Back in high school, when I had a little something called a “metabolism,” my after-school snack was Cheez-Its and a Diet Coke. There was just something about that salty-sweet combination that made the neon orange crackers disappear faster than my dignity at an *NSYNC concert.
But I have no shame in sharing my enduring love of the iconic cheddar cracker, which in my later years now does double-duty as a flavorful replacement for breadcrumbs. I believe there is no such thing as having too many quick, easy chicken dishes in your recipe repertoire. And these Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders deliver on the quick and easy promise while also paying homage to a favorite childhood snack.
A dollop of Dijon mustard takes these crispy tenders from blah to brilliant in a way only Dijon can do. There’s just something about the tangy richness of the mustard that pairs perfectly with cheddar. So skip the drive-thru and the deep-frying and whip up this DIY take on easy, cheesy baked chicken tenders prime for dipping and dunking into your choice of condiments.
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Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cheddar crackers, such as Cheez-Its or Cheese Nips
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 1/4 pounds uncooked chicken tenders
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 475°F with the rack in the lower third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush it with the olive oil.
Pulse the cheddar crackers in a food processor until finely ground, or alternately, place the crackers in a plastic bag, seal it and use a rolling pin to crush the crackers. Transfer the crackers to a wide, shallow bowl and stir in the paprika.
In a separate wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs with the Dijon mustard. Place the flour in a third wide, shallow bowl.
Bread each tender by coating it in the flour, shaking off any excess, and then dipping it in the eggs. Transfer the tender from the eggs to the crackers, pressing the crumbs into the chicken to ensure an even coating, and then placing the tender on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the breading process with the remaining tenders, arranging them in a single layer about 2 inches apart.
Bake the tenders, turning them over once, until they're golden brown, about 15 minutes total.
Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste.