Oven Roasted "Fried" Chicken Tenders
with cauliflower and potato mash / baked tomatoes
This is our healthier take on a classic combination - fried chicken and mashed potatoes. A thin layer of melted butter and a roast in the oven gives these panko-breaded chicken tenders a crisp, flavorful exterior without the need for traditional frying. To lighten the mashed potatoes, we're adding cauliflower florets which have the added bonus of giving it a nice nutty flavor.
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
- Paprika, smoked - 1/2 tsp
- Oregano, dried - 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
- Buttermilk, low-fat - 3/4 cup
- Chicken, boneless skinless tenders - 1 lb (sub boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced)
- Panko breadcrumbs - 3/4 cup
- Flour, all-purpose - 1/4 cup
- Foil - for lining pan
- Butter - 4 Tbsp
- Dipping sauces - for serving (like ketchup, honey mustard or bbq sauce)
- Cheese, parmesan - 2 oz, grated
- Thyme, fresh - 1 tsp, leaves torn
- Tomatoes, medium - 2, halved
- Cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen - 12 oz
- Potatoes, russet - 8 oz, cubed
- Butter - 1 Tbsp
- Make chicken spice mix - Combine salt, garlic powder, paprika, oregano and black pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Cauliflower / Cheese / Thyme - Prep as directed. Store cauliflower in one container. Combine cheese and thyme in another container. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
- Marinate chicken - Whisk together half the spice mix (reserve the other half) and buttermilk. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 day. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Potatoes / Tomatoes - Prep as directed. (Peel the potatoes or leave them unpeeled for a more rustic mash.) To slice tomatoes, set them stem-side up on a cutting board. With your knife parallel to the counter, slice tomatoes in half.
- Prep breading - Combine panko, flour and remaining half of spice mix in a plastic bag.
- Heat oven to 400F / 204C.
- While oven heats, combine potatoes and cauliflower in a saucepan. Cover with water and season with some salt. Put the lid on the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. When water begins to boil, reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer until both potatoes and cauliflower are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line a sheet pan with foil. Place butter on top of foil and transfer sheet pan to heated oven. Leave sheet pan in the oven until the butter is fully melted, ~3 minutes (keep an eye on it to avoid burning).
- Remove chicken from buttermilk marinade (discard marinade) and shake off excess marinade. Transfer chicken to bag with flour / panko mixture. Shake to coat. Take heated pan from the oven and swirl the butter around so it coats the pan. Add chicken in a single layer.
- Bake until chicken is golden brown on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Flip chicken and continue baking until chicken is cooked through ~5 minutes more.
- Once chicken is baking, place tomatoes in a small baking dish, cut-side up. Top tomatoes with cheese and thyme leaves. Transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Return to potatoes and cauliflower. Once they are tender, strain off water and add butter. Mash with a fork (or use an immersion blender to get it really smooth and creamy). Season with some salt.
- Serve chicken with dipping sauces if you'd like. Enjoy potato / cauliflower mash and roasted tomatoes on the side.
LOVE the chicken tenders! They were so flavorful and crispy. I’ll try to make them with less butter next time though. Also made the honey mustard using the ingredients mentioned in a previous comment (1/4 cup each Dijon mustard, mayo, honey, 1 Tbsp white vinegar, 1/4 tsp cayenne) and it was great! EDIT: Made them again and half the butter for the tenders was too little. I also threw together a dupe of Popeye’s blackened ranch sauce on a whim and it was SO GOOD I have to share. (It also uses up the buttermilk which is nice!) 1/4 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup mayo, and then an arbitrary amount of the following seasonings (estimates in parentheses): parsley (3 Tbsp), pinch of garlic powder and onion powder, and blackened/Cajun seasoning (start with 2 tsp and increase for more spice).0 Helpful
The butter really made them soggy and I had to broil them to get it crispy. All in all we enjoyed them and will make them again. I didn't make the sides, just the chicken.0 Helpful
Rookie mistake - I crowded the pan, won’t do that next time! Mash was great!0 Helpful
I make the chicken tenders ALL the time!0 Helpful
Loved all parts of it!0 Helpful
Loved this! Made the honey mustard sauce from previous recipes! Also got pre-riced cauliflower that saved some time and money!0 Helpful