Baked Chicken Tenders over Baby Spinach
with cherry tomatoes / white cheddar
Sweet and tangy honey mustard dressing works both as a marinade and dressing in this fast, fresh meal.
Smarts: If you'd prefer not to turn on the oven, feel free to cook the chicken tenders in a skillet with some oil instead of baking in the oven.
- Chicken breast tenderloins - 1 lb (sub boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips)
- Honey Mustard Dressing (ingredients listed separately) - 4 Tbsp
- Panko breadcrumbs - 1 cup
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp (not garlic salt)
- Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
- Foil - for baking
- Cheese, white cheddar - 4 oz , cubed
- Tomatoes, cherry or grape - 1 cup , halved
- Carrots - 4 oz , shredded (look for pre-shredded)
- Baby spinach - 8 oz
- Honey Mustard Dressing (ingredients listed separately) - 6 Tbsp
- Oil, olive - 4 Tbsp
- Mustard, Dijon - 2 Tbsp
- Honey - 1 1/2 Tbsp
- Vinegar, red or white wine - 1 1/2 Tbsp
- Mayonnaise - 1 Tbsp
Cheese - Cube cheese. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make dressing - Whisk together olive oil, mustard, honey, vinegar, and mayonnaise. Season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Marinate chicken - (If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating while chicken marinates.) Combine chicken with dressing (portion for chicken tenders). Tenderize with a fork. Marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 day. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
Prep breading - Combine panko, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper in a plastic bag or shallow baking dish. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Heat oven to 425F / 218C degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray or brush with some oil.
Use a fork to transfer chicken tenders to container with breading (discard any remaining marinade). Turn chicken to coat and firmly press chicken into breading to help it stick.
Spread chicken out in a single layer on sheet pan. (Note: For a little extra crispness and browning on the top, drizzle chicken tenders lightly with some extra cooking oil.)
Bake chicken until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
While chicken cooks, toss together baby spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and cheese. Divide between serving plates.
Top each serving with chicken tenders and finish with dressing (portion for salad). Enjoy!