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{Baked} Chicken Fingers

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You can’t hear me right now but I’m letting out a huge sigh. A huge sigh because I’m relieved with my realization.

A lot of people in my life tend to think that I have a lot of anxiety and stress. I don’t feel like I do but maybe it’s the way I come off to people. I can’t help it but I have to stay busy. I think that’s the only thing I really know how to be. My life is always a constant movement. In a sense, I need to “stop and smell the roses.” You only get one life, right?

Well, that’s the catch 22 I’m dealing with. Everyone says you have one life so you want to live it to the fullest. So I’m living it to the fullest by doing what I love. And yet, everything that I’m loving is apparently also too “consuming” and I need to “slow down.”


I don’t usually write posts like this but it’s really been weighing on me because recently I’ve come to realize that life is about balance and compromise. You must balance/juggle work all the time and compromise and UNDERSTAND that you can’t always do it all. You just have to LET IT GO sometimes and breathe.


I’m saying all this because last night when I was shooting various dishes, I got really frustrated and annoyed that my pictures weren’t turning out the way I wanted them to. The lighting is starting to get worse in the evening and I’m not used to that yet. Summer is about to come to a close and that means the sun sets earlier and earlier. I found the sweet spot in my house for great natural light in the evenings but lately I’ve noticed it’s really starting to get worse the further into summer we go. Long story short, I stressed out over this. I got all in a bad mood over LIGHTING and the fact that I’m going to have to start doing all my photography on the weekends again (I really hate winter).

This was a moment of, “stop and smell the roses” and be happy with what you have at the moment. No one is perfect, not everything is going to turn out the way you want it to, you just gotta deal. So, I stopped sulking. I just said to myself, there is always tomorrow. Food lasts a while, you can photograph this tomorrow when you’re off work and the lighting is better during the day.

Lesson: don’t stress over what you can’t control. It’ll work out in the end, even if in the moment you think it’s the end of the world.

Now that I got that out of the way..let’s talk chicken fingers!! Chicken tenders are my FAVORITE American restaurant dish. 95% of the time I order the chicken tenders platter off the menu at any given restaurant. It’s become a game to me to compare each restaurant’s chicken tenders and which one has the best batter and best technique. The best I ever had was at Blue Ridge Grill in Leesburg, VA a few weeks ago. I don’t think I’ve ever had such great chicken tenders. They were breaded in a very unique way and flash fried. This gave it the most amazing and crunchy crust. I couldn’t stop thinking about them so I tried to replicate them (the crust at least). I didn’t fry them because I wanted to healthify these as well. I baked them!

Let me tell you – these could be up for a fierce competition with Blue Ridge Grill ;)

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{Baked} Chicken Fingers
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

Baked chicken fingers with all the crunch of the fried version but a fraction of the fat!

Servings: 30
Ingredients
  • 10 in boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, sliced into strips (I bought the individually packaged Purdue chicken tenderloins & each packet comes with 5 each)
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a shallow dish, combine panko, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well to get it all incorporated.
  3. In another shallow dish, beat the 3 eggs together.
  4. Take the chicken strips and dip them in the egg mixture then cover the chicken strips with the panko mixture. Gently press the panko mixture on the chicken to make sure it's well coated.
  5. Lay the strips next to each other on the baking sheets and repeat until all the chicken strips have been coated.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes then turn on the broiler and broil them for another 5 minutes to get the outside even more crispy & a light brown color.
  7. Serve immediately with honey mustard or BBQ sauce or ketchup!

 

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Posted on August 10, 2012

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  1. 08/10/2012 at 7:34 am

    Baked chicken fingers are one of my absolute favourite things too. I made a version of these with cornflakes which I saw on shutterbean the other day and they were amazing but I’m going to have to try these – I love all the flavours you’ve got into your coating!

    And I definitely can sympathise about the need for balance and taking a step back and trying not to get too overwhelmed with everything, it can be hard because everything seems so competitive all the time but it’s just a path to absolute insanity!

  2. Tiffany Roach
    08/10/2012 at 7:51 am

    will be making these for tomorrow nights game.

  3. Tiffany Roach
    08/10/2012 at 7:51 am

    will be making these for tomorrow nights game.

  4. 08/10/2012 at 8:31 am

    These baked chicken fingers look dynamite. I can really sympathize with your post, especially because nothing frustrates me more than when I can’t get a food photo. I’ve been known to lose it on occasion over that. We can’t always look on the bright side in a bad moment. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to a lot of things and I take it as a personal failure when I’m not succeeding at everything. We do the best we can, right?

  5. 08/10/2012 at 8:38 am

    Oh, you and I are going to be such good friends. I was always so anxious, and I worried about everything… enter my husband… who after a few months of dating me started asking me “is this something you can control?” when it wasn’t he told me to let it go. It’s hard, really hard, but it gets to much easier.

    Did I mention that after I got married it got significantly better? There is something about someone who LEGALLY has to have your back that makes life better. (warn your fiance!)

    PS– I lourves me a good chicken finger.

  6. 08/10/2012 at 9:13 am

    I agree with ALL of this…the winter…the lighting…the not sweating the stuff you can’t control…the CHICKEN TENDERS!
    I literally almost started crying last week because the overcast lighting was ruining my pictures.
    Then I stopped and remembered that I WAS TAKING PICTURES OF COOKIES and got over it.

    It’s so hard when you’re right in the middle of it, isn’t it?
    Anyway, awesome chicken tenders.

    • 08/10/2012 at 9:36 am

      I know what you mean – I was almost in tears last night over ICE CREAM and BREAD. It’s definitely hard when you’re in the middle of it & you just want PERFECTION & you don’t want to walk away without getting a good shot.

  7. 08/10/2012 at 10:00 am

    Great post, Julie. I agree with all the things you said. It’s crazy as to how upset we get over our photos when in fact, our blogs are all about having fun and doing something that we love. When I get really frustrated/annoyed/angry/upset during the “photo session,” Jason looks at me and says, “Honey, it’s okay. This is just for fun! So what if foodgawker doesn’t accept it?” He’s always there to remind me that it’s not the end of the world, but it’s just so hard to see that in the moment.

    Anyway, awesome chicken fingers. I haven’t had them in so long! Will have to make this for Jason – he’ll love it!

    • 08/10/2012 at 10:09 am

      Well I’m not concerned whether or not food sites accept my photos. I just have a really high standard I give myself for photos. It’s definitely hard sometimes to let go!

  8. 08/10/2012 at 10:13 am

    I was realizing the same thing about summer and how I’ve been getting a little rage-aholic at the lighting too. So – thanks for saying what I couldn’t out loud. And about not being able to do it all. It’s hard to realize that “it’s okay” when you feel like you HAVE to do #allthethings RIGHT. Now. Ben has to sometimes not-so-gently tell me, this is something fun to do, it’s not our job (yet). And it will be OKAY. Then I tell him to bite me and keep doing what I’m doing. Suuuper productive.

    Anyway – all is right in the world. And hey you’re not in it alone. Whether its lighting issues, timing issues, scheduling, life, blogging, and balance – we are ALLL in the same boat – we can be crazy wine guzzling bloggers together. ;) We are classy.

  9. 08/10/2012 at 10:22 am

    the lighting change always kills me, too, BUT fall is my favorite, so I don’t get really depressed about the no natural light until winter hits. blech.

    the great thing is that these chicken fingers look awesome! nick would love them. putting them on the to-make list :)

  10. 08/10/2012 at 10:23 am

    I hate lighting, winter, and the rest of it! Here in CO it is sunny most of the year, I think we average 340 sunny days a year. But that doesn’t change the fact that in winter at 4:30 it is dark out! I got lights last year, but they take major practice to learn how to use correctly, and I don’t have that yet. So hard to just take a step back though.

    We love chicken fingers around here, and especially love making them with my 7 year old. He will love these!

  11. 08/10/2012 at 10:34 am

    GIRLL!!! I could not agree more with your sentiment. I get so UPSET, like stomping around sobbing crying when my photos don’t turn out right b/c of lighting that it ruins my day. and that’s absurd. like you said, we only get one life to live, make it worth it!

    But your photos are always gorgeous. I love these little fingerrrrs :)

  12. Jennifer @ Mother Thyme
    08/10/2012 at 11:07 am

    Great post Julie! Lighting can be a food photographers worst enemy (or best friend) but like you said we just need to stop and smell the roses. Thanks for sharing this as its good to hear these things. Your photos are always beautiful and these chicken tenders look awesome! I love that they are baked! :)

  13. 08/10/2012 at 11:39 am

    It’s so easy to get stressed or overwhelmed by life and it’s even harder to know where to cut back or slow down. SIGH indeed. And the lighting … oh let’s not go there yet k? lol Pass me a chicken finger would ya? :)

  14. 08/10/2012 at 12:09 pm

    Eek! Look at those beautiful golden (crispy!!) chicken fingers! I’m a total kid at heart still and adore chicken fingers. And sauce. Honey mustard or BBQ. I’m a saucy girl, what can I say! :)

  15. 08/10/2012 at 12:53 pm

    I agree as I can get the same way sometimes. I’ve learned to take a deep breath and to attack from a different angle/point of view/etc. (Not just talking about blogging/photography, but everything in general.)

    Loved that these chicken fingers are baked!

  16. 08/10/2012 at 1:24 pm

    These look like great comfort food, and I like your honesty in this post. I’m not looking forward to winter light either – summer isn’t my favourite season but it does have it’s advantages :)

  17. 08/10/2012 at 1:35 pm

    I totally feel your pain. But you’re right: sometimes the best solution is to just let go. It can be hard, though, I know! Either way, these photos and chicken fingers look amazing as always. I hope you have a lovely, stress-free weekend!!

  18. 08/10/2012 at 1:50 pm

    I know exactly what you mean, although I never am as busy as you are ;) But I had all intentions of making my Fresh Friday and posting it last night and then Matt called me with news that the car was gone!!! Like seriously! Turned out it had been towed (oh city parking!), so thankfully not stolen, but needless to say, my day was shot! A lesson for me to prioritize my time better I guess. Its nice to hear this encouragement from you Julie :) Thanks and I cant wait to see you in seven weeks!

  19. I totally agree with you Julie! I have those moments all the time…but mine are usually in more of a meltdown haha. For me I have found that its good every now and again because it helps me realize that I am agonizing over something so small and that I need to take things a little more lightly :)

    But these chicken fingers look sublime! I love baked chicken fingers!

  20. 08/10/2012 at 2:49 pm

    Totally know what you mean. I`m not a stressful person, but lots of things can make me twitch a little since it`s not going right. LOL

    But, you`re right. Can`t change what you don`t have control over!

    These look fabulous though!

  21. 08/10/2012 at 3:07 pm

    I appreciate the real talk. It is difficult balancing life, and I totally get it. While I am no expert, I do try to stop, take a deep breathe, and chill out for a minute. I think the funniest part is when I am in the middle of freaking out, and I know it’s happening, I am being ridiculous, I can somehow laugh in the moment and move on. But it is only funny when I know I am being dramatic.
    Oh and I love the panko on the recipes, it totally makes it!
    pretty photos by the way:)

  22. 08/10/2012 at 3:08 pm

    “Lesson: don’t stress over what you can’t control. It’ll work out in the end, even if in the moment you think it’s the end of the world.”

    Preach!! I just started my blog a couple of months ago, and about a month after I started, I broke my hand. With my cast, I can barely cook meals, let alone take pictures! Needless to say, I have had to remind myself of the above sentiment a LOT these past 6 weeks. Thank you for sharing!

  23. 08/10/2012 at 3:26 pm

    I’m dealing with the same thing. I want to live life to the fullest and fill every minute with wonderful things, but then I’m constantly busy. I have 2 full time jobs. It’s crazy.

    And I’ve had SO many melt-downs over food photography that I should write a book. It’s ridiculous.

  24. 08/10/2012 at 3:45 pm

    We all struggle with that balance between stop-and-smell-the-roses and live-each-day-to-the-fullest, so I can totally relate. These chicken fingers? Look amazing! I’ll definitely have to try these. =)

  25. 08/10/2012 at 4:06 pm

    We struggle over lighting ALL the time… We have very little natural light in our condo so it’s either shoot in odd places, or create our lighting with little tricks we’ve picked up online. Since we have full time jobs while blogging, it really is a struggle. You’re definitely right, all about balance.

  26. 08/10/2012 at 5:19 pm

    Agree, agree, agree! Top the lighting issue with a housing issue (still living in the seminary’s temporary townhome with a tiny tiny old dark kitchen). If you were a fly on my wall, you would see that you are not alone! ;)

  27. 08/10/2012 at 5:53 pm

    SO right, usually after all the stress is gone, it never really mattered anyway. It’s so funny how things always work themselves out! Love the chicken fingers!

  28. 08/10/2012 at 8:11 pm

    I struggle with the same things. I’m so busy these days that I can’t even enjoy the things that I do for fun, like blogging. Wahh. :(

    These chicken fingers look great though! My boys would love them. :)

  29. 08/11/2012 at 1:11 am

    My family says I’m a stressful person too and I know they are right, lol! I love the fall, but it does make photography difficult!!

    These chicken fingers look fantastic!! Definitely want to make some with different yummy sauces!

  30. 08/13/2012 at 8:31 am

    I know those kind of days/moods. Lighting often spurs it. I’m having to adjust all of my photo shooting times around the sun! I am obsessed with making oven baked chicken tenders! I just froze my 2nd batch this month for make ahead meals.

  31. 08/13/2012 at 11:30 am

    Julie my dear! Sometimes it’s hard for me to say no to things in fear that I will let people, or myself, down. I take on as much as possible but the problem is that everything I do, must be done perfectly. It’s hard to accept that I can’t control certain situations! But we all need to know to breathe and understand that we can’t do EVERYTHING!

    That being said, I think you are too hard on yourself for these pictures! I think they turned out beautifully. I am starting to notice the darker light for after-work shooting and it’s killing me. Just have to work around it, I suppose! The recipe sounds great – I love new chicken recipes because I tend to get bored with it!

  32. 08/13/2012 at 2:55 pm

    I get chicken tenders 100% of the time at restaurants, unless it’s an Italian place. Love that these are baked!

    I get upset easily over such things, too. I have no idea what I’m doing with photography and sometimes spend hours on one photoshoot. And then end up with nothing. And it’s so dark here in winter, seriously, grey all the time, so I have to try to make as many posts ahead of time as possible. Otherwise everything will be extremely gloomy. So I hate winter too. I hope that we’re both able to let certain things go and just relax. Maybe life will be easier that way. :)

  33. 08/14/2012 at 4:23 pm

    I totally understand what you’re saying in this post. I often have to remind myself to stop and smell the roses. I think it’s my perfectionism creeping in. I’m trying to learn not to put so much pressure on myself and just enjoy the life God has provided for me.

  34. 08/16/2012 at 6:38 am

    I hate photographing in the winter too! your photos look beautiful, these look like the most perfect chicken fingers I’ve ever seen

  35. 08/21/2012 at 9:31 pm

    I don’t think you’re alone in this sieze-the-day-relax-enjoy-the-little-things-dream-big-anything-is-possible-get-off-the-couch-learn-how-to-chill sort of mentality. And I feel ya on lighting! haha I went from an 8-5 job (with plenty of time for pic taking) to a 10-9 job (startup life) and I was actually way more sad than I should have been about the whole cooking during the week and lighting thing. It’s hard! But everything eventually works itself out and you learn to make it work. Keep on keepin’ on! XO

  36. Stacy
    09/06/2012 at 1:32 pm

    I made these for lunch today and they were Yummo! I added a few extra spices to our taste and they came out perfect and crispy! Thank you for an easy, healthy, tasty, recipe!

  37. 11/14/2012 at 10:47 am

    So I made these when this was first posted. My husband and I finished most them that night. I put the rest on salads the next day.
    They were really quick easy and very flavorful.
    Next time I added a tablespoon of chili flakes to my panko mix. Even better with a kick.
    I make these almost every week now. So good, versatile you can add them to lots of dishes, and a hit with the man which is always a plus.
    Thanks Julie!

  38. 01/11/2013 at 6:41 pm

    Tonight for dinner, I decided I wanted to make Baked Chicken Strips, so I went to Pinterest and searched and out of the 3 recipes I looked at, I decided to go with yours, I didn’t have panko but we had some cornbread stuffing, looking forward in them, they smell wonderful.

    Thank you for your post and so glad I found you via Pinterest!!

  39. Danielle
    03/13/2013 at 1:10 pm

    So glad to have found your blog through Pinterest!! Always grateful for new ways to healthify old favorites. This recipe looks awesome and easy for someone like me who doesn’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Thank you!

  40. 03/25/2013 at 9:34 pm

    Great chicken recipe! This was a huge hit tonight and will definitely be added to the dinner rotation! Thank you!

  41. Michelle
    04/15/2015 at 12:50 am

    I tried these a few weeks ago but they were very bland and dry. I did not have onion powder. They looked nice though. Is there a way to make them more flavorful? My daughter loved them but she dipped them in honey mustard sauce from McDonalds.

    • Julie
      04/15/2015 at 9:07 am

      Hi Michelle, it was probably bland because of your onion powder omission. Seasonings definitely help flavor a dish like this! However, I still dip chicken fingers in sauce so that’s my way of making it more flavorful in addition to seasoning the chicken. If it was dry, you maybe cooked it too long. The panko coating on the outside is supposed to be more dry and crispy so I’m going to assume you cooked the chicken too long.

  42. Alison
    12/07/2016 at 1:56 pm

    I made these last night and they were delicious! However, I quickly discovered that cooking them at 450 degrees started to burn my panko and I spent the rest of the 20 minutes trying to figure out what temp to cook these at. Do you cook these in a regular oven? Next time I think I’ll add more garlic and onion powder and possible some paprika or cayenne pepper to make them more flavorful!

    • Julie
      12/07/2016 at 8:31 pm

      Yup, I cooked them in a regular oven. You could cover it with foil next time if you’re finding that your panko is burning. Also, where is your oven rack? Is it in the middle of the oven? If it’s too high, it could cause this to happen too.

  43. Coco
    02/26/2017 at 7:13 pm

    Soo has anyone tried the baked chicken? If so, how was it? I would love to hear your feedback..

  44. Barbara Karr
    04/28/2017 at 11:59 pm

    Girl your need to always be doing something is something a lot of us deal with. I am always getting static from family and friends because I am always doing something. It is 10:30 at night and I just took out a batch of your Baked Chicken Fingers. They are wonderful AND baked. Tomorrow we are having salads and I’m putting in some of these lovely fingers.My grandson and I just taste tested them and you got a big thumbs up! You can stop and smell the roses, but keep those recipes coming.By the way your picture of them were perfect.Best wishes. I will be following you on P! Barb.

    • Julie
      04/29/2017 at 6:41 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed these with your grandson!!! Thanks for letting me know!

  45. Christa Falcone
    06/06/2017 at 2:43 pm

    These look amazing. I’ll be giving these a try!

  46. Lisa
    06/23/2017 at 2:01 pm

    Could you tell me what the nutrtionals on these chicke fingers are.

    Thank you
    Lisa

    • Julie
      06/27/2017 at 7:48 am

      Unfortunately, no. There are many reasons as to why I don’t post nutritional information on my recipes, one of which is that I’m not a registered dietician or nutritionist so for me to give any sort of nutritional information would be incorrect and inaccurate. There are also many differing factors when it comes to nutritional information and since I do not have the knowledge in this, I do not feel comfortable posting this sort of information. If you must have this information, there are many calculators out there (free and paid) that can help you with calculations. A simple Google search would pull up some of these calculators, but again, I’m not endorsing them as I do not know how accurate they may be.

  47. Valerie Koonce
    08/13/2017 at 3:03 pm

    I made these for lunch and they were delicious with Honey Mustard dipping sauce! I used 3TBSP Dijon mustard and 3 TBSP yellow mustard and 6 TBSP mayo, 3 TBSP honey and a pinch of salt. So good!

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