Cooking On A Budget: Panko and Pecan Crusted Chicken Dinner

Monday, June 18, 2012

Panko and Pecan Crusted Chicken Dinner

Our daughter purchased and made a wonderful Father's Day Dinner yesterday - a splendid surf and turf meal fit for a king. Therefore, I did not do my usual Sunday grocery shopping. This morning when I opened the refrigerator and stared at the barren shelves and almost empty vegetable bins and equally depressing freezer, I did not have much of a clue on what I would make for tonight's dinner. I spotted my bin of nuts that I have on hand and some panko bread crumbs and I scoped out the pantry cabinet as well.
It wasn't until I hit the protein section of the grocery store that I decided that I would make the panko and pecan crusted chicken and serve it with a garlic butter rice and carrots as the vegetable. Totally going against my own rules (and only for the fact I had no rice and no chicken broth), I picked up an on sale a box of garlic butter rice mix.
The three large boneless skinless chicken breasts I purchased are really enough to feed 6 people. The chicken cost $4.99 and the rice mix $1.59. Carrots, which I had already; the spices and butter and mayonnaise for this recipe cost $2.34. $8.92 for the whole dinner for 6 people is $1.48 per person. That's definitely an inexpensive, cooking on a budget meal.
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2/3 cup whole pecans
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt (plus)
  • 2 tsp. granulated garlic (plus)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper (plus)
  • mayonnaise or sour cream
  • olive oil

Let's get started with the preparation:

First things, first:
Be sure to wash and thoroughly dry your chicken.
Remove any remaining tendons that your grocery store butchers left on.
Liberally season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt (I used kosher salt), black pepper and some granulated garlic.
Put some mayonnaise in a small dish and using a spatula, spread some good mayonnaise on both sides of the chicken. This will act as the binder for the pecan and panko breading. You could also use an egg and milk mixture for the binder if you do not want to use mayonnaise or sour cream.

The next step:
In a food processor, take 2/3 cup of whole pecans (dry measured) and grind up fairly fine. Transfer to a waiting bowl.
Measure out 2 cups of panko and in the food processor, pulse 2 times and add them in with the pecans.
To this breading, add in 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper and 2 tsp. granulated garlic. Mix well.

Take your chicken with the spices and mayonnaise and press firmly into the breading mixture making sure you encase both sides.

In a frying pan or skillet (that can also go in the oven) add in just enough olive oil to liberally coat the bottom. Saute each side to a nice golden brown - approximately 2 minutes per side over moderate heat. Add more oil if necessary. Transfer to a preheated 350 degree oven and bake the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees. Approximately 20-30 minutes.

I am serving the chicken with fresh carrots and rice to round out the dinner.

NOTES: The breading mixture used in this recipe would work well with a nice flaky white fish like flounder, sole or grouper or cod.

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