Chicken tenders, French fries, pizza, popcorn, bananas, cheese and watermelon. This has become my three year-old’s diet for the last few months.
Despite his desire to eat all things brown, I have found a way to give him his favorite foods without feeling like an irresponsible parent.
I’ve also found comfort in knowing most kids go through similar phases of eating, so I’m not alone in this.
I prepare these all-natural chicken tenders from three simple ingredients. When I make them, I make a lot and freeze them. During the week, I’ll thaw a half dozen to have on hand for busy weeknights.
Simply reheat them in the oven, toaster oven or microwave and pair with your child’s favorite fruit or vegetable and dipping sauce for a balanced, nutritious meal you both will feel good about.
All-natural chicken tenders
Makes 16-20 chicken tenders
2 lbs. All-natural chicken tenders or chicken breasts
1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 425°. Generously coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray. If using chicken breasts, cut them into long strips to mimic chicken tenders. Place the breadcrumbs in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Working in small batches, add four to five chicken tenders to the bag, seal and shake to coat. Before removing the chicken, squeeze the bag and the chicken to help press the breadcrumbs into the chicken.
Remove chicken and place it on the oiled baking sheet, taking care to ensure the chicken tenders are not touching each other. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Once all chicken is coated, generously spray the coated pieces with more nonstick spray. This will help the chicken brown in the oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and lightly browned.
Serve immediately or allow the chicken to cool before spreading out on a clean baking sheet and freezing. Once frozen, place chicken tenders in a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to two months.
Jessica James is a millennial mom and professional chef whose passion is inspiring families to cook and spend quality time together in the kitchen.