Sometimes you just need a chicken finger. You know?

I do know.

In fact I know allll about that. Not because I need them, but because my husband possesses the palate of a toddler (seriously) and often screams “chicken fingersssss!” when we go to a fancy schmancy restaurant with beef tongue on the menu. That would be why I have no less than five (six? seven?) chicken finger recipes here for the taking. I’m giving it all up.

My earliest memory of kid food just so happened to be on a Friday. Well, every Friday. Fridays were the BEST. Just listen.

Each Friday my mom and aunt would take my cousin, me and Mother Lovett shopping. And when I say shopping, I mean like all day shopping. Literally. We would start out with lunch at Isaly’s which I’m pretty sure consisted of a ton of mac and cheese and grilled cheese and other kid stuff. Then we’d head to the mall around noon… and stay there all day. No really… all day. We got locked inside a few times. Once, Mother Lovett got locked inside and had to go out another entrance, crawl up a big grassy bank and make her way into another parking lot. This was at age 75 after like, a massive heart attack. Typical.

Oh wait, look – something relevant to this blog post. Here’s a blurry picture of my super simple set up for chicken fingers.

These are EASY. Do this.


Mother Lovett would prance around trying on Alfred Dunner sweaters, we’d spend hours in Limited Too and then we’d get some pralines and cream ice cream at Baskin Robbins. Among other important things.

While this was happening my grandpa would be watching the boys, and by watching I really mean he would sit in a big chair and smoke a pipe, chew tobacco, and watch my brothers and cousin beat the living daylights out of each other playing knee hockey while wearing tight red sweat pants with elastic on the bottoms.

Then they’d eat happy meals.

We actually shopped ’til we dropped. Then we’d go home and meet up with everyone and consume massive amounts of pizza. Mother Lovett would swear she wasn’t hungry and then proceed to pick pepperoni off everyone’s slices and steal the boys’ cheeseburgers when they weren’t looking.

And then, as my family loves to remind me, I went and ruined it for everyone by entering the first grade and having to go to school until – gasp – 3PM. This desperately cut out a good four or five hours of shopping time and made the day soooo stressful for everyone. Obviously.

Hence… why I love Fridays. And I think I had a way to tie this all together – you know, chicken fingers, a 38-year old toddler’s palate, Fridays that happened in my life 25 years ago – but I forget. I’ve babbled long enough that even I’m sick of me. (Weird.)


Maple Mustard Buttermilk Crusted Chicken Tenders

serves 2

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup dijon mustard

4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup regular seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

In a bowl, whisk together buttermilk, maple syrup, mustard and garlic. Add chicken to a baking dish and pour buttermilk mixture over top to coat. Let soak for 4-6 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine panko, bread crumbs, flour, salt, pepper and ground mustard.

Remove each chicken tender from the buttermilk and dip in breadcrumbs, gently pressing to adhere. Place on the wire rack. Spray each with a mist of olive oil or nonstick spray. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from over, gently flip and mist with spray, then bake for 10-12 minutes more. Eat!


Maple Honey Mustard

1/3 cup dijon mustard

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons honey

Whisk ingredients together and serve.

P.S. This chicken tastes like, well… chicken. But REALLY good chicken. I swear.

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108 Responses to “Maple Mustard Buttermilk Crusted Chicken Tenders.”

  1. #
    Kathryn — February 17, 2012 @ 7:59 am

    I’m with your husband, you can never have too many recipes for chicken tenders.


  2. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — February 17, 2012 @ 8:01 am

    Healthy chicken fingers are grossly underrated. Especially with maple mustard!


  3. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — February 17, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    What a great recipe. I love that you marinated the chicken buttermilk and maple syrup. That must taste amazing and so tender!


  4. #
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — February 17, 2012 @ 8:07 am

    Okay the teacher in me was all upset when you were talking about going to the mall on friday during the day until I saw it was before you were in school all day. No reason for me to call your mom with threatening calls about truancy anymore.


  5. #
    Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles — February 17, 2012 @ 8:12 am

    I want an all day Friday shopping trip! :) I neeeeeed an all day Friday shopping trip! …..The older kid in me thinks these are a wonderful supper idea!


  6. #
    Ali @ Peaches and Football — February 17, 2012 @ 8:12 am

    Maple AND mustard?? I never would have thought!

    Chicken is probably my favorite protein source and I can always use new ideas for making it yummy. This may appear on the weekend menu.


  7. #
    Liv B — February 17, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    These look so good! Baking instead of frying makes them healthier and easier to make too. Perfect weekend/Friday night food for toddlers of any age ;)


  8. #
    Erika - The Teenage Taste — February 17, 2012 @ 8:14 am

    Wow, these sound amazing! I bet kids and adults alike will love them!


  9. #
    Jill — February 17, 2012 @ 8:15 am

    You are too hilarious! I so wish we were friends when I was at Duq!


  10. #
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — February 17, 2012 @ 8:21 am

    I’m coming to live with you!


  11. #
    Mansee — February 17, 2012 @ 8:22 am

    When I was younger, Friday nights were our “going out” nights…and since I have two older brothers who were always in sports and I was always in dance and my parents worked full time sometimes Friday nights were the only time we were all able to eat dinner together. EXCEPT we use to spend the entire night finding a place to eat because my mom refused to wait for more than .7 seconds for a table on a FRIDAY NIGHT. We would drive and drive and whine and whine until we always ended up at the first place we went to….two hour later. And then I would eat chicken fingers.


  12. #
    The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh — February 17, 2012 @ 8:24 am

    I love making chicken fingers and we don’t have kids so can’t blame it on them! Gotta love any recipe that gives chicken a boost!


  13. #
    Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) — February 17, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    I’m right there with your husband – I get excited about chicken fingers on fancy menus – it’s a savior!


  14. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — February 17, 2012 @ 8:41 am

    My roommate used to eat absolutely NOTHING for dinner except for the chicken fingers that come out of a cardboard box (and probably taste like cardboard too). I won’t touch them, but these are a different story!


  15. #
    Adrienne @ How to Ice a Cake — February 17, 2012 @ 8:41 am

    I can just picture your grandma trucking it up the hill. :D My grandma is totally like that. She’s almost 85 and basically runs everyday. I’m not kidding. How is it that my almost triple digit aged grandma can work out every day but all I want to do is make pudding and watch Grey’s Anatomy reruns?


  16. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — February 17, 2012 @ 8:46 am

    Lord knows i love me some really good chicken…and i could use a shopping day right about now!


  17. #
    Blog is the New Black — February 17, 2012 @ 8:46 am

    Need these. Now.


  18. #
    Gen — February 17, 2012 @ 9:03 am

    Yum! I need to make these very, very soon!!!!


  19. #
    Ann — February 17, 2012 @ 9:04 am

    I adore your Mother Lovett stories!
    Also, chicken fingers fall into the category of food I can eat with one hand while standing at the kitchen sink, which is how my meals with a 6 week old baby are going these days. Bookmarking this one!


  20. #
    Bev Weidner — February 17, 2012 @ 9:07 am

    omg! My mom would drive my sister and me to the LUBBOCK TX mall (2 hours from Hobbs. NM. NEW MEXICO. ;) ) and we’d seriously spend the entire day plus a few hours shopping at that mall. I miss that mall. And my benetton belts.


  21. #
    Kelly — February 17, 2012 @ 9:17 am

    I love your childhood stories!!! Mother Lovett cracks me up! True story: last Sunday I was doing the crossword and the clue was Mother _________. And I instantly thought Lovett…Mother Lovett! haha!


    • Jessica — February 17th, 2012 @ 9:19 am

      OMG haha … I love it.


  22. #
    Cara Craves... — February 17, 2012 @ 9:19 am

    Looks nice and crispy! Mmm!


  23. #
    Cait's Plate — February 17, 2012 @ 9:26 am

    hahahaha. this entire post cracked me up…and I definitely did not get sick of you! I think reading your “babbling” may be one of my favorite parts of the day. Also? I can completely relate to the significant other with the palate of a toddler…boys. ;)


  24. #
    nancy k — February 17, 2012 @ 9:27 am

    Your Grandmother must have been a hoot. I love your stories about her.
    As for this recipe, perfect timing! I took a package of chicken finger out of the freezer yesterday. This morning I looked at the package and had a brain freeze. I had do clue what I wanted to do with them and now I have been rescued. I am about to assemble the buttermilk mixture and now look forward to dinner.Thanks!


  25. #
    Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables — February 17, 2012 @ 9:32 am

    sometimes you DO just need chicken fingers. And when that craving comes, I know I can count on you to provide me with multiple options :)


  26. #
    Lora @cakeduchess — February 17, 2012 @ 9:37 am

    I love your posts because you are so funny…it’s not babbling. It’s a happy read with delicious food:) My kids would love these and the dip looks fantastic!xx


  27. #
    Rodzilla — February 17, 2012 @ 9:54 am

    These sound so awesome, and maple honey mustard is combining two of the best accouterments for fried chicken.

    Where did you go for beef tongue? It’s one of my favorite cut’s of beef.


  28. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — February 17, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    These look so great!! I used to do the same thing with my grandma, brother, and mom. We’d go to the mall and shop around for hours. Next we’d eat at the food court and I would always get a corndog. Because they are delicious.


  29. #
    Melissa — February 17, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    How good is Baskin Robins’ pralines and cream? Man, haven’t thought about that in YEARS!

    I am seriously impressed with your flavor combo here. Well played, ma’am. Well played.


    • Jessica — February 17th, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

      I honestly don’t even remember it because it’s probably been close to 20 years since I had it, but it just SOUNDS amazing.


  30. #
    Elizabeth @ chronic venture — February 17, 2012 @ 10:05 am

    how delicious!!!


  31. #
    Deborah — February 17, 2012 @ 10:22 am

    Maple? Good. Mustard? Good. Chicken Fingers? Good. Put them all together and I’m a happy girl!


  32. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — February 17, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    Oh I bet the buttermilk is awesome in this recipe – delish!! Love the Mother Lovett stories, by the way :)


  33. #
    Chelsy — February 17, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    I heard there is going to be a shortage of maple syrup on the news this morning! wtf! Something to do with it not being cold enough up north to produce it…guess I better make these fast!


    • Jessica — February 17th, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

      What! Yikes.


  34. #
    tina @ mylifeasamrs — February 17, 2012 @ 10:30 am

    holy. moly. GREAT idea. maple mustard????!!! YUM. PS- love the Friday/Mother Lovett story… childhood memories are the best!


  35. #
    Maria — February 17, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    Love that crust!


  36. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — February 17, 2012 @ 10:50 am

    So I’m not the only one who buys the insanely cheap Uncle Luke’s maple syrup? How it can be like $10 cheaper in Sam’s Club than all the other maple syrups out there baffles me!
    The chicken looks delicious but honestly, I just want to inhale that honey mustard!


  37. #
    Nicole, RD — February 17, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    You have every take on oven-fried chicken and I love each and every one!


  38. #
    JulieD — February 17, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    Looks amazing! I’m definitely trying this!! Can’t wait to see you next month!!


    • Jessica — February 17th, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

      Me toooo! :)


  39. #
    Nicky @ Pink Recipe Box — February 17, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    Such a great recipe that doesn’t need to be fried! I bet the sauce is fantastic, too.


  40. #
    Kathryn — February 17, 2012 @ 11:56 am

    These are on order for dinner tonight. They look delicious and perfect kid and adult fare for a Friday evening!


  41. #
    Cookin' Cowgirl — February 17, 2012 @ 11:59 am

    Love all the Mother Lovett stories! :) She sounds LOVELY!
    Mmmm, mustard, sounds delicious! Yum yum yum!


  42. #
    Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy — February 17, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

    This look sooo good, I think my fiancé would love it!


  43. #
    Kim in MD — February 17, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

    I agree that sometimes you just need a chicken finger! This recipe looks like a splurge, but it’s really healthy! YUM!


  44. #
    Laura @ A Healthy Jalapeño — February 17, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

    Yum yum yum! These look wonderful and I love when I can make delicious food and it’s EASY! Simple is my life motto!


  45. #
    Karly — February 17, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

    I’m nearly 30, but I still must have the palate of a toddler, because these look divine.


  46. #
    Mireia — February 17, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    I love the recipe and your story! Thanks for sharing :)


  47. #
    Maia — February 17, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    Spending hours in Limited Too circa 1988 would have been HEAVEN for me. Lucky, lucky girl!

    These sound fantastic – great photos, as usual. Printed out the recipe and intend on making these for my hubby and his guy friends (who all share toddlers’ palates) when they come over to play “Risk” with him on Sunday. :)


  48. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — February 17, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    These sound great but I am all about the Maple Honey Mustard….I would pour that over anything!


  49. #
    christina @ ovenadventures — February 17, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    when I was little it was thursdays with my aunt and Mrs. “Kmart”. We used to go shopping every Thursday and they could shop for hours. I live in a different city now but they still go shopping, every Thursday. I’m gonna go call my Aunt now. btw, I love chicken fingers!


  50. #
    Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food — February 17, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

    Love the references in this post….

    …takes me back to when my mom sold Alfred Dunner sweaters at Kaufmann’s and I worked at Limited Too!! :-)



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