I think that when people hear you write a food blog, they imagine that you whip up gourmet meals every night. Well folks, that couldn't be further from the truth. I do try to make a semi-balanced meal most nights (except for those pizza nights, of course!) but it is generally simple and full of the tried and true favorites that my family loves. Like these chicken cutlets. I don't even think of them as a recipe (and therefore, not blogworthy), but when I was talking with my daughter the other day, she said "Mom, you have to blog about these. This is the normal kind of food people like to eat!" And so here they are...
Breaded chicken cutlets have long been a staple in my house. They're one of the few things that everybody likes (though that wasn't always the case). I used to fry up a big batch at least once a week but ever since I began baking them, I haven't touched the frying pan again--ok, maybe I'm exaggerating since I've used that pan just earlier today--but the point is that I haven't fried any chicken again. My kids prefer it the baked way and it's both healthier and easier, so who am I to complain?
This is an extremely versatile recipe. You can use thin cutlets, thick ones, strips or even nuggets. You can use seasoned breadcrumbs or unseasoned ones, panko, no panko, grated parmesan or no parmesan...you get the point. The only thing that is always consistent is my use of Progresso Breadcrumbs and I'm not getting paid for saying this (although for the amount we go through, I really should be) but I really think they are the best on the market and that you can taste the difference when you use another brand. So that's just my little helpful tip.
All you do is mix together breadcrumbs, panko, grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder, black pepper and salt on a large plate. Then put a small amount of oil in a wide mouthed bowl, really any kind, except olive oil-it just doesn't taste as good when cooked-keep it for salads, etc and then using a pastry brush, brush each side of the chicken breast lightly with the oil and coat it in the breadcrumb mixture, first on one side, then the other. Soon you will have a large platter like this:
Now you have the choice of either covering the plate and refrigerating them to be cooked later in the day (truly, I often prep these between 7-8 a.m. so that I can just pop them in the oven during the crazy after-school hours) or cooking them immediately. If you decide to cook them right away, you just spray a pan or baking dish with Pam or some other non-stick spray, arrange the chicken pieces on it, spray the tops lightly with the Pam and then cook for about 25 minutes If using thin-sliced cutlets) in a 375ºF oven, take them out, turn them over, cook them for another 10 minutes or so and you are all done.
Serve them with your favorite side dishes-here there's roasted sweet potatoes and sauteed broccolini:
One more thing: These taste great refrigerated as well, so I always make many more than I think we need for just one meal, planing for future salads and sandwiches, but certain growing people around here are ravenous and I often have to threaten those certain people with bodily harm if they take another chicken cutlet and leave me without any to use for my salad the next day! So be forewarned and plan accordingly!
Easy Baked Chicken Breasts
If using thin cutlets, figure on at least 2 per person. For thicker cutlets, you might be able to get away with one or one and a half per person
Prep Time: 20 minutes: Bake Time: Approximately 35 minutes (for thin cutlets)
- Chicken Cutlets (I generally use thin-slice, but you can use any kind)
- Progresso Breadcrumbs (seasoned or unseasoned)
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Garlic Powder
- Black Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF for thin cutlets, 350ºF for thicker ones. Spray baking sheets or pans with Pam.
2. On a large plate combine a mixture of breadcrumbs, panko, grated parmesan, garlic powder, pepper and salt. There are really no proportions--just do what you like and omit or add anything you want.
3. Place a small amount of vegetable oil in a wide mouthed bowl.
4. Using a pastry brush, brush both sides of chicken lightly with the oil and hold over bowl to drain it. Then quickly coat it on both sides with the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to adhere the breadcrumbs as much as possible.
5. If cooking right away, place on pan and continue with the rest of the chicken. When pan is full, spray the tops lightly with Pam.
6. Bake in oven for 25 minutes. Remove pan and turn cutlets over and return to oven for another 10 minutes or so, until golden brown. Remove from pans and serve immediately.
7. If not cooking right away, store breaded chicken covered, in refrigerator. When ready to cook, preheat oven and proceed with step 5.
Note: When I make this with thicker chicken breasts, I cook them at 350ºF for about 45 minutes on one side, flip them and then cook for another 10-20 minutes, depending on how well done you like them.