Chicken is tossed in an easy garlic butter and coated with Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, spices, and crispy bread crumbs and then baked until tender and full of flavor.
Because I’m all about easy weeknight meals, and because frugality is just a way of life for us, we often don’t have meat as the primary ingredient in our dinners. Sure, almost all of our favorite recipes include meat- like chicken tacos or sausage and tortellini– but it isn’t the only component.
Frugality aside, I often avoid preparing a protein as a main dish because it can be time-consuming. I’m all about quick and easy, and trimming, marinating, and cooking larger pieces of meat isn’t my idea of an easy weeknight meal. Every once in a while I’m willing to break the rules for a recipe that promises to taste great and require minimal effort
These cheesy garlic baked chicken tenders fit that bill one hundred percent. The prep was minimal, and could be reduced even further if you chose to use jarred minced garlic. As the butter melts and soaks up the garlic flavor, all you have to do is toss the rest of the ingredients together. Because this recipe uses chicken tenders, there’s no trimming required. Simply bread the chicken and it’s ready to bake. Prepare an easy vegetable, like pan-fried romaine lettuce, while the chicken cooks and you’ll be ready to eat in less than 30 minutes.
J is a huge lover of all things meat and poultry. He’s always willing to taste test my chicken recipes. The thing is, though, he’s a dipper; he dips nearly all his chicken and beef in ketchup. So for me, the true sign of an amazing recipe- not just a good one- is when J claims there’s no dipping sauce necessary. That’s exactly what happened with these cheesy garlic baked chicken tenders: I offered ketchup, but he took one bite of the chicken and declared it unnecessary.
It isn’t hard to see why. This chicken is bathed in garlic butter for an immediate infusion of flavor. It’s tossed right in the dish of crunchy Panko to get coated with crispy bread crumbs, plenty of spices, and two different types of cheese. It’s baked until the coating is crispy and the cheese is melted, making for a full flavor experience in every bite. While J and I agree these are perfect on their own, they’d also be great dipped in homemade ranch or your favorite marinara sauce.
Do you eat gluten-free? I found gluten-free panko bread crumbs! You can safely enjoy this dish without sacrificing that signature crunch.
Cheesy Garlic Baked Chicken
adapted from The Idea Room
8-10 chicken tenders
1 c. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. Panko bread crumbs
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c. cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter and then add minced garlic. Allow garlic to cook in the butter for a few minutes, and while that’s happening, toss together the bread crumbs, cheeses, parsley and oregano, and salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Remove the butter from the heat.
Working one chicken tender at a time, dip both sides in the garlic butter and and then dredge in the cheese and bread crumb mixture, making sure the whole tender is coated. Put breaded chicken tenders in a greased 9 x 13 dish. Sprinkle the tenders with any remaining bread crumb mixture and drizzle with the leftover butter. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until chicken cooked through.
Serve warm with ranch dressing or marinara for dipping.
If easy weeknight meals are your jam, you’ve got to check out these oven-fried chicken chimichangas or these cheddar bacon ranch chicken roll-ups.
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