I’ve made no bones about it: Mr. How Sweet likes things plain.

I can’t tell you how many times I have offered to make dinner, asked him what he wants, then made an extravagant version of the dish he originally requested. I just can’t help myself.

But sometimes he gets annoyed by that. I know. He is weird, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want their dish souped up in a fancy style that is obviously going to make it taste so much better?

So that is where these chicken fingers come in.

I’ve made healthier buffalo chicken fingers, honey-ginger chicken fingers, BBQ chicken fingers, and parmesan ranch chicken fingers. Is it too much to ask for me to make the man some plain chicken fingers? No matter how much is cuts me to my core.

These were inspired by the chicken fingers Mr. How Sweet ordered during happy hour while we were in DC. I had a bite and truly, they were probably the best chicken fingers I’ve ever tasted. The breading was clearly panko (and maybe something else?) and it was thick and very crunchy.

I tend to shy away from chicken fingers for the simple reason that I watched my brothers eat 4-5 frozen chicken patties a day during the summers of our youth. I was usually too busy watching Now and Then for the 18th time, but can still smell the chicken finger scent wafting through our house.

On a whim, I tasted one of these chicken fingers and was shocked – it was incredible. And crispy. And crunchy. And delightful.

Crunchy Chicken Fingers

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders

2 cups low-fat buttermilk

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3 cups panko bread crumbs

1 cup corn flake crumbs

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon pepper

For 2-24 hours, soak chicken tenders in buttermilk. I do this in a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Preheat oven to 450.

Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet and spray it with non-stick spray. In a separate bowl, mix flour, panko, corn flake crumbs, salt and pepper. Dip the chicken tender in the panko mix and coat thoroughly, then lay on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Spray each chicken piece lightly with cooking spray (it will help them crisp) and bake for 12 minutes. Flip and bake for 12 more. Let cool.

As usual, Mr How Sweet dipped these in gallon of ketchup. I’m waiting for the day when he dips his chocolate chip cookies in ketchup.