Crispy Baked Chicken

I have to admit to you, dear readers, that there was a time when I was intimidated by the task of baking chicken. It seems so simple – put it in the oven until it’s done, right?

But how do you know when your chicken is cooked through? Until the inside isn’t pink? Until the juices run clear?

But was the inside pink to begin with? And did the juices ever NOT run clear?

I just couldn’t figure it out. I either ended up with chicken that I was too scared to eat, or chicken that was too tough to eat!

Well, the best purchase I ever made was the $1.99 meat thermometer that I bought at the supermarket one day. Stick it in your chicken breasts when you think they are close to being done, and see if it registers 180 degrees. If so, then you’re good to go! Juicy, tender chicken that is safe to eat.

So shell out the extra two bucks for a meat thermometer and try out this amazingly tasty chicken. Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside – you are going to love this stuff!

Crispy Baked Chicken
inspired by Pioneer Woman

4 chicken breasts, cleaned
1 cup fat free Greek style yogurt (or any plain yogurt)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs (crushed cornflakes do the trick, as well)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons your favorite seasoning blend (Mrs. Dash, herbes de Provence, Cajun, whatever)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 thin tabs of butter

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.

You can start by either marinating or simply coating your chicken in the plain yogurt. Either way works fine. In a shallow dish, combine the panko breadcrumbs with the garlic, seasoning blend, and salt and pepper. Completely coat each piece of chicken with the bread crumb mixture, and place in the baking dish, about 1 inch apart. Top each chicken breast with a thin tab of butter.

Cover with foil and bake for 50-60 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and your meat thermometer registers 180 degrees when inserted into the center of the meat. Serve immediately.

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