Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Baked Parmesan Chicken Fingers and Baked Mozzarella Cheese Bites

My favorite place to go out to eat when I was little was a little local restaurant called The Villager. Every time I went there I would order the chicken strips and french fries with a chocolate shake! These days I don't eat that meal too often but recently I was craving it! Since the restaurant is now about 3 hours from me I did the next best think and made some baked chicken strips at home.
First, I pounded out some boneless, skinless chicken breasts so they were of uniform thickness. Then, cut your breast pieces into tenderloins so they are strip-shaped.
These are all of the ingredients I used for the coating. No, that's not feta cheese in the background, it's just some whole wheat bread crumbs. When my bread isn't fresh anymore, I leave it out on the counter to dry and then make my own bread crumbs in the food processor. Way cheaper! And no waste!
L-R: 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe's, panko bread crumbs (a Japanese bread crumb that gives a really crunchy texture), paprika, whole wheat bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and grated Parmesan cheese.
I made things easy on myself and followed the same dipping routine I used for my little cheese bites. I used about a cup of milk as the first dip and mixed up the spices and breadcrumbs for the next dip. I didn't measure anything out, just a little of this, little more of that. Add your spices to taste. I seem to be taking after my mom and Grandma Lyon more everyday. They never measured anything. Whenever I need to call my mom for some recipe help she never has exact measurements of baking times for me. I hate it! But I seem to be following right behind.  For this dish, though, exact measurements are not critical. Add however much you would like.
Bake at 425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the coating is crispy.

This picture did not turn out well, but these were good!! And so easy. All I did was chop mozzarella string cheese into little bite size pieces, dropped the pieces in the milk, and then rolled in the breadcrumb mixture, the same process I used with the chicken strips.. Make sure to watch them closely in the oven, though, otherwise they will melt all over and not be a cheeseball anymore. I got the idea for these cheese balls from Pinterest at this link.