Posts Tagged ‘panko’

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I finally had my cousins over for dinner, and after much discussion, decided on a menu. My intention was a sort of “Choose Your Own Alfredo” bar, with fresh homemade fettuccine, creamy alfredo sauce and the choice of garlicky shrimp, grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, or any combination thereof. In reality, I forgot the broccoli, but no one seemed to mind too much. The rest turned out fantastic. The chicken was just marinated in Italian dressing–nothing too fancy. And the alfredo was the same alfredo I’ve made before. So this post is about the shrimp. I made Barefoot Contessa’s Baked Shrimp Scampi from the Back to Basics Cookbook.

And Yum! Assuming I can scrounge up some people to help me eat them again, I’ll be making these again for sure.

Baked Shrimp Scampi

  • 2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
  • 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) of butter at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread crumbs)
  • lemon wedges, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a large mixing bowl and toss gently with olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Allow to rest at room temperature while you make the butter/garlic mixture.

3. In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until combined.

4. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down in a glass baking dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture in an even layer over the shrimp. Bake for 10-12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Note: This was simple, delicious, and beautiful–pretty much everything a Barefoot Contessa recipe promises. I enjoy seafood, but Leah and David won’t touch most of it, which means I don’t make it very often. It’s nice to have this recipe in my pocket, for when I need it. These would be great tossed some linguine and parmesan cheese, too.

Chicken Kiev

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

I have liked Chicken Kiev ever since I was a little kid. We used to get these frozen Chicken Kiev pieces from Market Day or Sam’s Club, and I was always excited to have them for dinner. There were other versions of the same product stuffed with cheesy broccoli or ham and swiss cheese, but for me, Chicken Kiev, with its crunchy outside and tender, buttery inside, was the best out of all of them.

It’s kind of surprising that I haven’t tried to make it more often. I came across this recipe through Photograzing, and decided to try it. Other recipes I’ve seen have used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded them thin, and then wrapped them around pieces of herb butter. The problem with that approach is that not only is it a little on the messy side, but it’s very hard to make sure that the chicken is sealed up properly–and if it’s not, you just get chicken baked in a pan of butter, which is not the same at all real Chicken Kiev, which bursts with a warm herb-butter sauce as soon as you cut into it.

The other problem with those recipes is that they require a long stay in your fridge–most want you to chill the stuffed chicken breasts overnight before cooking, to help that butter stay inside the chicken where it belongs. This recipe, however, used ground chicken formed around cold pieces of butter. It worked perfectly, and was both easier to work with and much more fool-proof. Every one of my Chicken Kievs came out perfectly.

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Chicken Kiev
Adapted from The Five Star Foodie, via Photograzing.

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 to 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de provence, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 stick chilled butter
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil

1. Put chicken and onion through a meat grinder, according to manufacturer’s directions, and place and in a large bowl. Add egg, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, and 1 tablespoon of herbs to the bowl. Mix well by hand until the mixture is smooth. This part feels a lot like making a meatloaf, and really–that’s the texture you’re looking for. Form four equal-sized patties, place on plate or cutting board and flatten them.

2. Cut the stick of butter in half and roll each half into a thin log. Work with the butter quickly, so that it stays as cold as possible. Sprinkle a small plate with remaining teaspoon of herbs de provence and roll the piece of butter so that it is coated on all sides. Place one butter log in the middle of each patty, and shape the chicken into a small loaf around the butter so that the chicken mixture covers the butter completely.

3. In a shallow dish, mix panko breadcrumbs, garlic, and Parmesan. Coat the chicken patties with breadcrumbs. I thought I might need to batter the chicken pieces with egg before dipping in the breadcrumbs to get the mixture to stick, but the chicken loaves were plenty moist enough. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

4. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add one to two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. You need enough to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot (the surface will start to shimmer), brown the chicken loaves quickly. It doesn’t take long–maybe one or two minutes per side. Turn carefully with tongs (you don’t want to puncture the chicken as you turn it!).

5. Bake in a 375 degree oven, in an oven-safe dish lined with parchment paper, for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. I used a 9 x 13 pyrex dish.

Note: I’ve always liked to have Chicken Kiev with rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes, since each of those options gives you something to soak up the delicious herb-butter sauce from the chicken.

I had to make several changes to this recipe, because the ground chicken that I had was super-moist–much too wet to stick together–so I added the breadcrumbs and a little more egg to that mixture.

I was perfectly content to grind my own chicken, since I have a meat grinder attachment for my kitchen-aid mixer that doesn’t see as much use as it should. I also always have boneless, skinless chicken breasts on hand. That being said, I think you could probably use a store-bought package of ground chicken without too much difference. You might not need as much of the breadcrumbs in that case, because I don’t think the mixture would have anywhere near as much moisture.

If you know anyone that received a food grinder attachment (for Father’s Day, perhaps?) recently, this would be a good recipe for them to start with.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Can someone please teach me how to photograph a casserole? I feel like I just can’t do them justice in pictures. If I take a picture of the casserole in the pan, aside from the lighting issues in my kitchen, all you see is some sort of cheesy/crunchy topping, and a casserole is much, much more than that. If I try to take a picture of the inside of the casserole, all you see is a bowl of…something. It’s impossible to tell what’s going on, and it certainly doesn’t seem to illustrate the deliciousness of the casserole. So going forward, I’m going to need you to accept that this dish tastes better than it looks. Casserole dishes always do, as far as I can tell.

This casserole is one of my favorite casseroles in a long time. It’s a take on Chicken Cordon Bleu, traditonally a breaded chicken breast stuffed with ham and swiss cheese. This casserole takes those familiar flavors and turns them into a cheesy, baked pasta dish. Because David’s not a huge fan of ham, I used proscuitto. This would be good with ham, but the proscuitto adds an additional saltiness that paired well with the creamy cheese sauce.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
Serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 pound cooked chicken breast, shredded or cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese, divided
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 cup half and half (I used Fat-Free half and half, and it was delicious)
  • 4 oz prosciutto, either diced or sliced into thin strips
  • 8 wedges The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss Original Flavor (this is one full wheel of Laughing Cow cheese; I used light because we get these at Costco in a multipack, but you could use the full fat version if you want. There’s very little difference between the two).
  • 8 ounces (1/2 box) penne pasta (I used Barilla Plus Penne, but any small pasta should be fine: shells, rotini, elbows, etc.)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Boil pasta in salted water until tender. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the prosciutto and 1 tablespoon of butter until the prosciutto is heated through and crispy at the edges. Add the Laughing Cow cheese, 1/4 cup of the shredded Swiss cheese, half and half, garlic salt and pepper. When cheese is melted and smooth, cooked chicken and pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of shredded swiss cheese over the casserole evenly.

3. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small bowl the microwave. Add the panko bread crumbs and stir to combine.  Sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the casserole is heated through, the cheese on top is melted, and the buttered bread crumbs have crisped. Serve immediately.

Note: I really enjoyed this, and I am sure we’ll be making it again. I think broccoli might be a welcome addition to the rich casserole for the next time–something to think about, anyway.

Fried Macaroni & Cheese

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Is there anything worse for you than Fried Macaroni & Cheese?

I thought not.

But like so many other things that are terrible for you… it’s one of the most delicious!

If you’ve never had Fried Mac & Cheese, you’re missing out. The first time I tried it was at The Cheesecake Factory with my mom. It was so good as an appetizer that we skipped the entrees! I’ve also had it at TGIFriday’s. What’s different about making it at home is that when you control the ingredients–using olive oil to fry, and a homemade Mac & Cheese with real cheese (not OrangyProcessedCheeseFood)–the result is so much tastier than anything a chain restaurant can dream of serving.

This version has a light, crispy crunch on the outside, while the middle comes together as a warm, gooey, cheesy center. I’ve seen it served with marinara sauce for dipping, but if you start with awesome Mac & Cheese, I think a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt over the finished product is all you need.

Fried Macaroni & Cheese

  • leftovers from your favorite baked macaroni & cheese recipe, chilled overnight. (I used the leftovers from this delicious spin on traditional mac & cheese.)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup panko Japanese-style breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
  • salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil, for frying

1. Slice the macaroni & cheese into 1-inch thick slices. Keep chilled until ready to use.

2. Heat a 1/2 inch layer of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, until the surface shimmer. You want the oil to be hot enough to crisp the mac & cheese, but you don’t want the oil to smoke.

3. Place the flour in a shallow dish and sprinkle with salt & pepper. In a second dish, lightly beat two eggs together. In a third dish, combine the panko and parmesan cheese.

4. Dredge two slices of the mac & cheese in flour and shake off the excess. Next, dip the slices of mac & cheese in the eggs, and then finally in the panko/parmesan mixture.

5. When the oil is ready, carefully place the breaded macaroni & cheese slices in the skillet and fry until golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels. While hot, lightly sprinkle with salt (preferably flaked sea salt). Cover with a loosely-tented piece of foil to keep the fried slices warm while you continue cooking the rest of the macaroni & cheese.

Note:  We chilled our leftover macaroni & cheese in a plastic container shaped like a loaf of bread, which made it easier to slice evenly. We’ll be making this again for sure…probably any time we have leftover Mac & Cheese!

Chive Risotto Cakes

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

A long time ago, David and I tried a delicious arancini at this little Italian restaurant by his old apartment. It inspired me to try my own version of the fried balls of rice. The restaurant version had tomato sauce and italian sausage at the center. I actually tried two takes on the same dish one with traditional Italian flavors and one with mexican flavors (this later grew into Mexican Risotto).

The results were delicious, but a lot of trouble since I had to make risotto in the first place before I could form it into balls, toss them with bread crumbs, and fry them. Ina Garten has found a better way.

Her Chive Risotto Cakes recipe, from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook, avoids the whole issue of needing leftover risotto by creating a substitute recipe that is much simpler, with none of the constant stirring and careful attention required by a traditional risotto.

The risotto cakes are creamy and cheesy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. They were  very good. This recipe made about 20 3-inch cakes. Think of them as the best hashbrowns you’ve ever had.

Sure, these Risotto Cakes were delicious as is, but I’m more excited to try my hand at arancini again–with this little shortcut tucked in my back pocket, I know they’ll be worth the trouble.

Chive Risotto Cakes
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook

  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Italian Fontina cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • good quality extra virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a half tablespoon salt and the rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. The grains of rice will be quite soft. Drain the rice and run under cold water until cool. Drain well.

Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, chives, Fontina, 1¼ teaspoons salt and the pepper in a medium bowl. Add the cooled rice and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, until firm.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spread the panko in a shallow dish. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Form balls of the rice mixture using a standard ice cream scoop or large spoon. Pat the balls into patties 3 inches in diameter and ¾ inches thick.

Place 4 to 6 patties in the panko, turning once to coat. Place the patties in the hot oil and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side until the risotto cakes are crisp and nicely browned. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes.

Note: Don’t miss the step where you have to chill the rice mixture for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight. This isn’t a last-minute kind of dish!

New York Strip Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter Crust

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

We don’t make steaks very often around here, though I’m not entirely sure why. I don’t think it’s the cost, because we’re happy to spend too much money for a fancy cheese or a quality wine. I don’t mind though, because when we do make steak, it’s usually a treat, and this Valentine’s Day was no exception. The meal we threw together was pretty spectacular, actually. I teased you with it in my Valentine’s Day post…here’s our recipe for fabulous New York Strip Steaks with a Blue Cheese Butter Crust.

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New York Strip Steaks with a Blue Cheese Butter Crust
Adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe for Pan Seared Steaks

For the crumb topping:

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 ounces blue cheese (Something good quality and creamy, like a maytag or gorgonzola–not the dry crumbles sold for salad)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko Japanese style bread crumbs

For the steaks:

  • 4 new york strip steaks, 1 1/2-inch thick
  • Canola oil to coat
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Directions

Place 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet in oven and heat oven to 500 degrees. Bring steak(s) to room temperature.

To prepare the crumb topping, combine butter, garlic, and blue cheese in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave on high at 15 second intervals until the cheese and butter are melted completely. Season with fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Stir in bread crumbs and set aside.

When oven reaches temperature, remove pan and place on range over high heat. Coat steak lightly with oil and season both sides with a generous pinch of salt. Grind on black pepper to taste.

Immediately place steak in the middle of hot, dry pan. Cook 30 seconds without moving. Turn with tongs and cook another 30 seconds, then put the pan straight into the oven for 2 minutes. Flip steak, top with bread crumbs and cook for another 2 minutes. (This time is for medium rare steaks. If you prefer medium, add a minute to both of the oven turns.)

Remove steak from pan, cover loosely with foil, and rest for 2 minutes before serving.

Note: This tasted amazing, though the bread crumbs didn’t get as crispy as I would have liked. The flavor was spot-on, though, and elevated a good steak to something great. Next time, we plan to incorporate a minute under the broiler to crisp up the topping a little bit. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do anything differently.

As an added bit of cuteness, David and I went to Wildfire the night we got engaged, and this steak was a surprisingly good recreation of the filet medallions with blue cheese crust that I had for dinner that night. A nice touch for Valentine’s dinner, I think.


Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Basil Gnocchi

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Chicken Parmesan doesn’t need much explanation. You all know what I’m talking about. Crunchy chicken breast, tomato sauce, cheese. Usually with pasta. This recipe is a little different from how I usually make Chicken Parmesan–adapted from the Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts that I’d made earlier in the week. I topped these chicken breasts with provolone cheese for a change from the more mild mozzarella.

If you’ve never tried gnocchi before, they’re Italian potato dumplings–like little nuggets of pasta. I like the ones stocked by Trader Joe’s, but you can usually find them in the pasta aisle of your regular grocery store.

Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Basil Gnocchi
Adapted from EatingWell Magazine

  • 4 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto (store-bought or homemade)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1-1 1/4 pounds total)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning blend
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 package gnocchi (Italian potato dumplings)
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Lightly beat egg white with a fork in a medium bowl. Place both kinds of breadcrumbs in a shallow glass dish. Stir in Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Dip each chicken breast in the egg white, then dredge in the breadcrumbs. (Discard leftovers.)

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Place the chicken, browned-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Top each chicken breast with 3 Tablespoons of spaghetti sauce and one slice of cheese. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F, about 20 minutes.

4. While the chicken bakes, boil gnocchi according to package directions. Drain. In a medium sauce pan, stir cooked gnocchi, remaining spaghetti sauce, and pesto together and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, alongside chicken.

Cheesy Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Monday, February 9th, 2009

I’m always on the lookout for healthy recipes that don’t look like healthy recipes. Partly because I’m not generally a fan of HEALTHY healthy food. Partly because I don’t care for very many vegetables. Partly because I like cooking too much to give up all the tasty things I love to make. Partly because if I want to eat healthy, I’ve got to find a way to make sure my “test kitchen” wants to eat it also.

This recipe sounded promising from the start. Cream cheese? Pesto? Crunchy chicken breast? Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Hardly sounds healthy at all, really. Except that the cheese is low-fat cream cheese, the pesto is made with heart-healthy olive oil, the breading is egg whites and super-crunchy panko and the chicken is briefly pan-fried before being finished in the oven–giving it all the crunch of a fattening fried chicken breast, with much less oil.

Cheesy Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Adapted from EatingWell Magazine

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese (neufchâtel cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon basil pesto (store-bought or homemade)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1-1 1/4 pounds total)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning blend
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine cream cheese, pesto and pepper in a small bowl with a fork.

3. Cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of a chicken breast half, nearly through to the opposite side. Open up each breast and place one-fourth of the filling in the center. Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.

4. Lightly beat egg white with a fork in a medium bowl. Place both kinds of breadcrumbs in a shallow glass dish. Stir in italian seasoning and garlic powder. Hold each chicken breast half together and dip in the egg white, then dredge in the breadcrumbs. (Discard leftovers.)

5. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Place the chicken, browned-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F, about 20 minutes.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per chicken breast: 233 calories; 7 g fat; 71 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 30 g protein; 1 g fiber; 231 mg sodium.

Note: This is one of the most decadent healthy recipes I’ve come across in a long time. If you’ve never used neufchâtel cheese you’ll be pleasantly surprised; it’s like cream cheese, but has 1/3 less fat than traditional cream cheese, without any of the aftertaste or texture problems of “low fat,” “reduced fat,” or “fat free” cream cheese. Look for the “1/3 less fat than cream cheese” in the product name, and you’ll know you’re buying the right one. I did use a small container of storebought pesto, only because my basil crop wasn’t quite ripe for picking. I served this with Pesto Mashed Potatoes, which is code for leftover mashed potatoes with pesto in them (about 1 Tbsp of pesto for every cup of mashed potatoes). The whole dinner was delicious.

Garlicky Green Beans

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Green beans are seen often around here. We don’t really eat as many vegetables as we should, but green beans are one of the few veggies I always like. Of course, they’re not very interesting. Of course, there’s green bean casserole, or green beans with bacon (the way Grandma makes them, yum!), or just canned green beans. They’re a nice standby, a simple go-to veggie, but not very inspiring.

That’s why I set out to find a new recipe for green beans. And I did. This was a simple fix for frozen green beans. Even though it was nothing spectacular, this recipe was quick and tasty, and a nice change from the regular old canned beans. The panko is crunchy and buttery, like garlic bread, and the beans are fresh and crisp. The tiny bit of butter and small amount of bread crumbs go a long way, keeping the final product healthy, like vegetables should be.

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Garlicky Green Beans

Directions

  1. Microwave beans according to package directions and drain.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet, add garlic and saute until soft–about 1 minute.
  3. Add bread crumbs, seasoning, and salt and pepper and saute 1 minute.
  4. Add green beans and saute 3 to 4 minutes.

Note: As I said, nothing earth-shattering here, but these green beans were pretty tasty. I’ll make these again, I’m sure. (Leah liked them so much she’s eaten the leftovers until every bite was gone…She’d be sad if I didn’t make them again!)

Easy Chicken Dijon

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

This recipe is another one of those healthy ones–it’s from the most recent Weight Watchers Magazine. The recipe calls for chicken drumsticks, with the skin removed, but I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts; it’s pretty much all we stock around here. I also substituted “Mustard Girl” American Dijon Mustard (a very nice, flavorful mustard we found at Whole Foods on our last trip there–I’m anxious to try some of the other flavors), for the whole grain Dijon mustard the recipe called for. The mustard actually makes a pretty good substitute for a traditional breading. The chicken was crispy, in part due to the mustard (which in addition to being healthy and tasty, didn’t make the breading soggy at all) and in part due to the panko bread crumbs.

If you’ve never used panko before, they’re a special kind of japanese bread crumb that are more like bread flakes. They’re extra crunchy, and you can find them at just about any grocery store. They’re working their way towards mainstream, so you might find them with the stuffing and other bread crumb items, but if you don’t see them there, check with the asian foods. I’ll bet your store stocks them.

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Easy Chicken Dijon
Adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine

  • 8 chicken drumsticks, skinned (about 2 lbs) — (I used 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts instead)
  • 3 Tbsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried herbs (such as tarragon, oregano, or thyme) — (I used oregano)
  • salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and lightly spray with nonstick spray.

2. Brush the drumsticks with the mustard. Mix the bread crumbs, herbs, salt, and pepper in a large zip-top plastic bag, add the drumsticks. Squeeze out the air an seal the bag, turn to coat the drumsticks.

3. Place the drumsticks on the prepared baking sheet and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Bake until browned and cooked through, 35-40 minutes, spraying the drumsticks with non-stick spray halfway through the baking time. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving.

Note: Be sure the chicken is dry (just pat it down with a paper towel) before you try to bread it, otherwise, it might get soggy on you. This recipe is mostly a method and could be changed quite a bit by changing up the seasonings. I skipped the whole shake and bake routine and just put out the crumbs in a pie tin to bread the chicken, but I guess the ziploc bag method will save you a dish or two.

This actually turned out a lot like that Paula Deen “Chicken Sticks” recipe but was much, much healthier. Nothing earth-shattering here, but I might make it again. It was certainly quick and easy! Next time, I might add a little bit of honey to the mustard before breading the chicken.