Once upon a time I did not cook chicken every.single.day.

Once upon a time I was also single.

I don’t even remember what that was like. That can’t be promising three years in, right?


This is only the oh, I don’t know, sixth chicken finger recipe I’ve shared? I have a premonition that once children enter this picture, I won’t have a difficult time adjusting to the culinary palate of a toddler.

Just a hunch.


Would you liked a snippet into my everyday life? Probably not… but I’m going to tell you anyway.

A few weeks ago when I made those snickerchipdoodle cookies? Mr. How Sweet curiously took a bite and asked what was inside.

“Toffee,” I responded.

“I hate coffee!” And with that he spit out the cookie into the trash.

“No… TOFFEE. Not coffee. What the heck is wrong with you?!”

“Isn’t toffee coffee?” he asked.

“Um, no. It’s not coffee. Why would you think it is coffee? And I seriously can’t believe you just spit out that cookie. You should eat it out of the trash.” With that, I walked into the family room and turned on the only show to make his ears bleed: The Kardashians. But then I was confused. So, I ran back into the kitchen, where he was perched above the sink with his Diet Coke. I’m shocked he hasn’t figured out a way to permanently glue a full can to his hand.

“Wait… so you liked the cookie… you thought it tasted good… but the minute you “thought” there was coffee inside, you spit it out – EVEN THOUGH YOU LIKED THE TASTE?! God forbid you step or, ahem, stumble outside the box. You have issues! Aren’t you almost forty years old?!”

“Uh. Mmmgh Hhhmmgh,” he managed to murmur in between bites.


Ugh. Hopeless. This culinary situation is seriously hopeless.

So, the next day I caved. I made him chicken fingers, but added cheese since I can’t let anything be. Well, that… and because I wanted to make sure he knew I was no longer catering to his “only-give-me-plain-crap!” demands. I know when my stuff is good.


I did win a small battle on Sunday though with the green chili cheeseburgers we ate. He would have never tried something like that before, but I made them look pa-retty darn irresistible.

Oh well.

You win some, you lose some, eh?

Cheddar Crusted Chicken Fingers

[from all those other crazy chicken fingers]

serves 2-3

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders

2 cups low-fat buttermilk

3 cups panko bread crumbs

1 cup seasoned regular bread crumbs

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

4 ounces of cheddar, freshly & finely grated

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

2-4 hours before serving (or even overnight), add chicken to a baking dish and cover with buttermilk. Let soak.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, flour, salt (quantity should be adjusted to taste given the amount of salty cheese), pepper, mustard and paprika and stir with a spoon. Fold in cheese. Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray.

Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk (it should have a think layer of milk around it), and dredge through the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Lay on the wire rack and repeat. Before baking, hit each chicken tender with a spray of non-stick spray or mist of olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then gently flip using kitchen tongs and spray the other side. Bake for 10-12 minutes more, then remove from oven and serve with dips of choice. the dip above is nothing special – just a bacon ranch dressing that I spiced up with chili powder.

Note: many of you has asked where I get my wire/cooling racks that fit on my baking sheets. I use these Calphalon ones that happen to fit perfectly on the jellyroll pans. Love them!

Uh, totally unrelated, but did I hear a rumor that Boyz II Men are back?! Don’t even toy with me, world. The only thing more heart wrenching would be if you told me that Felicity is coming back on the air.

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145 Responses to “Cheddar Crusted Chicken Fingers.”

  1. #
    Ashley — October 26, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    I love your photos and your recipes never cease to amaze me…and your writing….it’s top notch. All three together? Unstoppable.


  2. #
    Stephanie — October 26, 2011 @ 10:27 am

    those look damn tasty!

    And yes, Boyz II Men are apparently back! I was at the Food&Wine festival at Disney last night (the ONE perk of living in Orlando…Disney on a Tuesday night “just for dinner”) and saw them perform a half hour concert. It made me feel like I should be awkwardly slow dancing in middle school again. Ahh the good ol’ days…


  3. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — October 26, 2011 @ 10:40 am

    Haha, this post was amazing! Such a perfect glimpse into the minds of the men we live with. I swear they are like 3 year olds sometimes. It’s like that stupid chef boyardee commercial “shhh don’t tell them it has vegetables in it…”


  4. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — October 26, 2011 @ 10:41 am

    I love the addition of cheese. It’s be far too long since I’ve made chicken tenders/fingers/whatever at home. I’m seriously wishing I had some chicken right now to whip up for lunch.


  5. #
    Colleen C. — October 26, 2011 @ 10:42 am

    You had me at cheddar!…These look yummy!


  6. #
    AmandaPanda — October 26, 2011 @ 10:44 am

    These look delish! I have a very similar recipe (minus the cheese) and its one of my faves! I can’t wait to try it this way.

    … and YES! Boyz II Men is so back! They came out and surprised everyone at a concert I was at a few months back *ahem*New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys*cough cough*

    Needless to say, I almost died. It was like an attack from 1995.


    • Karen T. — October 26th, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

      Wait you saw New Kids on the Block and Back Street Boys AND Boys II Men came out an performed?? Ummm pretty sure near heat attack would have taken place if I had been there. JEALOUS!!!


  7. #
    Liz — October 26, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    oh lord, my husband is the same way. Except he also finds the need to add ranch or jalapenos to everything I make. “Oh honey, that veal picatta looks incredible. Do we have any ranch?”. Sigh….


    • Jessica — October 26th, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

      Replace that with ketchup and I would think you lived in this house.


  8. #
    d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo — October 26, 2011 @ 11:06 am

    These look so delicious!! I want them for dinner!


  9. #
    Amanda — October 26, 2011 @ 11:09 am

    I am drooling. I am weird and usually dislike chicken, it’s just not my favorite but I LOVE chicken fingers. I also love cheese. And ranch. And bacon. I want these. I would also appreciate your cookies from the bottom of my heart. Toffee is good!


  10. #
    Jessie — October 26, 2011 @ 11:15 am

    Oooh! This is gonna be a yummy football day treat Sunday! Thanks!


  11. #
    Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit — October 26, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    I think I would cry if Felicity came back. I used to LOVE that show! These chicken strips look delicious, and I wouldn’t feel bad about not remembering what single is like. I don’t either and we just hit our 3yr on Monday :)


  12. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — October 26, 2011 @ 11:25 am

    It must be a guy thing :) Love the chicken fingers…keep ’em coming…


  13. #
    Cait's Plate — October 26, 2011 @ 11:37 am

    AHAHAHAH! Felicity really needs to come back on air.

    Also? Yes, I want some of those chicken fingers. And I would also like some of those cookies…coffee or no coffee in them.

    Thank you :)


  14. #
    Shari @ The Daily Dish — October 26, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

    These look great. I love having chicken fingers every once in a while. :)


  15. #
    Nichole — October 26, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

    I completely feel your pain. My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years now and cooking for him totally deflates my ego. I consider my self to be a pretty good cook, and I always get lots of compliments from others on the food I make. But with him, it’s always a wishy-washy reaction. I am a very adventurous eater and he’s, well…not. It took me 2 years to finally get him to try sushi (which he now LOVES, by the way) and even longer to get him to try guacamole, which he also loves now. I’m slowly trying to broaden his food horizons, but it’s so discouraging when I spend a lot of time making a meal that I think is delcious and get a ho-hum response from him, yet he goes NUTS over the rare occaison that I’m feeling lazy and fall victim to a box of Pasta Roni. Ugh, men.


    • Jessica — October 26th, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

      I totally relate to this!


      • Nichole — October 26th, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

        Our deal (which he doesn’t always uphold, but is getting better about) is that he has to at least try something once. Because usually, he decides he doesn’t like something even if he’s never actually tried it! So my bargain with him is that if he at least tries it once and still absolutely hates it, I’ll never make him eat it ever again. That way, he can at least validly say he truly doesn’t like it, not that he just doesn’t like the idea of it. And ya know what? About 90% of the time, he actually does like it (even though he won’t always admit it…)

  16. #
    Alison — October 26, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

    Boyz II Men are back! They have a new album at walmart… yesterday I think… I just may have to buy it for myself as an early birthday present :) Oh the high school memories…


  17. #
    Dianna — October 26, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

    ummm.. did I miss something? Did anyone else notice she slipped in something about a green chili cheeseburger? Young lady…


    • Jessica — October 26th, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

      Bobby Flay’s recipe!


  18. #
    Karen T. — October 26, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

    Mmmm those chicken fingers look delicious!! Jessica I soooo need you to come live in Texas. I need someone to go with to all of the old school concerts that none of my current friends care to attend. Not only that but dragging your husband to them does NOT make for a happy hubby.


    • Jessica — October 26th, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

      I would totally come to TX if it wasn’t a billion degrees. I despise heat! Unless I’m laying at a pool.


      • Lesley — October 27th, 2011 @ 10:10 am

        Karen T (and Jessica if you came to Texas during the Ice Age) ….I live in Houston, saw NKOTB when they were in concert….TOTALLY rocked! There are others out there! Keep trying!

  19. #
    Cassie — October 26, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I will definitely be making these!!


  20. #
    christina @ ovenadventures — October 26, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

    hilarious. oh boy, what we put up with eh?


  21. #
    Maya — October 26, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

    I love the toffee story. Hilarious! That sounds like my husband with tofu, broccoli, spinach, etc.

    I can’t wait to try this dish.


  22. #
    Tiffany {A Clove of Garlic} — October 26, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

    Yum yum yum!!! Oh the joys of blending two culinary tastes together. HA!


  23. #
    Jill — October 26, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

    Both MC Hammer and Boyz II Men played together at the Illinois State Fair this summer and if they played at the State Fair (sarcasm intended), I’d say they are definitely back! And I can’t believe you mentioned Felicity. I watched EVERY. SINGLE. EPISODE. I probably think about a scene in that show once a day and even more when I see Noel make an appearance on Grey’s Anatomy. Gotta find it on DVD so I can relive the fantasticness of this show! By the way…made your Buffalo Chicken Pizza with bleu cheese for my husband who hates bleu cheese and after he ate every last piece he says I’m so glad you didn’t put bleu cheese on this! Sucker!


    • Jessica — October 26th, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

      Oh my gosh… LOL! That is great – glad the pizza was a hit!


  24. #
    Jenny D. — October 26, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

    Can I just share that I still watch Felicity?? Yup – I have all four seasons on dvd and every couple of years, I’ll just throw that first one in and make my way through the seasons again… did I also mention that they are on netflix now? And by that I mean, I now have them in our instant queue AND our dvd collection – much to my husband’s chagrin. And one final confession – I’m about to watch an episode right. this. moment. Sufficient nerd check completed.


    • Jessica — October 26th, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

      I think you’re my best friend.


  25. #
    Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen — October 26, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

    This entire post makes me laugh. You and your husband are FUNNY. Also, Felicity and My-So-Called Life coming back on the air would fulfill me in ways that are too embarrassing to describe.


  26. #
    Imwaytoobusy — October 26, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

    You two are too funny. I love cheese on anything so cheddar-crusted sounds fabulous!


  27. #
    Stephanie — October 26, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

    i wish my racks were oven safe. i need to pick up something that is. you often use this technique and i want in on all the yummies you make.


  28. #
    alex — October 26, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    I saw Boyz II Men in concert a few years ago…sadly, the guy with the deep voice left the group as far as I know!


  29. #
    Shea — October 26, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    Anything that has cheese on it/in it/near it is one of my favorites! I think my daughters would tolerate these even. Dinners at my house are sometimes trial and error. I have developed the time honored thumbs up or thumbs down to decide if a meal is a keeper. These most likely would make the thumbs up category. As a side note. My mom loves Boyz II Men but she would slip up and call them Men II Boyz. She may be very happy to hear that they have a new album out.


  30. #
    Katie — October 26, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

    Ahahah, Mr. How Sweet…I am laughing so hard at the toffee/coffee misunderstanding. In fact, I think you guys are so funny I called Meeker in to read it all. Then I laughed all over again. He didn’t think it was nearly as funny as I did – too close to home, maybe?


  31. #
    Milisa @ Miss in the Kitchen — October 26, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

    I always love your posts, you really crack me up, especially “only give me plain crap”. The chicken looks so amazing and I know my kids would love it!


  32. #
    Jen Marie — October 26, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

    Oh! Felicity!
    I die.


  33. #
    Erin — October 26, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

    Boyz to Men AND cheesy crusty chicken!? Yes please.


  34. #
    Anne Nickamin — October 26, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

    That is so funny, I just got hooked on Felicity! Only on season two but have been watching it like a fiend.


  35. #
    betty — October 26, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

    I have the urgent need to make them right now, and besides they are healthy right? I mean you didn’t deep fried them… haha ;)



  36. #
    Jill D — October 26, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

    Your blog always makes me smile, no matter what kind of day I am having. Thanks for sharing your recipes, amazing photos & funny stories. :)


  37. #
    Jessica — October 26, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

    these look scrumptious!


  38. #
    Jill — October 26, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

    These look delicious! I just saw on someone’s Facebook status that Boyz II Men is playing in Epcot. Maybe you should take a trip to Florida!


  39. #
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com — October 26, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

    This is one tasty and delicious looking chicken fingers! Drool-worthy! Did I just confess that out loud!?!


  40. #
    Hannah (Hannah Lives) — October 27, 2011 @ 12:11 am

    EXCUSE ME? Boyz II Men never went anywhere!! I went to a concert of theirs just last year!! Boyz II Men never said goodbye… because, “It’s so haaaaarrrrrrd, to say goodbyyyyyeeee…..”


  41. #
    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — October 27, 2011 @ 12:16 am

    Those chicken fingers look so good girl!!! That dip too – I LOVE foods that I can dip.


  42. #
    Emmy (Wine and Butter) — October 27, 2011 @ 1:49 am

    They look so super delicious… I LOVE chicken but my husband actually usually leaves me a little deprived – I know whats up with that!? He’s not a vegetarian of anything (heaven forbid, in his mind) … he’s just super into lamb and pork and you know squirrels brain and stuff (Im serious!)… I think maybe its an English thing!? Dress it up with bacon & ranch dressing though and I think he could get on board! :)


  43. #
    Tara Connor — October 27, 2011 @ 11:26 am

    So first you have me hooked on your recipes (I make several a week without a bad one yet) and now you are doing it with makeup! I didn’t even finish reading your blog before ordering that blush online! I trust you completely and wholly! Scary cause we’ve never even met! :)


  44. #
    Andrea — October 27, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    We only want what is best for our poor, culinarily sheltered husbands… why don’t they get that??


  45. #
    Lin Maine — October 27, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

    For eleven years I’ve been married to a man who ‘if his mom didn’t make it, then it’s not a food’! It’s a slow slow journey to get him out of his comfort zone.

    You haven’t steered me wrong yet – and he loves a couple of your dessert recipes.



  46. #
    Jennifer — October 27, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    Holy flashback…its sooooo harddd to sayyyyyy gooodbyyeee to yesterdayyyyy. Can we head to the mall now for some shopping at IOU and an Orange Julius? :)


  47. #
    Marlina — October 27, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

    I love that you have a chicken obsessed hubby cause it means you post a bunch of chicken recipes, which I make for my chicken obsessed guy who ends up LOVING them. And that you love feta, because I can make those recipes for the feta obsessed person in my house… aka me. Win win !


  48. #
    CouponClippingCook — October 27, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    Love this recipe and that the chicken is baked. Very cool that you used wheat flour and panko crumbs in this too. Looks delicious!


  49. #
    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — November 2, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

    I am seriously drooling right now. Looks soooooo good!!!


  50. #
    Dana — November 3, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

    These were so. damn. good!!!! I’m thankful hubby was here to help eat, or I might have just finished off the whole pound of chicken by myself.



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