Chicken seems to be a staple in our home. We loved the Citrus Braised Chicken Breast with Sweet Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Chicken with Orange Maple Glaze. Oven Fried Chicken from Paula Deen seemed to be a good fit for Little Chef D. She never refuses chicken so when asked if she wanted to make a chicken recipe she was very excited. The other Little Chefs did not know what she was making for dinner. So when I pulled it out of the oven (because Little Chef D is not able to safely accomplish this task) Little Chef A said, “What is that? Fish?” At first I thought how could she mistake the two, but then I realized we have a fish recipe that has a cheese topping that could appear similar.
I like this recipe because even though it was a bit messy to start, it baked in the oven without needing to be attended to. Sometimes…quite frequently making dinners in our home takes many hours and A LOT of patience. Every now and then a recipe that just bakes in the oven is needed if for nothing else then to give my patience a little break! The second reason I liked this recipe is because all the ingredients I already had on hand. That is always a win in my book!
The first step was for Little Chef D to grate some yummy fresh parmesan cheese. Because we are cooking a lot of Giada recipes parmesan cheese is always found in our refrigerator! She was SUPER excited to grate the cheese. This cheese grater is our current favorite because it grips the table or counter and my Little Chefs are able to place two hands on the cheese. After the first minute said, “Its so hard.” That is her way of saying Mom please do this job for me I have hit my attention span limit for grating cheese. But before I could take over she said, “I want to see first…..WOW I did SO much!” It is funny how lifting the lid and seeing what they accomplished can either give them the pat on the back they are craving for their efforts OR motivate them to keep grating to get that pile even higher!
Next she measured out the panko bread crumbs. Little Chef D thought it was SO funny when I placed the filled measuring cup on the counter to take a picture that it spilled. She laughed and said to her sister, “Come look! Mom made a mess of the bread crumbs come look!” Of course she had to remind me over and over the next day. “Mom remember when you made the mess on the counter!” Funny how they LOVE to remind me, but they don’t love to be reminded of their mistakes! Maybe that is what parenting is all about.
Thyme and olive oil were the last ingredients to be measured for this step. She was very confused that she could add four ingredients together ON TOP of each other and not in their designated area on the plate. But once I told her she was now able to stir them around and mix them well together she was back on board!
Part of the olive oil was added with the panko mixture and part was added with the wet ingredients. It was a new bottle of olive oil and Little Chef D was not sure about it, but neither was I. I did not want her spilling the entire bottle because it was too heavy for her! I asked if she wanted help, and she replied, “Mom you hold this part and I will hold that part.” Yep, I got to hold the tablespoon and she held the olive oil bottle. I still held my breath and stood waiting to grab that bottle if needed to, but at least I felt better she had two hands on it instead of one!
She also LOVED squeezing out the dijon mustard and then measuring and mixing the rest of the wet ingredients.
Now her wet and dry stations were set up. I knew from previous experience with the Fried Ravioli that she would not be able to keep one hand wet and one hand dry so I didn’t even try! She placed one piece of chicken at a time in the wet and then in the dry. I was giving her a few pointers to make sure the chicken was covered on all sides with the wet and to make sure all sides were then covered with the bread crumbs. Little Chef C came in to check on her progress and began giving her LOTS of pointers as well. Little Chef D does NOT like being told what to do from her bigger sisters, but this time she was hearing and responding to those pointers. Since Little Chef D is not able to safely put things in or take out of the oven I did these tasks for her.
Little Chef D’s most favorite part of this recipe was the size of the chicken. “The little one is so cute can i eat it all by myself! I love it!” I let her know she was welcome to eat as much of that cute little chicken as she could! That made her VERY happy!
After 30 minutes I pulled the chicken out of the oven and we were ready to eat. We did not have the usual scramble because we were able to get the table set and everything else on it while the chicken was in the oven baking!
The result: All the Little Chefs ate it…even Little Chef D kept it in her mouth! This recipe was a good experience all around. Easy to prepare, easy to bake, and well received by the Little Chefs! I call this recipe a success on all fronts!
- 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons freshly minced thyme leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4 -inch thickness
In a shallow dish, combine bread crumbs, cheese, 2 tablespoons olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper, to taste. In a separate shallow dish, combine mustard, water, salt and pepper, to taste, and remaining olive oil. Coat each chicken breast with mustard mixture; dredge each in bread crumb mixture. Place on prepared rack in pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is golden brown. Serve immediately.