Back when I was still a teacher, I worked with a speech pathologist in my school that was too darling for words. She was from Hazard, Kentucky and had the sweetest accent you ever heard. One time her parents were up visiting and stopped by our school to check things out. I was talking to the mother and telling her that I could just listen to her talk all day long so I could hear her southern drawl. And her mom said, “Oh honey, she is as country as cornbread!” Clearly I was just as in love with her mother after that! And every time I do anything with cornmeal, that’s the line that goes over and over in my head and I can’t help but smile.
When it comes to no nonsense, no effort dinners in our house, Anthony and I will resort to chicken fingers cut up over a big salad and call it a day. And we have been on the hunt for just the right chicken tender that is not insanely priced. Does it exist? Not so sure. I try to keep a bag of them in the freezer at all times because when I am not home for dinner, it’s a simple go to for Anthony. But after spending too much on these half way ok bites, I thought it was time to give it a go on my own.
I decided to use cornmeal for these to make them a bit different than the same old same old. They are definitely not your average chicken tender, that is for sure! But the real test for me was whether they would freeze well and reheat–and they passed the test! I baked these up from the freezer recently to switch up our usual, and Anthony was quite pleased. So now I can have a big package of these in the freezer for anytime we are feeling like we want to put as little effort as possible into making dinner. And trust me, it happens much more often than you think!
- 1 lb chicken tenderloins
- 3/4 c panko gluten free will work as well
- 3 T cornmeal
- 1 1/2 T mayonnaise
- 1 T dijon mustard
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- sea salt
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a small bowl, combine panko, cornmeal, garlic powder and a dash of sea salt. Stir to combine well.
In another bowl, whisk together egg, mustard and mayo.
Dip each chicken tender into the egg bowl to coat and then roll in panko cornmeal combination to cover completely.
Line on a parchment lined baking sheet or lightly oiled sheet and repeat with the rest of the tenders.
Bake for about 15-17 minutes or until cooked through and to desired crispiness.
Freeze leftovers or refrigerate.
You can also toast the panko for a few minutes to make them even crispier before combining them with the cornmeal.