under a broiler for the last minute of cooking time for a crunchier breading). Serve immediately with dipping sauce, if desired.