Chicken Strips with Aioli
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 25 minutes
6 tbs butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (unseasoned)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1 tbs parsley
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 – 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp parsley
1) Preheat oven to 400F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
2) In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat; as butter starts to melt, add minced garlic into the saucepan.
3) Once butter has melted, remove from heat.
4) In a bowl, combine panko, parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper.
5) Cut breasts into 1 inch thick strips.
6) Coat chicken pieces in garlic butter, completely dredge in panko mixture, and place on prepared baking pan.
7) Sprinkle leftover panko mixture and drizzle leftover melted butter over chicken strips.
8) Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until internal temp reaches 165F or is no longer pink.
9) While chicken is baking, combine mayo, garlic powder, lemon juice, and parsley to make aioli.
10) Serve chicken alongside the aioli.
I love chicken nuggets. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t? They’re you’re favorite food as a kid, and it’s one of those things you just don’t outgrow into adulthood. It’s a staple.
So what if I told you I took the chicken nugget, and made it… better? Whaaaaaat!? How can one out-do the chicken nugget? Those are some high expectations! But trust me, this recipe lives up to every one of them. They’re juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, delicious all around, and when you add a dab of the garlic aioli? To die for.
Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!
Let’s start by turning on your oven to 400F, and if you’re one to be especially proactive, go ahead and grease up your baking sheet. I’m a procrastinator by nature so I don’t usually get to this step until right about when I need it – ha!
What do we do first? Prep. Mince that garlic, shred that parmesan (you can use pre-shredded if you reeeeally want to, but the fresh-from-the-block stuff melts better), and cut your chicken breasts into 1-inch slices, across the grain. I know that’s a little specific, but I’ve made chicken enough times to know that it makes a difference with getting the right texture. Basically look at the way the faint little lines on the chicken breasts go and cut along those lines (versus against the lines).
Go ahead and throw your butter and garlic into a small saucepan on medium low heat – the key to this step isn’t to sauté the garlic, but to bring the flavors together. You could turn up the heat to melt the butter faster, but I personally don’t trust myself with that. If I forget about it even for a minute, the garlic could easily burn, so I just wouldn’t take the risk! As soon as the butter is melted, turn off the heat and set it aside.
While your butter is melting, combine your [1 1/2 cups of] panko, [1/2 cups of] parmesan, [1 tbs of] parsley, [2 tsp of] salt, and [1/4 tsp of] pepper in a bowl. You can add more pepper if you want; I’m just not a pepper fan.
Before you put it all together, get everything laid out in front you: the chicken, the pan of garlic butter, the bowl with the panko mixture, and the greased cookie sheet. Once you have everything ready, go ahead and assemble the strips in that order: roll the chicken in the garlic butter, dredge it in the panko mixture, and place it on the cookie sheet (make sure the strips don’t touch of course). If you’ve got a little panko or butter leftover, sprinkle and drizzle them over top.
Pop your chicken in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes (or don’t set a timer, if you’re the thrill-seeking type).
And now it’s time for a serious heart-to-heart.
When I began cooking, like I mentioned in my previous recipe for Ground Beef Chili, I thought I knew everything. You just cook chicken until it looks done, right? Wrong. Oh man, was I wrong.
There’s this glorious [and inexpensive] invention called the internal thermometer. It is ESSENTIAL for the sake of your chicken. Truly ESSENTIAL. Ever had a piece of chicken that tasted like rubber? Or a piece of pork you had to gnaw at to get a chunk off? I have, but I have put those disappointing meals behind me. Using an internal thermometer guarantees the deliciousness of your dish – it helps your meat remain juicy and tender instead of dry and tough. Do yourself a favor and GET AN INTERNAL THERMOMETER. I know I’m being really pushy about this, but just do it and thank me later. I wish I could suggest a brand for you, but we use ours so much that we’ve gone through at least 5 in the last 3 years, so just do your research and use your best judgement.
Now that we’ve had that discussion, when the 15 minutes is up, whip out your handy dandy internal thermometer (either the probe, or instant-read), and place it in the thickest part of your thickest strip. If it hits 165F, hallelujah they’re done! If it’s still climbing, wait a few minutes and check again. This batch took about 20 minutes.
While you’re waiting for the strips to cool down a bit, let’s whip up that aioli (aioli is just a fancy word for mayo seasoned with garlic). Literally all you have to do is combine the [1/2 cup of] mayo, [1/4 tsp of] garlic powder, [3/4 tsp of] lemon juice, and [1/2 tsp of] parsley in a bowl. That’s it. So simple, but sooooo essential to the dish. Do not do the injustice of not eating your chicken with the aioli. Just don’t do it.
Let me know how it turned out for you, and comment with your favorite internal thermometer (if you have one)! It’s snowing outside as I write this, so if you’re reading soon after this post is published, stay warm! If you’re reading this any other time, well, you do you!
~Leah Artman ♥