Buttery Panko Baked Chicken

You know what they say about best laid plans and all that jazz. On my meal planner this week was a recipe from Cookiesandcups.com for Butter Chicken. The recipe called for 1 sleeve of Ritz Crackers for breading the chicken. I’ve used Ritz Crackers before, but unlike my method, this recipe had the chicken breasts dipped in egg, rolled in crushed crackers and baked in the oven with pats of butter scattered around the pan. When I’ve made my Ritz Cracker chicken, I brush my breasts with Miracle Whip (for a little “zip” while creating a thermal blanket to hold in the moisture), then rolled the chicken in crackers and baked on a pan lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

The night before making my chicken, I thawed the breasts in the refrigerator. The next night, when we returned home, I was ready to make dinner. My mouth was all set for the buttery breasts with salty-crushed crackers. That’s when I discovered we did not have any Ritz crackers in the pantry, or any other kind of cracker that would suffice. Time to improvise. We had butter, panko crumbs and a wide assortment of seasonings to choose from. I rolled up my sleeves, put on my creative thinking cap and made an awesome, flavorful chicken supper for my hungry guys.

Buttery Panko Baked Chicken
4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 1/2 Cup Panko Crumbs, Plain or Italian
2 Tablespoons Mrs. Dash Original Blend
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) Butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small casserole dish (Just large enough to dip and roll chicken one  piece at a time), place panko crumbs and mix with Mrs. Dash Original Blend. Set aside.

In another casserole dish, melt 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons) in the micro wave. Heat butter in intervals of about 20 seconds until just melted but not heated. Set aside.

Slice breast lengthwise to create two thin breasts. Repeat with remaining breasts. Rinse sliced breasts under cold water. Place in a single layer on sheets of paper towels over a cutting board. Place more paper towels over the chicken breast and pat dry. Season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides.

Dip each breast into the melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the dish. Press and roll the breast in the panko crumb mixture and place on a rimmed baking pan. Repeat with remaining breasts, allowing about 1/2 inch between them.

Place baking pan into the pre-heated oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until done, turning breast over about mid-way through the cooking time.

Remove from oven and serve with your favorite sides. (This is great with Stove-Top Boxed Stuffing with a Home-Made Twist. Just make the stuffing while the chicken bakes.)

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