One Recipe, Two Meals: Crispy Baked Chicken

Lately I’ve been getting more into breading things. Some to fry, some to bake, some to just bread and say, “I breaded this.” It feels good for my life.

But let’s get real for a second. I think it’s obvious we can all agree that the best food to bread is a good ol’ chicken nugget. How can it not be? It’s a childhood favorite, and it’s grabbable, poppable and dippable. You can’t not.

Though the classic nugget will never go out of style, I wanted to upgrade our adult portions to have the same taste, but with a slightly more polished end result. So I created a super-yummy, super-crunchy baked chicken nugget for the kids, and I used the same crunchy coating and applied it to a more adult-friendly paillard-style chicken dish. Even though technically a paillard has no coating, mine does. I like to get loco like that.

Since the coating is the exact same for all the chicken, it’s a definite timesaver on a weeknight. You’ll serve the nuggets with some ketchup and steamed broccoli for the kids. And then you’ll just drape your paillards over some super-quick lemony linguine for you.

One Recipe, Two Meals: Crispy Baked Chicken

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups panko

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 pounds chicken breasts, 1 pound cut into 1-inch cubes and the other pound sliced in half lengthwise and pounded out thinly

1 cup broccoli, boiled or steamed

Ketchup, for serving

1/2 pound linguine

2 tablespoons butter

1 lemon, sliced

Extra Parmesan for serving

Fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the flour in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, combine the panko, Italian seasoning, grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt. In one more shallow dish, beat the 2 eggs.

Take each cube of chicken and lightly dredge it in the flour. Dip it in the egg wash, then one final coating in the panko. Continue until all of the chicken nuggets are coated in panko. Arrange on a shallow cooling rack, positioned on a baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown on all sides. You may even need to bake a full 20 minutes, depending on your oven.

Serve these baked nuggets with a side of steamed broccoli and a little bit of ketchup for dipping! Your kids will freak out.

Now for your mature palate: Proceed with the pounded chicken, in the same fashion as the nuggets. First the flour, then the egg, then a good coating of the panko. Arrange the chicken on the rack, on the baking sheet, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides.

While the chicken bakes, cook the linguine in a pot of salted water until it is al dente and drain, reserving about 1/4 cup of pasta water. Transfer the pasta back to the pot. Add the butter, juice from half the lemon, reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and the parsley. Give it all a good toss.

To fancy it up a tad more, sear a few lemon slices in a small saute pan — so fancy.

Serve the baked chicken over the pasta and serve with extra cheese!

Follow Bev on her blog, Bev Cooks, if you think you can even handle more.

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