A sheet pan dinner is one of my favorite ways to simplify making dinner. This meal, featuring crispy baked chicken and fresh asparagus is full of spring flavor, and it can be on the table in about 30 minutes.
When spring rolls around I’m ready for seasonal produce and lighter meals. Asparagus is one of my favorite spring vegetables. It’s rich in nutrients and low in calories. For women of childbearing age (like myself), it’s high in folate, a nutrient that helps to prevent neural tube defects in early pregnancy.
The crispy baked chicken gets coated in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and parsley, adding some crunch and a big punch of flavor. Panko, or Japanese, breadcrumbs have a coarser texture than traditional breadcrumbs, resulting in a crunchier coating. Dipping the chicken tenders in egg first helps the coating stick to the chicken. Use one hand to place the chicken in the egg, turn the chicken, and transfer it to the dish with the breadcrumb coating. Then use your other hand to turn the chicken and coat it with the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to adhere. If you keep one hand dry and use the other hand for the egg step you’ll save yourself a globby mess.
I prefer to bake the chicken and asparagus on a rack set on a baking sheet, which allows the hot air to circulate all the way around the food, producing a crispy baked chicken. If you don’t have a rack, place the chicken and asparagus on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Serve the chicken with lemon wedges.
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, flour, lemon zest, parsley, garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish or pie plate. Place egg in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken tenders in egg, and then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Arrange chicken on a rack set on a baking sheet and coated with cooking spray. Toss asparagus with oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and spread in a single layer on rack around chicken.
Bake 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center of a chicken tender registers 165˚F and asparagus is tender. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
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